How to sell CDs

As the digital shock and the resulting shake out of the music industry progresses the CD shop and the associated CD  distribution structures have become obsolete. But there is still a place where the CD reigns supreme and that is as merchandise at the gig. Savvy indie artists are experiencing a growth in their CD sales alongside a growing stream of income from digital sales.

Some tips to maximise CD sales at gigs :

  • The CD purchased at the gig  is a souvenir of the live performance and should reflect that . The art should be specific to the show/tour and thematically tie in with the flyer, press, web and poster art etc.
  • don’t skimp, make it a handsome, pleasing package that can command a premium price.
  • make it a personal representation of the artist who is going to be right there selling it at the merch table. [yes that right you have to sell it yourself]
  • Do include a place to sign the CD when you lay out the art

Some practical tips about manufacture and transport.

  • Don’t over manufacture your stock – Try to  estimate how many units you will sell in 12 months and if that is 500 units then that’s what you need. If you need 500 but order 5,000 units you will be tying up cash for the next 10 years.
  • Reorder when you need more stock.
  • Have the CD manufactured as paper and discs i.e. No cases.
  • When you travel carry your stock as paper and discs. Its lighter, more likely to arrive in good condition and takes up about 10% of the space of discs in jewel cases.
  •  Buy new jewel cases as you need, they are widely available [Pack of 50 jewel cases at Office-works is around $17Au]. New unscratched jewel cases look better that ones you have carried around the country.

How Tuneworks playlist promotion works

Tuneworks offers an iTunes promotion service using material already at the iTunes stores. These screenshots will help to make it clearer.  The first screenshot  is an album by Grace Bawden  a client I have been working with. On the lower left is Grace’s top rated playlists box ( this is where I do my promotion) the top rated playlist is called  Tuneworks 41. Next screen is Tuneworks 41 opened to show the full list you can play and buy all the tracks or buy the whole list. First song on the Tuneworks 41 list is from The Beatles 1 Album. Next screen is the Beatles 1 album page and the top rated playlist is Tuneworks 41. So iTunes customers who are on The Beatles 1 album page ( or any other album on the Tuneworks 41 playlist) are 1 click away from a page where they can hear and buy my clients music.

December / Holiday /Christmas Songs

Tuneworks ran campaigns over December/Christmas  for two artists. Campaigns were focused on  Christmas songs from the album Ho Ho by Etypejazz Away In a Manger Image and 3 tracks from Beggars Deluxe by The Beggars Silent Night Imageboth artists saw increased sales and achieved multiple iTunes chart entries throughout December. Click on the Ho Ho or Beggars Deluxe album art in the line above to see the charts. The reason so many  big name artists have a Christmas album is because they sell well an of course the same stratagy can work for indie artists.

Getting your music selling at iTunes.

It has never been easier for artists to sell their own  music that it is right now.  You can put your tracks  at iTunes and all the other digital download services through an aggregator. We recommend Tunecore they are good value and very helpful. When your tracks are in the stores we can make it easy for customers to find them.

This screen shot is an iTunes page for The Beggars. At the bottom of the page you  can see the Top-Rated Playlists  and  The Listeners Also Bought functions both of these are links that help iTunes customers looking for new music to find this artist. In the upper right corner is the search with the artists name partly entered and a drop down list of matches. The more sales the artist makes the higher their name  appears in the list.

How to sell music at iTunes

How do you get your music selling at iTunes? Just putting your music up at iTunes does not mean it will sell – to generate sales you need to promote your music to potential new fans and make it easy for them to find. Tune Works uses a targeted in-store playlist promotion system to help iTunes customers find new music. Playlists are like mix tapes or  compilation albums and can be purchased as a whole or as single tracks. We careful build playlists around your track  and then promote the playlists to iTunes customers.

iTunes is made up of multiple national stores with different pricing, content and a different music buying public in every country. This complexity means marketing at iTunes can be a challenging proposition. 30% of the tracks at iTunes never sell. If your music is in this no sale/low sale category it is  hard to find because the  iTunes search engine rates songs by the revenue they are earning iTunes.The first step to getting iTunes working for you is to generate enough sales to to get the iTunes search engine and Listeners also bought functions working for you. Tune Works can push your music, generate those sales and help get your music discovered.

Tune Works put us on the iTunes Charts

I always knew that my band The Beggars made great music and we worked hard at promoting the music to radio, press and online. We worked in mainly South Eastern Australia where we are based and occasionally made a bigger tour. In late 2009 we were touring in Europe, at the time we had the number 1 song on the European Country Music radio play chart and a German distribution deal for physical product in place –  but still the only place we were able to sell our CD was at our gigs. Then I  got  the Tuneworks working on singles from our first two albums “Desert Flower”  “Beggars” and our “Dreams” EP and the sales at iTunes really started to tick over. The “Turn Turn Turn” single from the Dreams EP even made it onto  the iTunes Singer Songwriter charts in Australia, Germany and Canada – selling  around 100 downloads per week.  Now that we sell at gigs and at iTunes we have decided to go ahead and record our third album and this one is going straight to iTunes and Tuneworks.

Quinton Dunne

The Beggars