Fire Funmania Compact Disc

I am very please to let you know the USA/Canada version of Fire Funmania is now available on Compact Disc. This follows the already released Digital version. Still to come is the Cassette and limited edition German/Europe 12″ and CD. Thanks again to Maurice Roy for his fantastic graphic design work and Andi Harriman for the photos. To see a full set of photos close up: click here.

“I’m pretty sure this is the most deranged, insane, sexually charged album I’ve heard in a long time. I want to dance and throw punches at the same time.” – djdiamondkutz (via iTunes)

Amazon CD: http://amzn.to/WQqpwb

Music Cloud

The tech industry is going to finally let us store our own music in the cloud. We can then listen on our mobile and web devices from anywhere. Amazon is first out the gate with it’s Cloud Drive and Player. Google and Apple will surely soon follow. Here’s some thoughts. I hope it’s easy to get my massive music collection online. I will be glad to have my collection anywhere I can log-in to the net. I’m glad my music collection will be backed up online. I hope it works over 3g or it’s useless. I wonder if any of these services will allow me to embed a player and share my music. If they do I wonder if it will have massive implications for SoundCloud. I hope there will be some interesting APIs spurring some innovative Apps that use your online locker. Ho hum another bill.

“Amazon’s easy uploading process makes it simple for customers to save their music library to their Cloud Drive. Files can be stored in AAC or MP3 formats and will be uploaded to Cloud Drive in the original bit rate. Customers can hand-pick particular songs, artists, albums or playlists to upload or simply upload their entire music library.” – Amazon.com

photo credit: bixentro

Do you allow 30 second previews or full song play?

preview

Here’s a choice I am running into that I need help making a decision for. When you post your commercial, for sale music online do you allow the full song to stream or only allow a 30 second preview? The large online music retailers such as iTunes and Amazon only allow 30 second previews. Do they know something about buying behavior? Does allowing just a short clip tantalize a listener so he wants to hear the rest of the song and clicks buy? Could it be iTunes and Amazon believe people will “rip” or record a full song stream even if just 128k quality?

Some websites like Last.fm give you the choice. I had my music set for 30 sec play and I received the following comment:

“30 second clips? can we get anymore of a rip off thats like showing half of the picture you painted, but if you want to hear the rest youll have to buy it if people like you enough, they will buy your music stop being such a rip off” – mnmcandiez

After a little thought I switched my settings to full song play. Is that the right decision? I think everyone knows it’s easy to record any sound your computer makes. I also know my publisher Strengholt music group doesn’t approve. There are some sites such as Bandcamp who rely on people buying music in order for them to survive yet they only allow full streaming songs.

So what do you do? What are the pros and cons here?

[poll id="4"]

photo credit: mag3737

RouteNote is a no money up front way to iTunes.

RouteNote - content

There are now many ways to get your music on to the iTunes and Amazon MP3 shops. If you’re signed to a label they do the dirty work for you. As an independent artist you can sign your catalog to one of many aggregator services such The Orchard for example. They take a cut and put your tunes in many places for sale including ring-tone sites. Tunecore has been a popular DIY option and it’s the one I have been using for my own albums here in the USA (I have a separate record deal in Europe with Out of Line Music, outofline.de). Because I sell a decent amount on iTunes I easily make back the upfront fees Tunecore charges to get my tunes online.

Routenote - IO

However, I have a older few releases on my record label that I’m not sure would generate much income. So up until now I haven’t posted them using services that had upfront or maintenance fee’s attached to them in fear I wouldn’t make the cash back. I do sell the old releases on my own website using the Easybe store and I also have them online with my Beatport and Junodownload deals. I’ve been on the look out for a fair service to get the rest of the old catalog onto iTunes. I was pleased to recently discover Routenote. Routenote’s service is dead simple to understand. You upload your music to them and they take 10% of any music you sell after you sell it. They offer online stats and payments come via PayPal. Routenote is non-exclusive.

