Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Vintage Posters To Brighten Up Any Room

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Fun Vinyl Record Video

New CD Distribution Channel For Independent Artists Announced

By Robert Benson

The music industry is changing again, specifically the way that consumers get their music. With CD sales slumping, vinyl record sales on the rise and MP3 music downloads now dominating the music landscape, a small Internet radio station is also changing the way that its artist’s music is being distributed.

I spoke with DJ Tom of about the new distribution service that the radio station is offering.

“With digital sales being the main online sales source for music, most independent artists turn to CDbaby or iTunes to sell their music,” explained DJ Tom. “What we are doing is making a move to ‘cut out the middleman’ so to speak, which will allow the independent artists to put more money in their own pockets, where it belongs.”

DJ Tom detailed some of the specific ways that iTunes and CDbaby operate:

“These companies rely on their own affiliates to promote the artists that they have and really don’t do anything to promote the artists. As an ex-affiliate for iTunes, I used to sell digital downloads for a five percent commission, so for a ninety-nine cent song that equates to a nickel. The artist in turn gets sixty-nine cents, leaving a twenty-five cent profit for iTunes, who are just an online warehouse cataloging music in hopes that their affiliates are successful in promoting them.

“CDbaby is a bit similar in that they are also a music warehouse that relies on other distributors, affiliates and the artists themselves to generate the sale while taking $4 for each CD sold to drop it in the mail. I can see artists with a CDBaby Logo on their website or MySpace page to buy their CD. If an artist wants to make $7 per CD sold, then the cost to the consumer is $11 through CDbaby. Why not just sell the CD directly using PayPal, add in their processing costs and sell it for $7.50? An independent artist will probably generate more sales at the lower cost.”

So, CDbaby and iTunes do nothing to promote the independent artists who sign on with them?

DJ Tom explained, “When you go to iTunes you see what is what may be ‘hot’, like American Idol or movie sales or highlights. Sure, that may be what is popular and selling at the time, but what are they really doing to promote the music for the independent artists they are supposed to represent? CDbaby does nothing more than create an online catalog of music, charging the artist a $35 set up fee and taking four dollars per sale on top of that.”

How does promote their independent artists?

“We feature artists on our homepage, add their music to our station play list, include their music in free podcasts, artist interviews, CD and music reviews and live radio shows along with other promotions, all to get the artist’s music out there in front of the public, which helps generate interest in their music and the band,” explained DJ Tom.

But here is the most exciting element to the music distribution channel that is instituting.

“What we are offering our artists is a CD distribution method where we would receive one dollar per sale plus credit card processing fees. This will allow the artists to lower the price on their CD for the consumer to benefit and also put more money in their own pockets, where it belongs. We are also offering MP3 sales at competitive industry rates directly from our site instead of an affiliate link that sends the consumer elsewhere to buy the music, then possibly having the sale fall through as an advertisement for a "Commercial" artist appears causing the buyer to become distracted and forget why they went there in the first place.”

So the bottom line is very simple. is making a move to undercut most independent music distributer’s prices and pass the savings along to the consumers, all the while putting more money into the pockets of the artists who actually created the music. The music landscape is changing again, this time for the benefit of the music consumer and the bands and artists who create the music. What a novel concept!

It's Official- Vinyl Is Back

In the United Kingdom, where the CD single is basically dead, there is such a resurgence in vinyl that retailers can’t keep up with capacity. In the U.S., figures as high as 22 per cent are being floated about the growth in vinyl record sales.

At a time when digital downloading is the thing, does this return to the “good old days” merely represent a small portion of audio geeks who pine for the tactile and genuine listening experience of playing a record on a turntable? Or is it, as Eric Levin, owner and president of Criminal Records/AIMS, thinks, the beginning of something big that will create a massive collectors’ market a few decades from now?