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Releasing music

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Releasing music

Postby Guest » Fri May 17, 2019 1:10 pm

I have worked with a classical saxophone player for a few years and now we have about 38 minutes of - for want of a better description - alt-classical recordings. They use live saxophone, pre-recorded spoken voice, and ambient sounds/electronics. My question is: Is it worth releasing them and if so, in what format? Recordings don't seem to sell anymore so I am confused about the entire situation.

Please note: this is a professional question and any replies do not have to be tactful at all - professionally I do not take offence.
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Re: Releasing music

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri May 17, 2019 1:23 pm

You could put them on Bandcamp. They can be auditioned by prospective buyers and you can 'roll your own' payment policy, in that you can offer them for free download but ask for donations, specify a minimum price (some people do the "Pay what you think it's worth" model with a minimum of $1 or so) or set a fixed price.

You can also sell physical CDs (if you have them and want to).

The higher quality downloads (which are an attractive feature of Bandcamp) are usually in FLAC format.
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Re: Releasing music

Postby blinddrew » Fri May 17, 2019 1:53 pm

I'd definitely put them on Bandcamp - it costs you nothing to host and their share of any sales is 15% - which I think is very fair.
Could be worth experimenting with soundcloud as well - not so much as a sales tool but as a way of building interest. I know you're not keen on the social media side of things but think of it as a half-way house. It does allow you to connect with people with similar tastes so it's quite a useful tool for personal discovery as well as promotion.
My tactic (and one look at my bank balance might persuade you that this is advice best avoided) is Bandcamp for 'finished' works, be they singles or albums, soundcloud for works in progress, demos, etc. I do put the complete albums up there as well, but they link back to Bandcamp for sales.
I also stick all my stuff up on youtube - it's still the largest discovery platform out there.
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Re: Releasing music

Postby Martin Walker » Fri May 17, 2019 4:09 pm

Another vote for Bandcamp - I made my views known in print too ;)

https://www.soundonsound.com/people/why-love-bandcamp

Although my sales have been very low (like you because I'm not constantly 'bigging myself up') I'm nevertheless very pleased with all my interactions with Bandcamp for both CDs and digital downloads


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Re: Releasing music

Postby awjoe » Fri May 17, 2019 4:17 pm

Another plus for Bandcamp is that they supply you with codes which you can then provide selected recipients for a free download. Promotion.
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Re: Releasing music

Postby Guest » Tue May 21, 2019 9:42 am

Many thanks for all your replies. Although I use all the latest technology and find it makes live easier, I was hoping beyond hope that you would all suggest cassettes. I still have difficulty with things that don't exist - such as wave files. That is the one aspect of technology I have never got to grips with, namely music downloads.
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Re: Releasing music

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue May 21, 2019 10:13 am

Still Vibrations wrote:I still have difficulty with things that don't exist - such as wave files.

Wave files do exist, and are as tangible as the recording on tape. Two big differences are the medium upon which they are stored and their fidelity.

Consider a form of storage with a WAV file on it. Conceptually it is little different to a cassette. You have a physical object which has data stored on it. The fact that the data is stored digitally, which is usually persistent memory of some kind but could be as physical as the little pits on a CD, as opposed to magnetic particles on a long strip of plastic film is of little consequence (you can't 'see' either of them without a microscope!) and WAV files have the advantage of far higher dynamic range and potential fidelity than cassettes, are not subject to wow and flutter, do not degrade over time when repeatedly played and can be trivially duplicated without loss.

If you had a WAV file on a conventional hard disk then it's even closer to tape, as the data is stored using magnetic particles, just on a hard platter instead of the plastic strip and at far higher density!

Seems like a win to me :thumbup:
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Re: Releasing music

Postby CS70 » Tue May 21, 2019 10:30 am

Still Vibrations wrote:Many thanks for all your replies. Although I use all the latest technology and find it makes live easier, I was hoping beyond hope that you would all suggest cassettes. I still have difficulty with things that don't exist - such as wave files. That is the one aspect of technology I have never got to grips with, namely music downloads.

Nothing's stopping you from making a cassette release, there's excellent outfits in the UK for that. It is more expensive tough and unless you see as a loss project you may want to think which outlets will you use to sell them (live gigs are the best).

"release" these days have many meanings - the same word is used by the kid in the bedroom uploading to soundcloud and the mega-launch of the global popstar of the day precedeed by tv interviews and ramp-up publicity and guesting in talk shows and followed by a tour.

As a business, it really matters if you want to make money out of it.
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Re: Releasing music

Postby BigRedX » Tue May 21, 2019 12:12 pm

What to you want to achieve with these recordings?

Just make them available to a wider audience, or make some money from them?
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Re: Releasing music

Postby Guest » Wed May 22, 2019 11:06 am

BigRedX wrote:What to you want to achieve with these recordings?

Just make them available to a wider audience, or make some money from them?

It's questions like that that expose flaws in my thinking. Composers are now using tape and prerecorded spoken voice a lot and I believe we do it to a standard higher than most others. The musician I work with is exceptional (and well-respected amongst her colleagues) and I am ahead - I believe - in this genre. I would like to promote my writing and her playing so that we get more work and, of course, better known in this particular area.
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Re: Releasing music

Postby blinddrew » Wed May 22, 2019 11:34 am

If it's promotion you're after then you really need a press pack. Is this something you've got or are working on?
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Re: Releasing music

Postby CS70 » Wed May 22, 2019 11:41 am

Still Vibrations wrote:
BigRedX wrote:What to you want to achieve with these recordings?

