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Bringing your CD to the gig...

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by lowblues, Apr 25, 2002.

  1. Ok you guys. So we have the CD done. It is on the web site and all easy to buy. We start bringing them to the gig. Sure we sell some. But, and this is the real question, what is a good night of CD sales and what is not? (People at the gig vs sales)?

    What have you all done to push them at a gig?

    Any cool stories to share?


    (You cam ckeck out what we have recorded at www.howlersblues.com go to the mp3's)
  2. If you can afford to do it, why not give out a free CD to the first X# of people in the door?

    I think it's easier to keep track of sales on smaller gigs, or after the show, have a table set up.
    Friday and Saturday nights will probably get you the most sales, if you can keep track of the demand. Less chance of stuff getting stolen of people ripping you off.

    I ran into a problem one club we had a regular gig at wouldn't let anyone sell anything (tapes, CDs stickers, etc.) without getting a cut of the profit.

    I'd check with the club owner before you try to sell anything.
  3. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    I'm not sure I'll find out this weekend!
    My bands debut CD is out and ready for distribution!
    Anybody interested email me!
    The actual release party is May 11th at Mulligans in beautiful downtown Worcester MA!

  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    If you can sell 10 in a typical club you're doing very well.

    We average about 5 a night in rooms with around 100 people and that's pretty steady. We do better in rooms where we haven't been before. The more times you go back to the same room the fewer you will sell there. You can do much better numbers at big outdoor shows that have merchandise tables or booths (and outdoor show season is right around the corner here in the USA).

    In 2-1/2 years we've sold over 1500 (now in our third pressing)!

    We simply mention that CDs are for sale as part of the end of set chatter. We also introduce all songs that are on the CD with "this one is from the CD".
  5. Here is another thought for your consideration. How may of you have a person sitting at a table during the gigs selling the CD? We have one tonight but soon we will be out of wives to do this. (They all said they would do it once.)

    The pre break plug is a great idea. Does anyone use posters of the CD to push them?

  6. Yes, the "in-show-blatent-beg". Tell them in a nice and non threatening way that you have CDs to sell. I think my record is 13 at one gig. That was to a particularly drunk group of young men (16-18), two of whom requested i sigh their breasts, so i did. Damn drunkards.

  7. We had a guy last night, buy a CD and then want to buy a lab pup from our drummer. (His dog is expecting and he is really pissed about it.) And yes, he the guy had a few to drink.

    The 10 CD per 100 people seems to be close. We sold 8 last night and had 90 through the door.

    Oh, and signing CD's. The current joke is that if I (the bassplayer) have signed 4 CD's then, the other guys have most likely signed about 10. (The bane of a passplayers existance: invisibility.)
  8. Funkster i had no clue you lived in mass.i wished i could get your cd but o well.
  9. warwickben:

    Funny closing remarks there. Kind of long, but made me chuckle.

    We have now gotten a VISA and MC inprinter from CD street to use at the gigs. It is way cool to be able to accept Credit cards. Many people want their cash but think nothing of slapping down the plastic for a CD.

  10. Steven Green

    Steven Green

    Jul 25, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Since we are new at gigging, we actually give away our demo that we recorded ourselves...and it's not bad! We think it's a good way to make friends / build up a fan base...

    Anyone else do that?
  11. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    Dude Email me and I'll get you a copy!
  12. Winston TK

    Winston TK Hairpiece Adventurer

    Oct 8, 2001
    Burnaby, BC Canada
    Selling CD's is a harrowing event, even at the best of times.

    If your band is a relatively casual thing, with gigs every so often in certain regular clubs, then by all means why not sell your product as much as possible? The "CD plea" during the set(s) should be as innofensive as possible, yet still attention-getting enough (and spoken clearly enough) to pique the curiosity of the audience.

    If, however, your band is more of a business, with the aim of getting signed, then, in my honest opinion, selling CD's at shows is a waste, not to mention counterproductive.

