An easy way to design your own cover art for your next digital album or single

By Chris Robley
December 1, 2015{ No Comments }

An easy way to design a cover for your next digital album or singleHave you ever uploaded a new song to CD Baby, SoundCloud, or Bandcamp, and then felt stumped when you’re asked to upload artwork?

You’re a musician, not a designer. You want to spend your time recording and performing, not figuring out Photoshop.

But you don’t have the budget to hire a pro designer either. What are you going to do? How long will this delay the distribution of your music? Frustrating!

Luckily, there’s no need to relive that feeling. Now you can use TAD (the “Thumbnail Art Design” app) on iPhone or iPad to create quick, high quality sleeve artwork to accompany your online releases — and you can export the images at the appropriate resolution for each digital platform. Read more »

The power of variable pricing for music merch sales

By Chris Robley
November 30, 2015{ No Comments }

How variable pricing will help your band sell more merchWe’ve talked before about how flexible pricing can help you sell more merch.

In a previous article I suggested that the value of your band merch (including CDs) changes from gig to gig, and should be priced accordingly:

This is NOT “Name-Your-Price,” but an alternate system where the band and manager keep the context of the concert in mind when setting today’s “market price.” And unlike fish, your music won’t grow stale,… right?

If you’re one of those folks who thinks, “Hey, I spent a lot of time and money on my recording; I say it’s worth $12– for everyone, everywhere, all the time!”– well, I understand that attitude. But consider the possibility that you might sell more music if you thought of your merch items as mementos from an event that will never happen again.

As Tom Jackson says, the art of live performance is all about “creating moments” on stage, moments that stick with the audience so much that they want to take a part of that concert home with them. And if that’s the case, your merch is worth only as much as the memories you created.

So, that’s one way to think about pricing your merch — factoring in the demographics of the audience, the uniqueness of the event, and the quality of the merch itself — and then changing its value based on the night.

Merch tiers, tickets, bundles — oh my

Another way to test variable pricing is to offer tiered merch/ticket packages, so that — hopefully — there’s something available for people at every level (of interest AND income).

The band Caught On Cline recently tried this approach at their album release party, and it was a huge success. Here’s what they did, in their own words: Read more »

Notes from an Independent Record Producer, Pt. 2: “Sound Different!”

By Guest Blogger
November 30, 2015{ No Comments }

Notes from an Independent Record ProducerThe world doesn’t need more of what it’s already got

Full disclosure: I have an adventurous and wide-ranging sonic palate, as a producer and also as a listener. It’s probably a product of when I grew up. Every song on the radio when I was a kid sounded wildly different from every other song.

This was thrilling to ten-year-old me; I spent hundreds of hours transfixed in front of the radio, wondering exactly how each otherworldly combination of sounds had been achieved. It was mind-blowing. Every song – and, by extension, every artist – had a distinct and unique personality, as expressed via its sonic imprint.

That’s a bit of context for today’s observation: I see a phenomenon constantly with up-and-coming artists, wherein they are very concerned with emulating very precisely a particular style or sound or textural palette (or, worst of all, a specific artist).

I think a lot of really talented songwriters are doing themselves a huge disservice by taking this approach, and so I want to use my space today to encourage songwriters to embrace a spirit of sonic adventuresomeness, both in their live show and, particularly, in their recordings. Here’s why:

If other people are achieving success with a certain sound, that means that you have LESS chance of succeeding with that same sound, not more.

Read more »

Black Friday special: Save 50% on album distribution!

By Chris Robley
November 27, 2015{ No Comments }

Save 50% on worldwide music distribution

Save 50% on worldwide music distribution! Use code BLACKFRI2015 at checkout.

It’s our lowest price ever! Not ready to release new music? Buy now; use later.

It’s the busiest music–buying season of the year‚ and millions of people are going to be shopping for independent music online. And‚ don’t forget about the equally important post–holiday frenzy‚ when people will be spending their iTunes and Amazon gift cards!

That’s one big reason to get your music selling in all the major online outlets‚ but here’s another:

Through November 30‚ 2015 at midnight, standard album submissions at CD Baby are 50% off. That’s just $24.50!

And that’s from the most trusted name in independent music distribution‚ where you’ll NEVER pay annual fees. Just enter the code BLACKFRI2015 at checkout‚ and watch your one–time submission cost get cut in half. Read more »

3 tips to maximize merch sales

By Guest Blogger
November 24, 2015{ No Comments }

Sell More Merch at Concerts[This article was written by Chris Cornell of Manhead Merchandise.]

As a music fan, I know firsthand that buying a t-shirt or other memorabilia from your favorite artist has always been a form of popular tribute. While over the past 20 years merchandise has been an appreciated part of band revenue, it has also increasingly become a key part of their earnings.

