releasing stuff on your own

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dungeonsound615
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releasing stuff on your own

Post by dungeonsound615 » Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:56 pm

Im sure many of you have done this so im looking for advice. Im thinking about recording some stuff of my own as ive been kinda slow this month. However i really would like to try and release this somehow so that it gets out to people and maybe i could possibly make a few bucks here and there. Ive also though about recording some sound effects cd's and trying to market them also. Any advice for how i should go about this i love recording but for once if im going to do it i want it to get out to people to be heard and make a little money if possible.
maybe make 500 cd's and see how they do.
thanks

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Re: releasing stuff on your own

Post by kcrusher » Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:51 am

America... just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.
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Re: releasing stuff on your own

Post by I'm Painting Again » Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:11 pm

playing live shows is probably the best way to get your music recognized and sold..

there is lots of info here on recording and mastering..

as for manufacturing we use bellwether and they do a great job..it aint the cheapest but its not the most expensive..they do superb work for the price..

and hiring a real artist for the package design can save a lot of time and energy i have found..but its totally doable for someone with a little experience..

i dont know really anything about producing and marketing sound effects cds..but i would think it to be very expensive to do..you should use gear that is on par with the best or better than everybody elses..time consuming..paying for expensive ads in magazines..web..etc..the cream of the crop mastering..format conversions..its a cool idea but you will need some capitol and the time to do it if its to be fruitful..i would guess..

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Re: releasing stuff on your own

Post by JGriffin » Mon Aug 23, 2004 1:55 pm

I've released 4 sound effects CDs through my company, Toxic Bag Productions, and my experience has been that marketing them to other engineers is pretty difficult. You have to have something they can't get on the myriad other effects libraries that are out there, and that they couldn't go out and record themselves. So, footsteps and rain are probably not what you'd want to focus on. For example, I'm putting together a CD of vintage racing car sfx that I recorded recently--I haven't seen much of that outside of 6 or 7 tracks on a 10-CD set Hollywood Edge put out that also has NASCAR, Truck racing, etc. and you have to buy the whole set. So I'm trying to put out a low-cost alternative to that, although most of the guys who use race car sounds will want the whole Hollywood Edge collection anyway. I'm probably going to press up a few of them and see what kind of interest I get, but I'll probably market it almost exclusively on the internet. Because of course, Beard is right--advertising in audio magazines will be prohibitively expensive. I wanted to advertise in TapeOp and couldn't justify the cost.

We've found some success selling our effects CDs to gamers--the guys who play Dungeons and Dragons and really get into it hardcore tend to use movie soundtracks, props, all that sort of thing. They really get into using sound effects to scare the shit out of their players, so that's what we focused on with our sound effects discs. We have a whole CD of just monsters. Another one of all swords and sorcery-type stuff. Another has all sorts of strange ambiences for extradimensional adventures. And in the gamer community it sells pretty well. It helps that we're the only company doing it (it's such a niche market that the industry probably couldn't support more than one or two) and that we've been doing it long enough that gamers know us and know our products. And magazine ads are cheaper than they are in TapeOp or Mix. Similarly I'll probably end up selling my race car disc to racing fans more than to audio engineers.

Also, since you're not The Hollywood Edge or Sound Ideas, you won't be able to charge what they charge. They sell individual discs for $50+. Toxic Bag's Game Masters Collection is $50 for the whole set of four!

Oh yeah, and putting a sound effects disc together is a shitload of work. To crank one of these mothers out takes us about 3 months...since we all have day jobs, that's 3-4 evenings a week and all day Saturdays, and that sometimes includes driving several hours to get to a spot where we can record a specific thing--try getting clean medieval forest ambiences living in Chicago! So you have to drive 3-5 hours north to MOFN, WI and record 20-30 minutes of each given ambience so you can edit out planes and other "modern" sounds and still have a useable 3-5 minutes of forest. Then load all the raw takes into your DAW and edit. After gas, possible hotel costs, props (if you're gonna do a CD of gunshots you're gonna have to buy or rent guns or at least reimburse the gun owner you borrow the guns from for ammunition), CD replication and advertising, it can be tough to recoup your costs.

