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how do you get your music/CD's into music stores?

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is that the job of the record company to put your CD's in the music stores so your fans can buy them? or can you just go straight to the stores and make a deal with them so they can sell your records? how does this part of the industry work?

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Many local stores and one location mom and pop places will have a "Local Artist" section and they will allow you to consign your CDs and display in. I've seen local/regional distribution companies that are often grass roots collective kind of deals and then there are label distribution companies. The last two will no doubt be looking for a piece of the pie. Starting out, if you're willing to do the footwork, generate a buzz and get some general interest in your material by playing shows, getting local airplay and create a demand for your band. Then make sure you have enough product on hand, or can create it on demand. Sell it at shows, consign them to any store that will take them, offer free copies to radio station and ask your fan base to request it, try to get on local artist spotlight shows. Also make sure you have a purchasable down load link on something you can hand out. Basically if you don't have label support cramming your music down the public's collective throat, you need to create the demand for your product yourselves. If the public likes it, it will take on a life of its own.

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I'd say first of all that if you're trying to move physical units, you need to get with the times. CDs may still be sold at some gigs, but very few people buy them anymore in stores… or at gigs either for that matter. IMHO you'd be better off looking into instantly deliverable alternatives (flash drive, downloads, streaming) for both gigs and general distribution. There are plenty of other merch items that you can hawk at gigs to give fans a memento to take home with them.


Yes, distribution is traditionally one of the jobs of the artist's label, and under the old model, getting things into the stores and prominently displayed was part of that. If you really want to get your CD into a store, you can try to approach them directly. You'll have a much better chance of getting an independent record store to stock it than a large chain like Wally Mart. But even if you're successful in getting the album into a store, it's not going to sell without serious promotion to make people aware of it and drive them to the retail store to purchase it. That's something a lot of people overlook. Just having it sitting in the store means very little. Why should someone buy your CD instead of one of the several thousand other albums that are available at the store?

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I think Phil was being kind there. The idea of making an album and selling it is just about obsolete now.


Studios still making money do allot of work for major corporations creating commercials for radio, advertising, movies etc. Bands are catching on there just isn't any profit making albums any more. Kids don't buy albums any more. They download single songs for a buck off some vendor site and play the music back on cell phones.


Even if it was possible, a better way of looking at it is "Not" how much others pay you - its how much "You" pay them to sell the albums.


The record business is like any other. They hire people who can make them the highest profits.

If you cant make them a million bucks, why should they bother distributing your recording?


I had a friend back in high school during the 70's. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Ponti


We took the same music courses and I was always teaching him to play songs. He had the shortest fingers of any guitarist I ever knew. He was always talking about these famous musicians he knew. allot of people thought he made up the stories which they later sound out to be true. He made his first album before I did. (He was lucky because father was in the business and he knew all the ins and outs)


He returned the favor of me giving him lessons and playing together in a few bands by teaching me a few things about the music business.


First - A record contract is a Bank Loan - That's it and that's all of it. No big mystery, no golden dreams.


The record company gambles you will make them money and backs the loan for you to make them a profitable album. If you spend all that money and the album fails? Guess what - you still have to pay the loan back or claim bankruptcy. If you do go bankrupt good luck on ever getting a second shot.


Second you had to be careful who you got that loan from. It may be the brother of the guy who owns the studio and if his name was Italian, you better be sure you paid that loan back even if it was cleaning toilets. In fact there were a ton of record companies back in the day up in the NE where I lived that were simply money laundering outfits for the mafia. You failed to pay them back, its more then bankruptcy court you'd be facing - believe me.


I knew musicians who lost everything and had to work day jobs and pay every dime back to those people. A few who didn't pay them back had mysterious accidents too. Others simply wound up being drug dealers selling drugs at gigs when their albums flopped and they had to pay the money back to the man. I lost many of my best friends from when I was a kid to the industry cause they got in over their heads.


Hollywood has painted this picture of the industry like a fairy tale. Just make this one hit song and you're carried over the rainbow on a magic carpet with people throwing riches to you on stage and kissing your feet (or something else)


Balls.... The music business does have allot of great people in it, some of the best I've ever known, but its also one of the most most cut throat lawless businesses on planet earth.


Everybody knows you want to be a star. They'll promise to get you there if you sign your soul away and give them all your profits. If you aren't star material you simply wind up being one of the many slaves in the business. When you try to quit, they hand you a fat bill and say You want to quite - pay back what you owe us first. Problem is you're always being paid in advance and never have any money of your own to pay them back.


There are exceptions of course. Musicians who are very savvy to business and streetwise do better then your average boob who knows nothing about the business. Those who made a successful career may only be one tenth or one percent of the musicians out there. Yes you have your high school bands, weekend warriors and minimum wage players getting beat up by unscrupulous club owners who will do every thing they can to avoid paying you at the end of the night.


