Spyder Byte Studios
7999 W. Long Lake Road
Alpena, MI 49707
Does recording your CD seem too expensive to undertake? Consider this, if I
gave you a stock tip, you invested some money, and in six
months the share value doubled, you'd be ecstatic wouldn't you?
With a properly laid out distribution plan, your project should
yield the same results. If we aim for a unit cost of $5, and
you can sell your order for $10-$12 a unit in six months, you'll
have the same result. Get excited!
Edward A. Bolda
What You Should Know
What should you know about doing a Demo or short run CD for the
purpose of getting bookings?
Typically, a short run or demo CD is used to showcase your
ability to other entities, that if interested, could desire a
working relationship to develop. This could be you submitting
your songs to a talent agent or other soliciting agency. It
might also be recordings that you use in the promotional info you
send to perspective clubs or venues that you want to perform at.
In any event, typically, the level of engineering and "fine-tuning"
required for these endeavors is far less than when you want to
release a full blown retail product. A studio may elect to do
a simple two microphone ambient setup and let the whole band play to
capture the energy, while keeping the bill to a minimum. Most
demo and short run CDs include 3-5 songs, which can generally be
recorded and mixed to an acceptable level within 2-4 hours per song.
This can be a very cost effective direction to choose if you are new
to the studio environment, or if your checkbook is currently thinner
then you might like it to be. Your product is generally
duplicated to CD-R's, with standard inkjet labels and CD jewel case
What should you know about submitting your
songs to showcase your songwriting skills to others?
If your desire is to sell your songs for others to perform,
it is generally accepted that you should keep your recordings to a
bare bone minimum. The people you are sending your songs to
need to have room for their own imagination. Let them imagine
what a mandolin might sound like there, or what a screaming electric
lead might do for the song. They need room to shape the song
in their head, don't confuse them by trying to submit your
entire vision. Remember, your song will most likely be
completely re-recorded in another studio, by other musicians, with a
flare that meets the market the buyer is trying to capitalize on.
Often, this is a great place for a two microphone setup directly to
DAT or a hard disk CD burner.
What should you know before starting your full
length CD project?
The truth is, making and distributing a successful recording is
about 50% raw talent and 50% business smarts. If you have too
much water in one bucket or the other, your gonna get all wet.
Most artists have no problem with the raw talent part, it's the
business side that gets them. But you don't need to have a
business degree, you just need a realistic plan and an ability to
stick to it.
Keep it simple, consider these five basics, and if you can't
realistically answer "Yes" to these questions, then hold on, try
again next year.
1) Just what exactly is my budget? Do I even have a budget and
am I overly optimistic and actually think I won't exceed my budget?
Prepare for the worst which typically means the dreaded "T&M" (time
2) Are my songs really ready to go? Nothing gets the billing
machine rolling like someone that starts re-arranging a composition
while in the studio.
3) Am I well rehearsed? If the musicians that are slated to be
recorded can't confidently make it thru their parts in a single
pass, then you need to practice more. Of course, it's not
mandatory, nor realistic to think that you won't need a few
punch-ins or comp tracks, but the difference between a few and many
is measured in significant hours and dollars.
4) Is there a good reason I'm even making this CD? If your
making a CD just to have a few copies to give to family and friends,
then you should probably just spend $700 and buy yourself a simple
all-in-one multi-tracker and learn the art yourself. It
doesn't make a lot of sense to spend several thousand dollars to
impress a handful of people.
If your goal is to make a good demo to distribute to clubs and
labels, then proceed efficiently; don't exhaust your wallet
by spit shining your demo project, that's typically not necessary.
5) Can I sell 500 copies of this CD for $10 each within 8 months?
Do you have a distribution chain? Do you have a following of
fans? Do you play regular weekly gigs that offer you an
opportunity to sell your product? Can you get your CD in local
record stores? Have you worked with your local radio stations
and musical equipment stores.
Can you setup a concert? Do you have a web page that can
accept sales? Can you get your stuff on Amazon.com or another
global distribution vehicle?
When all is said and done, I think it's safe to say that the best
place for 1000 CD's is not in the corner of your basement collecting
dust. A good distribution plan will make your experience an
enjoyable one, and hopefully will lead to you coming back to visit
us one day.
What should you know about
Distribution is an art-form in itself. The best method
for selling copies of your CD as an independent artist is to perform
live and sell your CD's yourself at the show. Why?
Because if you sell a CD for $12, guess who gets the $12? You.
There are, of course, other avenues you need to consider for
distribution that may result in a greater volume of sales, including
using reps and percentage outlets. A percentage outlet may be
a local record store, gift shop, music store or a third party web
site (like Amazon.com or CDBaby.com). I refer to these outlets
as "percentage outlets", because for every unit you will only
receive a small percentage of the sale. The rest of the amount
goes to the source making the sale. The benefit of using a
third party distributor is that, with any luck, you will be able to
sell a greater volume of units.