I don't want to discourage you; if someone had fed me all the horror stories when I started doing these sfx discs I would have done 'em anyway. It can be a lot of fun, and you'll learn a bunch, but don't expect it to be easy money.
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Re: releasing stuff on your own

Post by Rodgre » Mon Aug 23, 2004 2:35 pm

BEARD_OF_BEES wrote:playing live shows is probably the best way to get your music recognized and sold..
Not according to many people.

I'm in the process of getting a plan together for a new release, and one of the questions that we, as a band, have discussed is whether playing shows makes a difference in how many CDs you sell.

I come from the camp that feels that playing shows is a good way to expose yourself to new audiences and sell merchandise, though it may not lead to massive sales.

Then to settle a bit of a difference of opinion, each member of the band went out and asked "regular" people how they find new music and how they purchase new CDs. Not ONE of them said from seeing a band live. Not one.

I know that *I* have done it, but I'm a rare breed. If you're trying to sell to the indie-rock geeks like me, then play a show at the Middle East in Cambridge MA, get a review in the Big Takeover and call it a day. If you're trying to reach a wider audience beyond folks like me.... then live shows might not be the way to go.

The issue is that I can't tell you how. I'm trying to wrack my brain for some guerilla marketting schemes that will get the attention of "regular" people without the help of a major label or payola. I have ideas, but nothing that's been proven.

So my point is that you can't just say that you think that live shows is the best way to go. There are some folks out there who will tell you you're wrong.

Roger

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Re: releasing stuff on your own

Post by I'm Painting Again » Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:22 pm

Rodgre wrote:
BEARD_OF_BEES wrote:playing live shows is probably the best way to get your music recognized and sold..
Not according to many people.

I'm in the process of getting a plan together for a new release, and one of the questions that we, as a band, have discussed is whether playing shows makes a difference in how many CDs you sell.

I come from the camp that feels that playing shows is a good way to expose yourself to new audiences and sell merchandise, though it may not lead to massive sales.

Then to settle a bit of a difference of opinion, each member of the band went out and asked "regular" people how they find new music and how they purchase new CDs. Not ONE of them said from seeing a band live. Not one.

I know that *I* have done it, but I'm a rare breed. If you're trying to sell to the indie-rock geeks like me, then play a show at the Middle East in Cambridge MA, get a review in the Big Takeover and call it a day. If you're trying to reach a wider audience beyond folks like me.... then live shows might not be the way to go.

The issue is that I can't tell you how. I'm trying to wrack my brain for some guerilla marketting schemes that will get the attention of "regular" people without the help of a major label or payola. I have ideas, but nothing that's been proven.

So my point is that you can't just say that you think that live shows is the best way to go. There are some folks out there who will tell you you're wrong.

Roger
awesome points..i guess im just used to this being the good way in the small indie rock communities..that is really the "best" solution i can think of in that kind of way..and i dont mean it to be and end all solution..i didn't really intend to mean mass sales of records at all though..that i know nothing about..lol..I'm not sure if thats what dungeonsound had intended either..but i think its good to do shows if you dont do them and you can..just throwing some ideas out..

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Re: releasing stuff on your own

Post by aurelialuz » Mon Aug 23, 2004 4:42 pm

i think boards like this count a lot. i download any MP3 of anything that looks interesting, pop it into my cd player, like it and buy it (hopefully). that's how i find new bands. i've been out to maybe one show this year that wasn't a friend's band.

reviews...i'd say definitely. but then getting people to review you...

but knowing bands gets you known by other bands. then, if you're good, they tell people about you, or at least mention that they're going to your show on friday or whatever. it seems sometimes like other bands are the only audience bands can get these days.

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Re: releasing stuff on your own

Post by chris harris » Tue Aug 24, 2004 7:38 am

yeah... I've been running sound at at 200 cap. small club in Oklahoma for the last 8 months. It's been really eye-opening. I've seen so many good bands come through and play for less than a dozen people.
And, most will say that it's that way all over.
People just don't go to see unknown bands like they used to.

