Friday, March 23, 2018


In my last post, we began to lay the foundation for planning our project.  We're starting to have an idea of what exactly we want to do. 

There is still a tremendous amount of planning that lies ahead, but before we get too carried away, it's time we start considering what our budget is.

I know that I don't want to spend a fortune to release an album, like I have in the past.  I've since learned that thousands of dollars does not necessarily make a great album. I have spent anywhere from about $2k-$10k in the past on making albums and from that alone I've learned that the price tag doesn't ensure quality.

Furthermore, my goals for this particular record aren't nearly as lofty as some of my past albums.  Since the premise of the book is about any ordinary person having the ability to take charge of their music career-- I want to set a modest budget of $1,000 for this project.

 To some, $1,000 might seem like a lot. I might even seem unobtainable. I can assure you that it is not and to prove it, I will include a chapter in the book on Side Hustles for musicians that details ways you can quickly produce funds for your project.

For example, when my band was first starting out, we were all an average age of 16.  We were full-time students and maybe half of us held jobs-- and those were part-time and minimum-wage. Suffice to say, money was scarce.

One of the things we did to raise money for recording, equipment and cigarettes was to get together at night when it was dark and drive down to the golf course.  We'd wade out into the disgusting waters and retrieve all of the lost golf balls from the water hazards.  We would have to pick leeches off, navigate around a dead duck, and many other disgusting obstacles to fill our trash bags with golf balls.

Once we gathered a sufficient amount of balls, we'd take dump them into a bathtub.  We had procured some abrasive bleach cleaner and brillow pads from the dollar store that we would use to scour the balls clean until they looked brand new.  Once cleaned, we'd separate them by brand into egg cartons for sale.

If we were patient, we could get $10 for a case, selling them across the street from the very same golf course or at a garage sale.  If we were in a pinch, we'd get about a quarter a piece from Play it Again Sports.

It was dirty, unpleasant, and not terribly rewarding, but when you're options are limited-- you have to do what you can. This kind of hustle helped me to get my first halfstack.

Anyway, we laid out some of the production goals for the project in the last post and we set a budget in the beginning of this one. Diskmakers has a great quoting tool on their site that will help you determine what duplication package best suits your budget.

Unfortunately, having decided upon a small budget of $1,000 has put some kinks in our plan.

We're going to have to scrap the vinyl duplication from the project.  Even short runs of 100, like we had plan, are quite costly and would put us well over budget even if that were the only form of duplication we were considering.

That happens sometimes.  You will run into obstacles that force you to reassess what your ultimate goals are.  Since the vinyl pressing was only a novelty-- it was stricken from the project.

The quote that fits best into our budget includes 300 CDs in cardboard sleeves, shrink-wrapped,  with a UPC bar code.  To save money, we will be doing the artwork ourselves, but we could consider recruiting a graphic designer from a site like Fiverr to do the art under our direction for cheap.

This quote also includes CDBaby's PRO global distribution services.  This is a MUST DO for any project.  Here's the description from the site:

"Start selling your CDs and digital downloads online at iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, CD Baby and more. CD Baby Pro Publishing is our worldwide digital and CD distribution service combined with worldwide publishing administration for royalty collection. Pro Distribution includes everything in the Standard Distribution package, plus we'll register your songs with collection agencies worldwide, affiliate you with a Performing Rights Organization if you aren't already, and collect all available publishing royalties on your behalf and pay them directly to you."

We will not only have 300 physical CD's to sell, but we will also have worldwide digital distribution of our music. 

I think the most cost-effective way to pull off my plan to have download cards is to include 100 digital download cards in our quote and purchase these seeded note cards from Amazon for $18 and copy the info over to them by hand.

It's a bit tedious, but it was an artistic choice that I wanted.  $18 and maybe an hour of my time was worth it to me. Maybe it will inspire a trend as the industry continues to move away from physical albums.  Maybe I'll be the first and only one to do it.  Either way, it's interesting to me and the world needs more flowers, anyway.

The final aspect of the quote is my compromise for having to cut the vinyl from the order. I included a commemorative plaque for the release.  Discmakers does these really well and they are a great thing to hang in your office or studio. These look similar to the Gold and Platinum certifications artists and labels receive and it makes a great embodiment of your efforts to look back fondly on.

With all of those services, here is the breakdown of our quote:

Price: $447
Cards from Amazon: $18
Shipping: $43.57
Subtotal: 508.57
Est. Tax: $50

Total:  $558.57

As you can see, we've exhausted more than half of our budget on duplication alone. That's okay-- that's not unusual.

We'll be saving a significant amount of money by recording and producing our album on a home computer.  However, we will need to be thrifty going forward because we still have to consider mastering, artwork, promotion, etc.

We have a pretty good start!  In the meantime, start scavenging golf balls, aluminum cans, and spare change.

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