Release independently or search for a label?

Discussion in 'EC Downloading' started by TrentAustin, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

    3,368
    854
    Oct 28, 2003
    KC MO
    Hey Ed!

    I thought I'd pick your brain online to get a discussion about CD releases. In today's digital downloading world I was wondering if you thought it would be valid to release a disc independently or to search for a label to carry it.

    As you know I'm in the process of recording a new CD and have been approached by a few labels that release discs worldwide. The scope and power of the big labels intrigue me but the lack of say and lack of simple profit margins dealing with labels turns me off a bit.

    My first disc has sold nearly 2000 copies and I'm pretty happy about that given the quality of the disc (agh...never "cutting corners" or saying that's "good enough"again) and my lack of hustle selling it. With the attention to detail, professionalism, and intensity with this new disc I'm hoping that I could sell at least 2-4 times the amount above. I'm totally willing to hustle up sales and work the phones to promote the CD. 2-4 hours a day working the phones will be a piece of cake for me.

    I'm looking forward to hearing back from you with your thoughts in regards to this.

    Thanks in advance!

    -t
     
  2. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
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    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Trent,

    You've already identified the question: having personal control over all ends of production (and total ownership of the product) vs. the distribution of a major label (and gaining royalties).

    Before I urge you to go it alone, and I will, let me say that I'm still getting a pretty decent royalty check every six months from SONY for work that I did twenty years ago, due to their endless re-packaging and including bits of my old recordings in various compilations. I bow every February and August in their virtual direction. :cool:

    Ask yourself if the labels that you're talking about are going to be around in twenty years. That might answer your question straight away. After that, take a good look at the success that Maria Schneider (2005 Grammy in spite of not having a label), Bob Brookmeyer, and others are having with ArtistShare. The web will probably be the distribution center of the future, if it's not already. Needless to say, nobody can represent your artistic ideas the way you can yourself.

    A state-of-the-art website, and your attentiveness to it, is key if you plan to proceed with Plan B.

    Interesting subject and let's keep it alive here.

    Best,
    EC
     
  3. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

    3,368
    854
    Oct 28, 2003
    KC MO
    Ed,

    What are your opinions on Artist Share and other ventures like that other than what you've mentioned above?

    Here's what I've been thinking:

    Record a commercially available cD and distribute it independently.
    Have it available for digital downloads on ITunes, etc.
    Have it available on a webstore link on www.trentaustin.com.


    Have a seperate digital download section only where you can download different takes, rehearsal takes, scores, and seperate tunes only recorded for digital distribution only.

    Any thoughts out there?

    Best,

    Trent
     
  4. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
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    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Trent,

    I'm interested in your download idea with rehearsal takes, scores etc. It would certainly serve to introduce you and your music to a wider audience (I've always thought that the process is as interesting as the final produce) This might take a huge amount of available space on your site, however.

    Do you know this CD?

    Bob Brookmeyer/Kenny Wheeler: Island (Artists House)

    It includes a DVD with interviews, scores, and a BBC feature on Kenny -- well worth checking out. Video production standards don't have to be high to be effective, as you will see.

    Keep one thing in mind from the outset, Trent. . . it takes a tremendous amount of time and available energy to self promote and manage a venture such as the one that you're proposing. On the other hand, you can rest assured that your work is being represented in a proper fashion. Only you can decide if it's worth it.

    Do you have a timeline yet?

    I'd love to read more opinions on this subject. Anyone?

    EC
     
  5. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

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    854
    Oct 28, 2003
    KC MO
    The Kenny/Bob project is definitely right up my alley as a product. I love that disc and especially the bonus disc. Try sightreading some of those Kenny Solos! :)

    Musically of course my project really won't reflect the music on that disc as I am shooting for a more mainstream concept on my disc but I do love "Island" for all of the great features the dual disc presents to the consumer.

    Personally I'm not going to videotape the session but definitely transcriptions of the solos and specific arrangements could all be included on the site. I will also provide interviews about the concept around the disc with engineers and artists. It plans on being a neat little package when I'm done with it, if I'm ever done with it.

    I'd have plenty o' room for all of the "extras" on the site. I'm thinking of password encrypted entry but it's hard to say right now. With all the new software preventing pirating of music that's also into my mind.

    The more I really think about the project the more I believe I should release independently or with a smaller label that will provide me with greater musical say and all the digital rights to the music. Ten years from now it's my opinion that 60-90% of the music available will only be accessed through the internet sites selling digital downloads.

    Timeframe? Well... I'm recording the majority of the disc this upcoming week. It just worked out that I could get Benny Green and others in this time. It's also the week before I start the college gig so it fits in nicely into my schedule.

    Mastering and all other details will really take as long as it needs to be good. Maybe a Jan 2006 release date? who knows.

    There's NOTHING better for your playing than the whole process of recording in my opinion. It's a great way to shine light on your weakest moments and to learn from your errors. I'd encourage EVERYONE on this list to record themselves in a "red-light/pressure" situation to hear how they really play.

    Thanks again, and I hope more people will chime in out there.

    Best,

    Trent
     
  6. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
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    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Trent,

    This arrived earlier this afternoon and, since it's on topic, I'm passing it along here.

    Best,
    EC

    To: The Dave Douglas Email List
    From: Greenleaf Music

    Greetings. We hope you've had a great Summer thus far. We wanted to take a moment to let you know what's been happening at Greenleaf Music.

    We've spent the last several months reconfiguring our website to accommodate a new approach to the challenges we face, as well as reconsidering the way we operate as a label. The changes to the site include a live web blog, a radio stream created by Dave Douglas and other prominent "programmers," a new "paperback" CD series, and a subscription service for new products, special downloads and discounts, among many other things.

    Philosophically, the revamped site signals a new beginning for us as a label. Dave's new album, Keystone (CD/DVD, release date September 20) will be sold exclusively online through Greenleaf Music and our partner store, http://www.musicstem.com. This means: Yes, we're still making physical copies, in a beautiful Steve Byram designed package. And yes, the album tracks are also available as downloads through us. However, Keystone will not be available in retail stores or even at amazon.com, only through our site or at one of the many Keystone tour dates happening this Fall.

    This is a major change for us and one which we feel is going to be very positive. Our goal is to connect listeners with creative music by independent musicians, always supporting the work of artists fully and fairly. The current industry system, established by gigantic corporations whose ethics and aesthetic decisions are not ours, is unworkable for us. We seek to alter the playing field for ourselves, for the listeners and for the artists we represent. We believe strongly that this new site gives us the opportunity to do just that and we are going for it.

    We hope you'll visit the site, http://www.greenleafmusic.com , and support our efforts on behalf of music and musicians.
     
  7. Veldkamp

    Veldkamp Piano User

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    Mar 29, 2004
    the Netherlands

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