So is Routenote the best route for you to take? It’s not always a clear cut answer. For some further insight look at this chart and article on the Routenote blog: Digital Music Distributors Compared

Createspace by Amazon for POD CD manufacturing.

When MP3 sales and distribution took off many artists broke the chain between themselves and greedy record labels. All a band needs is music, a little artwork and initiative to get their music onto iTunes, Amazon or Beatport. But what about your fans who still want Compact Discs? In the past you would have to manufacture a minimum of 100+ units. After spending about at least $300 (eg. Discmakers Short-Run) you would still have to deal with fulfillment to your customers (shipping, tax, returns).

Createspace which is owned by Amazon.com has launched a print on demand (POD) service for CDs. You sign up at Createspace.com, send them your music (snail mail only), artwork, set the price for the CD and viola it’s for sale at Amazon.com. Of course Amazon takes a cut: $4.95 fixed charge per CD and either 15% of the total price if you sell the CD via your own E-store or 45% if it sells from Amazon.com. So for example, if I send Createspace an album/CD and want it to sell for $21.95 and someone buys the CD at Amazon.com I will receive: $4.95 $7.11.

You will make less net profit than if you manufactured and sold your own CDs and more profit than you would by any major label record deal. A key advantage is if it turns out that only five people buy your CD you don’t loose the money you spent manufacturing 100 copies. If it turns out you have a lot more fans than you thought and you get 3000 people buying your CD you don’t have worry about getting more manufactured and then running to the post office a few hundred times!

Createspace allows you to buy copies for yourself at the wholesale price of $4.95. If you want more than 50 units the price per unit goes down.

So what are the disadvantages? As of today Createspace only gets your album on Amazon.com not any of their international sites such as Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.fr. Your international fans will have to buy the CD as an import. This is a big issue for me as more of my fans are based in Europe. Createspace discs are burned onto CD-Rs. The back of the CD maybe tinted Green or Blue. I am not 100% sure about this so I emailed Createspace to find out. I will update this post with whatever answer they give me. Does it matter?

You could argue that record stores won’t stock POD (print to order) CDs but let’s face some facts here: Soon there won’t be any brick and mortar record stores!

A nice aside is you can opt into MP3 sales and your album will appear in the Amazon MP3 section. Lastly, I would like to get a bit liberal on you and point out that manufacturing only what we need will help save the earth. What better reason do you need?

Update: I heard back from Createspace concerning the backside color of the CD-Rs. Here’s what they said: “Thank yo for contacting us regarding our products and services. The backs of the CDs are silver and blue.  We are working on producing a uniform product that consists of silver back only, however at this time we are producing both types.” – CreateSpace Member Services

photo credit: Silus Grok

10,000 MySpace friends and a surprise.

Last night I reached 10,000 friends on MySpace. I’ve never tried to hack the system or send a bot out to friend people. It’s true a large percent of those 10,000 maybe fake, spam or who knows but you can bet a whole bunch are real fans. First off I created a MySpace bulletin (blog post?) saying thanks and I really do mean it. Without an audience there is no artist or musician.

The surprise came when I logged in this morning and I got a message stating I could: Automatically Approve Friend Requests. So getting to 10,000 actually got me something cool. Who knew?!

I know a lot of people knock MySpace and there are plenty of competitors but I still use and love the site. There’s no better way to get an instant view of a band. MySpace is in talks with Amazon and the major labels creating a deal for a new MySpace Music store. They plan to launch in September and I think it could be big. Check out the article on TechCrunch: click here

www.myspace.com/oliverchesler

Which music related social networks do you use?

I’m curious if you keep and maintain public profiles for your music on social networks other than MySpace. Last.fm? Imeem? Bebo, Fairlitzer? What about Pandora or The Hype Machine? Do you upload your full songs so services can stream them without compensation? Is it worth the promotion to you?