The stories you hear out there about musicians being robbed are real. I cant count the times I had to track down the owner of some dive and tell them to pay up or else. I've had them disappear and hide in the friggin stall hoping we would leave to avoid having to pay for the entertainment.


Unless you got a lawyer to draw you up solid contracts and you get people to promise you up front what you get paid if things go wrong, you haven't got much of a chance of making a dime in the business, no less selling an album in a music store. In fact if you don't educate yourself and know what you're getting into you don't want to even try to get in the business because its like having the word sucker tattooed to your forehead.


Just look at history and learn. Even back in the days when the music business was still fairly legitimate the Beatles who were completely street wise having played dives in Germany were packing the clubs in England full of naïve school kids before they made their first real album. They had a good manager who owned record stores and knew financial end of it too and could back them financially.


Given the fact people simply don't buy albums any more and prefer to legally or illegally download it - and because you have an oversaturation of musicians all trying to do the same thing, the chances of getting anyone to buy an actual CD or album is super slim. You have to really be packing people in on the touring circuit and you most of all you have to be a great performer with financial backing and great management watching your backside so you don't get screwed every time you turn around.


A solo musician with no performing experience has more luck winning the lottery then getting albums sold. Just look at your star bands. Every day you're hearing them say they cant make enough money off an album to pay off what it cost to make it, no less make a profit.


The record companies still in business are simply empty shells now. Its all because Kids would rather steal it if they can or download it for pennies form some music vendor. Most kids haven't even got jobs to buy albums and their parents don't either because their supporting their adult kids and paying for their health care until their in their late 20's now.


Even if its a great album, only one person has to buy it and upload it to the nest and it spreads like wildfire and nobody's going to buy something they can simply download free.


Music companies lost the fight against pirating music two decades ago and the artists surely cant prevent it. The government doesn't give a crap if kids steal music so all an artist has left is performing live. Half of them are afraid to do that too given the fact they wind up being soft targets for terrorists these days.

Edited by WRGKMC
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You've gotten some solid advice from the previous three replies. Good on WRGKMC for giving you the unvarnished skinny on it all. You can always count on him for that. And for brevity..:lol:


In my unprofessional opinion...I think the first thing you need to do, before anything else....Is to Identify your audience.


Now before you say "I don't have a cd so I don't have one!", think about what I just said. How would you classify your music? What Genre?

Figure that out...Then go to places like SoundCloud and type in that Genre. See what else is out there in that description and double check yourself that you're properly classifying your material. Once you figure that out, you at least have an idea of what you have.


It costs nothing to set up a basic SoundCloud account. Upload a song. You don't have to make it downloadable. See if others that follow that genre play it and dig it. It's a simple way to get your feet wet.


Now re-read what trevcda, Phil 'O Keeke, and WRGKMC just posted.



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Just make your music, set up you own shows, sell your music and way you can, and once you start making money the big boys will be looking for you to get a piece of the action. Don't quit your day job, cause you need that to fund you music habit and addiction.



You can sell your music on line, or cd's in small mom and pops shops. You can even give it way.


In the meantime, have some tee shirts printed up and sell those too. It will be a nice extra $$$ when 6 people show up at your live performance and you need gas money to get to the next town.


Get used to hauling gear, coming home late at night, if you make it home at all. Remember to be polite and the difference between sleeping in your car, and on a comfy bed, might be a love babe that is long forgotten when you get back on the highway. Home is where you hang you hat.


Once you get the idea that the music biz is less about music the better off you will be. Don't get old, don't get sick and by all means stay skinny.


If it were easy as fishin', you could be a musician

If you could make sounds loud or mellow

Get a second-hand guitar, chances are you'll go far

If you get in with the right bunch of fellows





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What we're talking about here is sales an marketing of a product.


As a musician you manufacture a product.


People manufacture products every day. Some are good and some are junk.

The goal is to find or build a market. Sometimes one can lead to the other.


What you have to ask yourself is are you skilled enough in sales and marketing to sell the product you manufacture.

If there is no buyers for the product then you either have to build a market or change your product to target a market.


As others have said here, chances are you have to do both. Its always easier to sell something someone wants.

In order to do that you have to know what's hot and what's not.


You have to keep focused on wants currently selling well. Then you compare it to what you have.


There are three basic items here very relevant to marketing. If you were a major manufacturer with a large customers base its easier to set trends if you make something people wants or need.


As a independent salesman/contractor you have no power to set trends so your options are limited.


If you have a product, recordings the market trend moves in your direction, its possible you can capitalize on that trend. Chances of this happening are pretty slim. Its happened of course but its less rare then someone winning a lottery. At least winning the lottery you're participating in trying to win. Sitting around waiting to be discovered or having a trend move in your direction is pure luck of the highest odds. Its happened in the past I'm sure but those were different days when studios hired people to do active talent searches.


Second, and possibly the most common, you identify what's hot now and try to jump on the band wagon. You produce a product that's close enough to being a clone and hope its good enough to draw attention away from the top sellers. This is really tough market because its a moving target. By the time you write, record and market the music for what is hot today the market has already trended in a new direction and your material is already old news.