    In this situation, despite how much it cost to produce and press your product, you must think of it as a glorified business card. You should be willing to simply give your CD's away at shows.

    We've been doing this for awhile now, and the people love it! They can't believe we are simply giving these things away, and that act in itself really sticks out in their minds. People love freebies! And, most importantly, your music gets out there. Isn't that the point?

    Sometimes quibbling over $10 here or $15 there is ridiculous. This may sound overly cavalier in the financial sense, but it is all marketing in the end. And this is the single most important aspect of being in a band that hopes to become successful.

    There is an argument, however, that if something is given away for free, then it probably isn't very good. This is a valid point, but should not be given too much weight. Coming across as some sort of Amway Salesman at a gig will probably do you more harm in the end.

    Consider any independent CD as a business expense. If you want to generate any revenue from these, then do your best to get them in the stores. At least in that particular environment, people fully expect to pay for something.
  13. You shouldn't feel bad about selling your product at a show, whether you're a casual player or more serious 'career minded' player.

    Look, you invested money to put the thing out, right? You should sell them if only to recoup your costs.

    But let's be honest -- as much as we all want to believe that we're in this for the art, a little cash from time to time sure can be nice. If money weren't a consideration, then you'd be playing free shows all the time, right?

    Don't be afraid to mention that you have CDs for sale. In a dark nightclub full of drunk people, not pointint this out will mean the difference between selling a few to selling more than a few.

    Also, because you're self producing these things, the bulk of the money that comes back to you is YOURS. This isn't the case once you make it -- then, you're lucky to see a dollar on a $15.99 sale. And even if you can get the local record store to carry your self-produced disks, they're going to take a cut off the top.

    This doesn't mean you can't give a few freebies away. If a particularly lovely lass (or lad, depending on your preference) says that they just *love* the band, slipping them a complimentary disc can make a fan for life. But don't give them all away. Before too long, people who hate your band will simply take your disc and a) turn it into a coaster or b) try to get some cash by selling it to the local used record shop. Hand out just enough free ones at the show to either get people coming back hoping that they'll get one or they'll decide to fork over the cash.

    Of course, you'll probably send out plenty of "freebies" to music journalists, radio stations, record labels, promoters, etc. That's just promotional costs.

    Finally, how much to charge? Well, you have to base that on what you spent per disc. At the volumes most unsigned bands can afford, we're probably talking in the $1 to $2 range per disc for physical production. Add at least $1 to $2 (or more) for the recording sessions. We're talking a minimum of $4 per disc to start breaking even. I wouldn't blink at charging $10 per disc -- that's still far less than people pay every day for CDs put out by the major labels (who have great economies of scale, btw).

    Ironically, you have the potential to make the greatest return on your musical investment as an 'independent purveyor' than most folks do as a 'signed artist.' Take advantage of it while you can.
  14. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    I couldn't have said it better!
  15. Isn't this a kick in the nuts!!!??? What we seek is the big record deal, or the fat label to pick us up. Monye is what drives those companies. They want to see us puch out "product" for as little cost as posible. The musican becomes a small middle man. Unless your The Beatles, you wont see much $$$.

    We are selling ours for $15 a CD. People expect the price to be around this. The cost of this 1st run is about $4.80 each including the royalties. Not bad. We are hoping to pay for this production run and the next with the proceeds. So far so good. In the blues market, where we are, CD's tend to go fast at festivals. And we timed it so they were ready for just that.

  16. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    " Point of Sale " is a beautiful thing! The bands that I play in usually have C.D.'s available, and it easy to sell to people who are caught up in the moment and having a good time. You have a much better shot at selling them at the club opposed to some local record shop where you have a LOT more competition:D
  17. :D Well it took me 4 years to burn our CD's ourselves and I found, if you have a good front man or another member than can push a "mic" into the audience, let them know as much as you can without being too pushy that you do have CD's for sale here and now!!. Also remember to check with the owner so he doesn't get weird on ya and want a piece of ya action.


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