Welcome to DigitalDin.com - thanks for visiting! close ×

A Stupid CD Distribution Tip for Independent Musicians and Bands

I’m a progressive music lover and an independent prog musician, and I know that there are a lot of others like me. So, I figured this is a tip worth sharing with everyone, based on my experience. It might seem like a common sense move, or you might be averse to “partnering with the 800-lb. gorilla of the internet,” but I’m here to tell you that I found this to be a worthwhile “sell-out” if you want to call it that.

That’s right, I recommend that you sell your CD on Amazon.

On the surface, it kind of sucks, compared to the alternatives. Whereas CDBaby (an AWESOME company, sell your CD there too!) doesn’t charge a “service fee” and, for my CD (Din Within’s “Awaken the Man”, which sells at $12) pays $8 per CD – the “Amazon Advantage” Program, essentially a “consignment” program, charges an annual fee AND only pays $5.40 per CD. But here’s the thing, and again, it seems obvious: Amazon gets you out to such a incomparably HUGE audience – and more importantly, GROWS that audience with every sale (a feature that CDBaby can’t really match, as much as I love them.)

Amazon’s unique technology (Other customers who bought this also bought…) is the big sell here. Even though our album was released almost a year and a half ago (November, 2007) the sales have continued to INCREASE month-to-month, and lately, those increases have been exponential. More and more people are finding my music because other people who previously bought “Awaken the Man” also bought Spocks Beard, or Steve Wilson, or Phideaux, or Marillion, or… you get the idea – and now OUR album is being displayed on THEIR pages as a recommendation for “if you like this, you’ll also like…” And people clearly do, because our monthly sales have gone up ten-fold over the last 6 months. And the album is 1 ½ years old!

When I considered signing up for the program, I really debated for some time on whether it would be worth it; in retrospect, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. It seems a little corporate, especially for an “underground” music genre like Prog, but the distribution and legitimacy that it affords my little independent release is more than worth the reduced take we get on each copy.

Just my $.02.

Bonus tip: once your sales are consistently up a little bit, it pays to let them know you have a minimum number you’re willing to send as restock. I get Purchase Orders for 1 copy occasionally, and I send a “stock-up request” to up it to a minimum of 10, 20, etc. and they always oblige. It doesn’t make sense to pay shipping on one copy when I only get $5.40 per copy through them…

I’d also like to include a shout-out to Kinesis and Syn-Phonic, who are Progressive Rock Music Distributors; both have been extremely supportive by purchasing our CDs wholesale and selling them at the Prog festivals they go to!

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus

Second Story – You heard it here first

To be included on the Second Story release – our tribute version of Queensrÿche’s “One and Only” that we recorded back in 2000 or so; the album it was to be on was never released, and we were quite proud of how it came out. If we do a full CD release, it will probably be on “Thin Twisting Line” as a “hidden” track, but we’ll get the licensing from Harry Fox so it’s legit.

Cool, the album isn’t even mixed yet and there’s already a BONUS TRACK! 😉

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus

Second Story – ‘The Silent Giants’

“The Silent Giants” is possibly Second Story’s most ambitiously “proggy” song. It’s one of the longest tunes we had in our set, and it features full instrumental solos from John, Tom and Scott. It has distorted chordal figures on the bass, about 12 different guitar tracks, contrapuntal vocals (think “Gentle Giant”), lyrics steeped in metaphor, Mellotron keyboards, and much much more. We loved playing it live, as it also rocked pretty hard.

As you can imagine, it was with trepidation that I began work on it. When we originally tracked in Indre Studios, we had a total of about 34 tracks available per song – I’m pretty sure that this tune used ALL of them.

What I found most curious, despite my worries – the song actually mixed quite easily! I was able to get a really good drum sound for the vibe of the tune, Danielle’s vocals sound really good, and with a little bit of judicious volume envelope swells, the vocal parts should also be great. I did a bit more fun stuff with the effects, particularly on some of the vocals. But again, you’ll just have to wait and see (hear, actually.) 😉

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus

Second Story – ”Dancing on the Hill"

This was a tune I was very worried about, based on how the other mixes of it had come out. It’s a complicated tune, even though it may not sound like it. The drum beat is somewhat disjunct, the bass line (distorted and played with Funk Fingers) is a bit “blurry” and some of the other parts of the song (keys, guitar) have some unusual rhythmic things going on. When it worked, the song had an undeniable groove and a very original sound. Unfortunately, the previous mixes we’ve had of this song sounded sloppy, uninspired and just plain bad.

I’ve long had the feeling that the success or failure of mixing this song might be the “make or break” moment of whether or not I took this project to completion. Meaning, if I couldn’t make this track sound good, there was probably no point in bothering with the rest of the album – it’d be too demoralizing.

Luckily, I think (and Scott agrees) that the song is sounding AMAZING. I was able to tweak the drum sound and really phatten it up. The bass tone, which the other engineers could NEVER seem to get right, is punchy and “gooey” – all at the same time. Some judicious audio track “nudging” helped fix some timing errors that I blame on the varied equipment used to dump the songs to digital, which may have caused some of that disjunctedness that we couldn’t seem to shake in the other studios. Danielle’s vocals just jump out at you and beg for attention. I’ve done some cool things with panning and effects – there’s a really cool bounceback delay that I used in several places that really adds to the tune. And I even added a sound effect sample (Extra points if you can guess what and where it is.)

So the project will go on. “Dancing” sounds really good, so I think there’s a good chance that everything can be mixed to our satisfaction. More to come!

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus

Second Story – ‘Abducted’

So, once I was able to start mixing with the REAL drum tracks, the first song I started working on was the first one in the queue (they’re alphabetical). So, Abducted it is!

Abducted was one of Second Story’s simpler songs; a basic A-B-A-B sort of affair, it has some very cool unique things going on. For one, John’s repeating hypnotic keyboard bass line in the choruses are hooky as hell. Also, I played the verses using the Funk Fingers (see an earlier blog post if you don’t know what those are.) Tom played the hell out of the verse groove, particularly. And Scott had a nice recurring melodic line. Also curious is the lack of any vocals in the “chorus” – the intent (with John’s bass line and Tom playing “four on the floor”) was to simulate a dance floor. After all, the song is about being Abducted by the groove. So the groove says it all in this one.

So I did a bit of work on the tune, and Scott came over and listened to my early “alpha mix.” He had a couple of interesting suggestions, and we did a little bit of fun experimentation, particularly on some vocal effects. There are also some interesting “surprises” that will reveal themselves when the song is finally released – but I’m not giving out any spoilers, so you’ll just have to wait.

(evil grin.)

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus

1 2 3 4 5