Lastly you can identify what's hot and "predict" what is going to be hot, so when you market your product it will be in vogue with the current market trend or ahead of it. Timing is critical here. Even in the movie industry, many times studios shelve products because the competition drove the market in an unpredictable direction and they hold a product release until the market if more favorable for its release. Many times companies cooperate and coordinate their releases so they can both profit.


Being ahead of the trend can bring in the best money. Problem is you have to read the trends and know what's coming up. Its unlikely you can read trends if you don't know what's currently hot, no less what's in the works.


This is where a pro studio and manager can come in to play because they see all the bands in current production before the public does. They know what the trends will be tomorrow. Best you can do being outside the loop is give it an educated guess. Professional help by those on the inside of the business is uses to be the only way you had a chance of making it in the business. They not only set trends but independents cutting in on their markets would be run out of the business. That has changed quite a bit but the big bucks still center around the companies powerful enough to set and drive trends to generate a profit.


The bottom line is Pros not only have the technical skill to produce a good solid product, but they can help to make a product ahead of its time so by the time you finish and release it, you will have customers hungry for what you have to sell.


In the end that's the most reliable path to success. Why use one mans skills spreading himself so thin doing every job himself and doing them all half assed. If you simply focus on being the best performer you can possibly be, the have others do all those other jobs, being paid to produce their highest levels of skill, every aspect of the product winds up being the highest caliber. This is how your major studios used to work. Problem is it was very expensive and unless you had what it takes they would simply pass you up for someone better.


If you self fund, then you often have people who can do multiple jobs at an economic cost. Yes you have the choice of learning all these jobs yourself. The problem is they all take time to learn and become highly professional. That all comes at a cost. You're robbing time that can be put to use learning to be a better performer then your competition.


Believe me the window of opportunity of grabbing that brass ring as a performer is very narrow. I'd say its usually between 16 and 21 years old and closes after that. Reason being is the artist follows his own generation of fans during his rise and decline, and all artists eventually decline. There have some artists become popular at an older age, but its pretty rare. Most are in the business from childhood and simply outlast the competition.


The problem with starting young is you don't know jack about the business. This is where older experienced people in the business are essential in "bringing" a young artist to success. I Highlighted the word Bring there because there's practically no chance in hell they can do it themselves. The average person just isn't that gifted enough to do it all at a young age like that.


These experience people have to be paid for their help. You may be lucky to have family members who can do this. Many have. You may be rich enough to hire good management. You may have a personality and a skill performing that simply draws the best to you.


Or you do like most musicians take a day job, delay getting bogged down with a wife, family mortgage car payments that make it impossible to succeed as a musician and take every dime you earn hiring the best you can find to help you get where you want to go.


The key here really comes down to getting profession help by whatever means you can. They aren't going to do all the hard work for you however. Many times its simply the advice you get like many of the people who have posted here and have been there and done it all already.


In the end its up to you.


Do you really have the passion and faith in yourself to go all the way or are you just feeling cool because you get to hang out with some veterans? You should realize, veterans are often great people who are willing to help others when they need it just like they were helped at some point. But you should not be asking for that help if you have no intention of following through.


Allot of kids just blow smoke and don't realize they are wasting time of people who don't have allot to spare. This is why being sincere about your goals are so important. You have to know this before others are going to give you their best. Its OK to be green, but you have to decide is you're going to give it your best shot. At least if you fail then, you know you can live with yourself and not regret having missed your shot.


If you aren't sincere others wont be either. They will take your money an give you a days work. That doesn't mean the work will be the best. They will recognize someone giving their best and match them with their best because they want to see their own efforts succeed by you succeeding. If you're lazy and hoping others will do it all for you then they'll simply do the same and rob you of your money because you're obviously not wanting to be a winner and don't deserve their best.


This is exactly why many major studios recommend you get busy doing what you can on your own. Its not essential you succeed. Its what you learn in the process that's important. people in the business are not unfamiliar with failed attempts. They are in fact ramped in the business because of its nature. What is rare are successes and when you see those successes through their entirety from origin to fulfilment you know why they succeeded and how they were driven to success.

Edited by WRGKMC
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Anderton: If you want to get your music in front of a million people, leave a copy of your CD somewhere in the Moscow airport. Shanghai works, too. :)


True. In the last decade or so, one of my websites has had thousands of FREE downloads.I quit counting years ago. So maybe tens of thousands by now. I estimate over 80% were from the PRC.


What happens after that? If the musicians or producers find any value in the music, they steal it. If not, the songs just become part of someone's collection along with thousands of other songs.


The late Kim Fowley once told me, 'The ethic in the music industry is 'steal'. If you're caught and sued -- settle. There's plenty more suckers around and what you stole likely isn't worth much anyway,".

Edited by Etienne Rambert
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