I think that most of the people around here buy cd's because they've read a review in something like Magnet.

Touring has always been hard for unsigned bands. But, it seems to have become harder.

I've seen a few local bands do a lot better with a good review in the local entertainment rag and a message board buzz than they ever did playing shows all the time.

My own band is convinced that playing several times a week in Oklahoma, or even regionally in TX, KS, MO, etc., would only lead to oversaturation and loss of a ton of gas money. Now is not the best time to be touring!
We're hoping that a show a month in these markets will be enough of an event to get a buzz going and then we're going to count on having a great record with great reviews and -some- non clear channel airplay to generate interest.

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Re: releasing stuff on your own

Post by Rodgre » Tue Aug 24, 2004 7:54 am

subatomic pieces wrote:My own band is convinced that playing several times a week in Oklahoma, or even regionally in TX, KS, MO, etc., would only lead to oversaturation and loss of a ton of gas money.
This is pretty much the conclusion that we have come to. It's kind of fun when you're 19 and have no responsibilities. "Yay! We're playing Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Columbus on Wednesday, Buffalo on Thursday...." But when you've done that a few times and realize that the $20 you get from selling two CDs at a show is the ONLY gas money you have, you get depressed pretty quickly.

We're sort of hijacking this thread in a way, as I'm about to go off on another tangent about the best ways to promote an underground band, but the bottom line is that there really is no best way. Whatever works for you in your personal situation (maybe you want to see the country, so go tour, maybe you're independantly wealthy, so pay off your local music director....) is the best way for you.

In this day and age, things are not like they were in 1993, when a lot of us "indie rocker" types fetishized our indie 7" collection and read Big Takeover and Alternative Press (when it was good - but then again, music was "better" then too.... says the old indie-fogey) and Option and listened religiously to all the cool radio stations on the left side of the dial... Now the internet and the commercialism of the "underground" have really changed everything. Personally, I don't know which end is up anymore with regard to promoting an indie band. it's either all up or it's all down, depending on how much coffee I've had.

Roger

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Re: releasing stuff on your own

Post by chris harris » Tue Aug 24, 2004 7:57 am

there are some good sources for reviews, airplay, etc.. in the Indie Bible.

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Re: releasing stuff on your own

Post by @?,*???&? » Tue Aug 24, 2004 8:11 am

The Mp3 giveaway thing I believe is suicide for an artist.

Streaming online is so prevalent, there's no reason to allow them to download it to their hard drive and let them keep it unless they paid for it.

Better still, new digital legislation ensures that any song streamed in such a fashion garners the same payment as if it were played on the radio. This is on all major download sites like iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, etc. This means the artist gets paid. Little $$ for streams (1.5 cents per minute) or big money (.65 cents per download).

The days of free should be coming to a close here shortly, at least, let's hope they are. The shame of it is, that most independent sites don't pay that streaming royalty now which sets up a quandry. Why license it to someone and simply give it away for free? I can't imagine a site like Garageband would have the revnue to pay streaming royalties- although they ought to.

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Re: releasing stuff on your own

Post by the brill bedroom » Tue Aug 24, 2004 8:20 am

As someone who writes reviews for the Big Takeover, I can tell you this about releasing your own CD; when the publisher sends me a master list of all the CDs that have come in for review, I get so depressed by the sheer volume that I never want to write another song again. I think most of us could not possibly conceive of excactly how many indie releases come out- he sends me a 16 or 17 page list of indie releases that have been submitted in the past month or so. When i get a list that big, the only way to pick what to review is to scan for artists I may have heard good things about (and taht can definitely be from someone talking about a band they saw live) or check if they might be on a label that I usually like (as these are mostly indie releases, the labels sometimes have a bit of an identity- Spinart, for instance).

