As a musician I am so glad the days of making CDs to sell and distribute my work are gone. I welcome the age of digital delivery whole heartedly. I remember a friend asking me in the late ‘90s when I was going to adapt my music to internet distribution. I dismissed his inquiry at the time thinking nothing could replace CDs. After all we had just taken a giant stride forward from magnetic tape.
Today more than 90% of my music sales are through the internet, some from my own web site and some from outside vendors like iTunes who host my music on their own shopping cart. Most of my digital sales are in the form of downloads rather than a CD. I believe the digital age has fully arrived when a self producing hard working musician like me can sell his humble work on the World Wide Web to millions of music lovers around the world.
The process of making CDs was not only expensive but frequently tedious and way more time consuming than it should have been. I also had some bad experiences with replicators screwing up some aspect of my CD job and sometimes not standing behind their work at all. Screw-ups in CD replication were always more expensive to fix when taking into account new mastering, re-replication and re-distribution. And when a replicator didn’t stand behind their screw-up, I was left holding the bag for 100% of the redo cost. By contrast, if I screw up my album in some way I just re-record and re-upload the new track(s) to my web site and voila! I’m in business again.
The really cool thing about digital distribution is there are no production costs beyond recording and mastering. Once you build your site and convert your tracks to MP3 format, they can multiply themselves to infinity. Your inventory literally never runs out. And when you record and release your next album, simply upload it to your e-store and you’re instantly filling orders. This is in great contrast to making CDs where you are completely at the mercy of graphic designers and print shops and replicators to make your product for you. It seemed like making a batch of CDs always took 2-3 weeks longer than I was led to believe it would. Now the process of uploading my tracks to a web site for distribution is something that happens overnight. I start the upload, go to bed, and when I wake in the morning, my shopping cart if full of product and taking orders for me.
I also like the way I can promote my music by giving away tracks on my site using digital download cards and password access technology. I can literally reach millions of listeners across the globe from my web site with some light web marketing. And I don’t need managers and agents and marketing men. I’m a businessman writing, producing, selling and distributing my music myself, my way. And I’m keeping the fruits of my labor. Nobody owns a percentage of me or my music.