Selling Your Music: CDsBy -
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
When you first began playing music, you might not have spent much time focusing on selling merchandise. You were finding your niche, writing new songs, creating your set list, booking every show you could, building your fan base, and dreaming of recording. While those are all crucial elements to developing your band, at some point you need to consider merchandise.
Yes, you need to sell product, meaning both your music and other merchandise. Aside from trust funds, your day job, or crowdfunding, money from gigs and music/merchandise sales is what allows your band to move forward.
The question of what you should sell is a bit trickier to answer. Many bands today focus solely on digital distribution and downloads. While this might seem fine and dandy, it leaves out whole segments of your fans. You need a physical option, too.
Are CDs Still A Viable Option?
Despite changing technologies, CD sales are still a big thing. According to Nielsen Soundscan, sales of compact discs actually toppled the sale of downloaded albums in 2012. Musicians, especially small or local acts, consistently offer CDs for sale alongside shirts and pins. Perhaps CDs aren’t as dead as you thought.
Where To Sell Your CDs
One of your most profitable and immediate opportunities to sell CDs is at your live shows. Fans at shows are a captive audience; if they like what they just heard, they’re probably willing to support you. Selling CDs at gigs is the best way to hook new fans, cement longer-term fans, and keep people interested in what you’re doing.
You can also sell CDs online, either directly from your website or from a plethora of online distributors.
How To Market Your CDs
If you’re selling CDs at shows, think of your CDs as souvenirs: physical reminders of a wonderful experience. Announce the product from the stage, and work the merch table yourself. Mingle with the fans, asking (humbly) if they have your CDs yet. Offer to sign the product. Bundle it with other merch, like t-shirts, to boost sales.
Generally speaking, though, you should market your CDs like collector items. Think about how some fans prize their record collections. Give your fans a similar experience. There’s a tangible element to CDs that downloaded albums fail to provide; your fans can hold it in their hand, read the liner notes, and stare at the pictures. They can keep it forever and needn’t worry about losing it to viruses or hard drive failures. Use this to your advantage by investing in great graphics, luxury packaging, and professionally created CDs. To drive up demand, you might release a limited or first edition that’s a higher quality or has a bonus track. Even with upgraded materials, CDs are relatively affordable to buy, and they offer a solid profit margin, too.
For the foreseeable future, selling CDs will continue to be a part of the music equation, and it’s a great way to help your band move forward. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.
Does your band still offer its music on CD? What marketing strategies have you found to help increase sales?