I bring it up because yesterday I got pretty frustrated using the new Last.fm. Once accepted as a label you get access to a part of the site called the Music Manager. You can upload and manage your tracks there. After I uploaded a new release I added in the album cover. The album art showed up in the Music Manager. However, it never show up in the general public area on Last.fm. I tried about 10 times, re-uploading the same album cover. Eventually I hit the help forums. Sure enough this is a known problem. How could image uploading be broken for more than two weeks? How could they not disable the uploader or put a note on the page so I didn’t waste forty minutes on this crap?

Another other thing I really don’t like about Last.fm is that you don’t have any comment control on your own artist pages. People can log on and rail you and it’s there forever. They could at least implement a comment voting system so nasty comments get greyed out using Ajax or something.

What finally ended my session yesterday on Last.fm was the events section. I wanted to add in a few upcoming live shows I have. I head to: last.fm/music/The+Horrorist/+events because that’s where the shows for The Horrorist are listed. I search for a button that says “Add Event”. Nothing! Nada! After twenty minutes of searching I find the only place to add a new event is if I go to last.fm/events. How frustrating.

Maintaining a your image and uploading fresh content on every site is impossible. Which sites deserve attention? I will always keep my own website on my own server but clearly the hearts, minds and ears are in lots of places. Do you simply cover the sites which have the most users? No matter how lame they are?

If you go to Alexa.com you can enter in the a few sites and see a comparison of how many users each site has over a time period (thanks Vergel for the tip). You maybe surprised that for example Imeem has so many users. MySpace still trumps them all by far though.

As more sites start to pay royalties for streaming and incorparate there own download stores the lines between iTunes, Beatport, Amazon and the social network sites will become blurred.

Is your head starting to hurt too?

Follow amazonmp3 on Twitter for daily deals.

Do you remember my post about Twitter titled “Use Twitter as a promotion tool for your music.“? Here’s another reason to sign up. Amazon.com has created a user profile on the service and each day they they post a link to a few great MP3 deals.

6/18 Daily Deal #2: Daft Punk’s Musique Vol 1. Yesterday’s price $9.49, today’s price $2.99.

Another example of a music related service on Twitter is sidelinemag. There you can find mini updates to all things EBM and Goth. Don’t forget to follow me too: thingstocome

Are there any music/pro-audio companies or people you follow on Twitter?

Tunecore makes a price change. Im still using it.

Last week I uploaded my record label’s new release Ionic Vision – Club Isolation to TuneCore. I use them to get my releases onto iTunes, Amazon and eMusic. You pay a maintenance and service fee charge of $19.98 per album. This is reoccurring yearly charge for every album you have “live” for sale. You also pay a one time charge of .99 for each store you want to have the release on. For example .99 for Amazon worldwide, .99 for eMusic and for iTunes each world store is separate so .99 for iTunes USA, .99 for iTunes Germany, etc… I don’t bother selling my music on some stores they offer like Rhapsody or Napster.

One thing you may notice if you used Tunecore in the past is the maintenance and service fee charge has doubled from what it used to be. I emailed Tunecore about the price change and they told me yes it did go up but only effects newly added releases. So for example, your older albums on iTunes won’t start incurring a double charge. My albums make a decent amount of money per month so its not a major issue for me. However, for the new single on my label with just 4 songs on it I now have to question if it’s worth doing. Beatport, Neuton, Juno Download and of course my own online store (using Easybe) don’t charge me anything to put a release up. I do want these releases on iTunes and Amazon but only if I will surely will not loose money. I’m a glass is half full guy so this release went up using Tunecore.

I still think Tunecore is a good service. They have a great website. Uploading and organizing your releases works smoothly and is a nice looking process. They always answer my emails right away. Storage is getting cheaper so I’m not sure why thier fee doubled. Let’s hope for more competition in this space as really at this point Tunecore is the only good option for independent labels to get onto iTunes. I do feel it’s important to keep the concept of “point of sale” in mind which states the more places you sell your stuff the more money you should make.