Luckily, the quality of merchandise also continues to dramatically improve, with more product choices than ever before. Plus, as with most things today, the barriers to success have lowered thanks to technology.

Thus, here are three helpful and simple tips that musicians can benefit from in order to increase merchandise sales (which can all be scaled over time):

1. Get in tune with your audience.

Read more »

DIY Musician Stories: Chad Lawson reaches #1 on Billboard Classical

By Chris Robley
November 24, 2015{ No Comments }

Chad Lawson is a fantastic pianist and a creative composer/arranger. Pair that with a mind for marketing and it’s no wonder this Steinway artist is at the forefront of independent classical music.

His recent album The Chopin Variations, which has been called “the classical CD for people that hate classical music,” went to #1 on both the Billboard Classical and Billboard Crossover Classical charts (and on Amazon and iTunes’ Classical charts too). Read more »

Send this message to your fans by Sunday, November 29!

By Chris Robley
November 23, 2015{ No Comments }

Promote your music during the holidaysIt’s almost here: 1¢ shipping on all your CDs and vinyl — and we’ve made it easy to let your fans and friends know.

We did it last year and it was a huge hit with both CD Baby artists and customers, so let’s try it again: almost-free shipping!

From November 30th (Cyber Monday) through December 4th, standard domestic and international shipping for all CD and vinyl sales on will be just 1¢. Whether the customer buys 1 disc or 100, shipping is just one penny – total!

This deal helped encourage a lot of extra music sales last Christmas and we think it’ll help you drive up your sales this season too (especially if you run a limited-time discount on your music in conjunction with the shipping offer).

So, if you only do one thing to promote your music this holiday season, let the people that already love your music know they can get 1¢ shipping on CD and vinyl purchases at CD Baby.

Here’s how:

Send an email to your fans

To make things super simple, all you need to do is copy and paste the text below into an email you send to your fans by Sunday, November 29.

Read more »

Why your current songs probably won’t work for film or TV

By Guest Blogger
November 23, 2015{ No Comments }

Sync licensing: why your current songs probably aren't right for TV or film[This article by Eric Campbell originally appeared on the artist’s website. It is reprinted here with permission.]

You’re a songwriter. You’ve got dozens of songs that you’ve written and recorded. Maybe you wrote them for yourself hoping to perform them one day. Maybe you wrote them to pitch to other artists. Either way, these songs have been sitting around for some time now and you want to do SOMETHING with them –  ANYTHING. So you think to yourself “Maybe I can get this song placed on a film or television show.”

Stop! Erase that thought now! It’s probably not going to happen. Why? Because you didn’t write the song for film/TV and you probably don’t know the rules about writing for that medium.

Yep! Sorry to say, film/TV has it’s own rules. A lot of people think that it’s just the collecting place for songs that can’t find a home anywhere else but that’s totally not the case. Many of the songs you hear on your favorite shows were written by a songwriter like myself who has studied the rules of writing for film/TV.

So, what are these rules? That’s what I’m going to share with you in this article. Read more »

5 simple ways to improve your music PR pitch

By Guest Blogger
November 23, 2015{ No Comments }

Music Publicity Campaign for Indie ArtistsI’ve been a publicist for just over two years, and a music journalist for seven. In that time, I’ve seen countless bands reach out with the best intentions only to fall flat on their face. The truth is there’s no magic formula to making sure your music gets heard or your email read. But with a little research, time, and dedication, you can dramatically increase your chances of avoiding the dreaded delete button.

Here are five ways to nail that pitch.

Get connected

Although personalizing your email to fit the website and specific person you’re emailing is paramount, try to go a step beyond that by connecting on social media. Follow the website on Facebook & Twitter, give them a little shout out, and get to know them. Read more »

Balancing your business and your music

By Guest Blogger
November 20, 2015{ 1 Comment }

Balancing music and businessYou’ve probably heard the saying by now, but as an indie artist, you are an entrepreneur and your music is your business. But this mindset presents a whole new set of challenges.

How do you find that balance between creativity and business? How do you navigate the grey space between what you want to do creatively and what will sell? How can you find time in the day to wear two hats and still get everything done? We’ll go through some of the key points in this article, but you can also go further by downloading this free ebook.

1. Find the Right Schedule for You

Creating a schedule or routine for yourself is one of the best ways to manage your time and get more done both on the creative and the business side of your career. The key, however, is to find a schedule that works for you.

Think about when in the day you’re most productive. Do you work best at home? Or can you focus better in an office space or a practice room? Can you multitask or do you need to concentrate on tasks individually? Read more »