here's #2 for you where i talk about my way bigger than expected number of views, plans for the future and respond to last week's many letters from bob lefsetz's newsletter (and also give you a rad little geology fact).
i also want to address artists that don't take advantage of that which is at their fingertips - their fans. instead of signing to a label so they can take care of administrative tasks for you, why not look to your fans to help you out with those tasks? i bet you'd be surprised at the vast amount of talent and ability that lives in your fanbase. and, while they may not help out for free (but they might) i bet they help out at a deeply discounted rate, with a far more authentic touch and be WAY more excited about doing so. in their mind, it's creating a deeper or different kind of connection with you. take advantage of that and open yourself up to allowing that connection, it'll only make things better.
finally, i want to address the percentages i talk about in the video - they're not numbers that i pulled out of my ass, but they're not steadfast either. in the research i've done thus far, it's a pretty usual set of numbers. most of it comes from here because it's a simple and easy to understand breakdown that is easy to point others to. i use the iTunes example because it's the most ubiquitous and one of the easier to break down. essentially, apple will always take 30%, no matter what. the remaining 70% is up to you.
Let's do some math to put this into perspective using an oversimplified example: assume the artist's goal is to net $10,000 for themselves on an album they are selling for five dollars on iTunes. Assume, in both scenarios, the artists is a solo singer-songwriter with their own publishing company to further simplify the calculations. The independent artist spends $5,000 to write, produce, record and distribute their album. To net $10,000, the artist needs to make $15,000 in sales. 70% of five dollars is $3.50. $15,000 divided by $3.50 is 4,236 five dollar albums that the artist needs to sell to net $10,000.
Alternatively, a label artist spends $20,000 to write, produce, record and distribute their album (that's pretty thrifty), but it's not as simple as grossing $30,000 in sales for the artist to make their $10,000. This requires some higher math: at the outset, the label is taking 15% of the sales price ($0.75) until costs are recouped. So, $20,000 (the cost to make the record) divided by $0.75 is 26,667 albums that need to be sold to recoup costs. The artist has only netted 7% ($0.35) per album sold thus far, making their income $9333.45 on 26,667 albums, $666.55 short of the $10,000 goal. Since the costs of the album have been recouped, the artist now is making their full 22% ($1.10) per album sold , so they need to sell another 606 albums to make their full $10,000 bringing the total number of albums sold to 27,273. That's more than an 636% increase in sales to net the same amount. The label has made $68,121.90 in pure profit at this point.
these numbers don't represent any certain situation except the one listed above that i pulled out of my ass, but it gives you an idea of what goes on. every deal is different.
if you even get paid.
WOULDN'T IT BE EASIER TO SELL 4300 ALBUMS THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO ANSWER TO ANYONE TO REGARDING ANY PART OF THE PROCESS THAN TO SELL 27000 ALBUMS OF SOMETHING THAT MAY JUST NOT BE "YOU" BUT THE LABEL'S IDEA OF WHAT THE AUDIENCE WANTS YOU TO BE?
to put it further into perspective, jeff bridges, who went on a full media junket for his pet album, took 4 weeks with the "POWER" of tv, print and radio behind him to sell 27000 albums. to a nation of 250 million people. if even one percent of them saw "the big lebowski" or "crazy heart" and loved either one, that should give him at least 2.5 million people who would potentially buy that album, right? he just barely topped out at 1% of that 1%. funny, but i can't seem to find the year to date cumulative numbers on that album. hm.
let me step off my soapbox now.