Just make them available to a wider audience, or make some money from them?

It's questions like that that expose flaws in my thinking. Composers are now using tape and prerecorded spoken voice a lot and I believe we do it to a standard higher than most others. The musician I work with is exceptional (and well-respected amongst her colleagues) and I am ahead - I believe - in this genre. I would like to promote my writing and her playing so that we get more work and, of course, better known in this particular area.

Then there's a range of meanings of "release" to achieve different degrees of this goal. It's a number game, with the investment required to increase the numbers becoming bigger rather quickly for then flatten out (unfortunately, at a quite high level).

The basic is what the fellas said, put it out there on bandcamp, youtube etc and wait and see. Someone's bound to notice and you'll see view trickling and you might get lucky.

A little more advanced is to actively try to promote it - put it there but send press release (quite the job! Just finding who to send is tough), use ads on social media, create a YT channel, promote on your Instagram feed or basically do all the cheap and cheerful things that people do these days to get a little attention.

Even more advanced is to make a serious release plan trying to capture interviews, building visibility and momentum, and once released even paying a plugger to go on radio.

The easiest is to use whatever fan base you have - whatever you do will have a much higher chance to raise over the noise, and if you actively encourage them to share and spread the word, there's a bigger chance that they will do exactly that.
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Re: Releasing music

Postby Guest » Thu May 23, 2019 9:14 am

Many thanks for all your replies. As I work hard to remain anonymous, refuse to use social media, won't sign up to Youtube, I now think it's better if I don't release this music. When I'm asked for a biography for concert programmes I ask the organisers if they could leave mine out. Usually they insist so I write two sentences that say nothing. There is so little information about me on the web, that when I turned up for a concert a few years ago - where a work of mine was being played - the programme said I had died in 1985. It was a strange feeling, I wondered if I were in the television series Medium and was about to meet Patricia Arquette.
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Re: Releasing music

Postby blinddrew » Fri May 24, 2019 5:21 pm

Still Vibrations wrote: There is so little information about me on the web, that when I turned up for a concert a few years ago - where a work of mine was being played - the programme said I had died in 1985. It was a strange feeling, I wondered if I were in the television series Medium and was about to meet Patricia Arquette.
That sounds like a perfect biography for future use! :D
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Re: Releasing music

Postby Martin Walker » Fri May 24, 2019 9:32 pm

blinddrew wrote:
Still Vibrations wrote: There is so little information about me on the web, that when I turned up for a concert a few years ago - where a work of mine was being played - the programme said I had died in 1985. It was a strange feeling, I wondered if I were in the television series Medium and was about to meet Patricia Arquette.
That sounds like a perfect biography for future use! :D

Indeed it does!

And I've already bookmarked your minimalistic https://zenhabits.net/ website Monsieur Still Vibrations, for further exploration.

Next I need to search out some of your music 8-)


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Re: Releasing music

Postby The Coastal Path » Fri May 24, 2019 10:25 pm

You suggest you "would like to promote my writing and her playing so that we get more work and, of course, better known in this particular area". And yet you also "work hard to remain anonymous". That's fair enough, but perhaps these two aims might not sit easily together.

However, if the music deserves to be heard (and only you and perhaps your collaborator can be the judge of that), there is really no reason not to make it available under an assumed name / group name via Bandcamp &/or a website and thus place some distance between yourself and the music.
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Re: Releasing music

Postby Guest » Sat May 25, 2019 8:49 am

Just to clarify, the Zen Habits website is not mine but a website I like very much and use as a model for my own.
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Re: Releasing music

Postby awjoe » Sat May 25, 2019 4:59 pm

Still Vibrations wrote:As I work hard to remain anonymous, refuse to use social media, won't sign up to Youtube, I now think it's better if I don't release this music.

Using a facility like Bandcamp, you can release the music, for free or for money (or both) and stay completely anonymous since when you create your Bandcamp page, you decide how much biographical information to include. Zero biography is possible.

I use social media but don't promote my music on it, because I find all the things you have to do via that route sort of cheap and nasty and very, very boring. So, for a modest fee, I subscribe to a service called Distrokid which puts my stuff on streaming services and Amazon etcetera. Bandcamp and Distrokid are my way of getting my music out there and doing almost nothing on my part to achieve that.

If the music's worth listening to, it's worth releasing. It's gracious to include others in the beauty and pleasure of the musical experience you've been lucky enough to inhabit.
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Re: Releasing music

Postby Guest » Mon May 27, 2019 10:19 am

Good advice from everyone, particularly the views that it is possible to release music under a group name rather than as individual.

Although I find technology easy to use and produce music with the latest equipment, the contemporary social media world is alien to me. But far more difficult to cope with is the move from physical media to streaming. I am still in the world where you take a cassette release round to the numerous small record shops and ask them if they would stock it.
And the lying, I can't cope with the lying. I have worked with companies whose publicity and write-ups are unrelated to reality. If someone produces substandard work and performs it, the write-up would be "this innovative work questions the role of the performer in a contemporary, alienating political situation, using tropes from popular media as seen through a post-modern, feminist narrative". When you see the performance it is the same boring clichés that have been around since the 1970s, in some cases even the 60s or 50s.
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Re: Releasing music

Postby CS70 » Mon May 27, 2019 10:21 am

Still Vibrations wrote:I am still in the world where you take a cassette release round to the numerous small record shops and ask them if they would stock it.

Which small record shops? :D
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