Releasing a CD on your own is a great idea- IF you're in it to lose a lot of money. you definitely won't make any when you take into consideration mastering, manufacturing and the parts that are absolutely vital if you want anyone to review or play your muisc: press and promotion costs. Without a recognizable indie label, you would almost definitely have to pay an indie promotion company to work the CD to get any serious press or radio beyond your local area. If you are thinking of doing any kind of reasonable press and radio campaign on your own, you'd have to mail out at least 300 of your 500 copies and probably more.

Sorry to be discouraging, but I don't think you'll find many people making a few bucks by releasing their own CD.

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Re: releasing stuff on your own

Post by Chris_Meck » Tue Aug 24, 2004 8:57 am

man, I've gotta chime in.

According to you folks:

releasing your own record yourself is just a bad idea. Touring is just a bad idea. Really, even playing live shows is just a waste of time.

Translation: basically, playing or recording your music in any way shape or form is a bad idea.

Good lord.

On the other hand, I'll say this: pressing 500 CD's IS a bad idea, because the price breaks are usually at 1,000. Generally, for just a couple hundred bucks more, you can do 1,000 rather than 500. This means that you can use a lot more of them for promos and still have more to sell.

I've done a fair bit of touring, both indie and on small labels; and have been at it for 12 years now. It IS harder now than it used to be, no question. The more 'indie' in nature your music is, the harder it is to tour, but I expect that has always been so-at least, it has for me for the last decade +. There are still decent money gigs to be found out on the road, but they're often not glamorous, and they often require you to be able to fill an entire evening's worth of entertainment. And I'm not talking about being a cover band, either, although I typically do a few here and there. Just tribute to your influences kind of stuff.

Anyway. my .02

Chris
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Re: releasing stuff on your own

Post by kcrusher » Tue Aug 24, 2004 9:33 am

Here's my view on this -

Yes, there are a TON of bands releasing indie stuff out there. For the most part though, a vast majority have no real intention of 'making it' - they may go through the motions, but in the end they aren't into making a serious effort.

If you want to 'make it', you WILL have to release your own stuff, you WILL have to play live shows, you WILL have to have a professional looking cd and you WILL have to do everything possible to get your name out there, including offering free songs, having a website, hiring a publicist (or taking your own time to publicize, not to mention learning the ropes of getting press.).

If you're not willing to do all those things, then nothing else really matters. Who cares if you press 500 or 1000 cds' because if you don't do all the other stuff, they're gonna sit in your garage anyways.

To go from nowhere to being able to make decent money doing live shows and selling cd's, you're realistically talking about a couple years of serious hard work. If you're working a full time job, then double that. You'll also have to spend some serious cash to get there - cd printing, postage, gear, publicity, website, mastering, artwork, etc. Think of it as an investment.

You have to be brutally honest with yourself because there are going to be a TON of obstacles to overcome.

I should also say that good things come from every aspect of promotion you may use - playing live, offering free songs, radio play, etc.

We just did a small town gig this weekend and got booked to do 2 more show and sold a decent amount of cd's at the show. We thought it was going to be a 'charity gig', but it definitely came to our advantage.

There's no 'magic bullet' for promotion - you have to hit every angle and keep hitting them as often and as hard as possible. Only in that way will you get any kind of attention. No label is going to pick you up until you can sell some serious amount of cd's on your own, unless you get picked up by a philanthropic label or you've impressed the right people. Connections don't hurt either.
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Re: releasing stuff on your own

Post by JGriffin » Tue Aug 24, 2004 9:39 am

Jeff Robinson wrote: Better still, new digital legislation ensures that any song streamed in such a fashion garners the same payment as if it were played on the radio.
Good God, I hope not. I'd hope digital downloads/streams could at least be tracked more accurately than radio plays. Most smaller artists I know who have been played on the radio don't even register on BMI/ASCAP/SESAC's radars and therefore never see a cent. If they call those organizations and ask for what's due them, they get the brush-off. Unless you're already in the Billboard charts, you haven't got a snowball's chance in my ass to see any money from radio plays.

Apologies to cmez for contributing more negativism to the thread.
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