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!