Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Amazing Amazon Facts and How Do You Discover New Music?

Here's something counter-intuitive. There are two ways to sell an album on Amazon.com. The traditional way is that someone orders a CD, the newer way is that someone downloads the mp3s. When someone downloads our latest album, "A Telephone Built For Two" from Amazon it costs them $8.99. When someone orders the CD it costs them $11.97 plus $2.98 for shipping which equals $14.95 total. That makes sense, I guess, since it should cost more to get a real three dimensional product that it should to get mp3s. Here's the weird part, though.

When someone buys the MP3s for $8.99, we take home $5.915.
When someone buys the CD for $14.95, we take home $3.71.

Crazy, right? How does that make sense?

When we sell a CD on their site, Amazon makes much more money than we do. What's up with that? Why do we sell them there then? Well, Amazon has its customers who just buy all their stuff there. It's easy, they know they can rely on it and they just browse around and buy there only. Because of Amazon, lots of people have bought our albums who otherwise never would have. Even though we reap little profit from it, it still is always a pleasure to have new people hear our music.

You could buy it from our website for ten dollars, with shipping included, and we would take home $7.73 for each. But people prefer shopping at Amazon for the ease of use and they don't mind playing an extra five bucks. Or they never explore any other avenues to discover that they COULD pay less. The same goes with iTunes. There are plenty of places where you can get our song downloads for less than the iTunes cost (what is it? 99 cents?). There a bunch of free mp3s on our site and other sites. AmieStreet.com has the whole CD download for $2.53. There are plenty of cheaper options, but iTunes is really easy for people who are used to it, so they just get the stuff there. The entire ChainCD is free on our website but that doesn't mean a number of people haven't paid for it on iTunes.

Everybody has there own shopping habits and ways of thinking about money. It's my job as Record Label Guy to make sure that our albums are available in as many places as possible. We're pretty easy to find on the web. Now I have to figure out how to make people WANT to find us. I feel like "A Telephone Built For Two" is a good album that people would enjoy if only they knew about it.

READER: What paths lead YOU to new music? Please let me know by leaving a comment. Think of your last five music purchases and, if you have second, explain how they came about. Thank you, in advance. I think it'll be interesting to read. If you'd rather email me than leave a comment, that's OK, too. henning@schoolforthedead.com

4 comments:

dennis said...

both recently and throughout my life, i think i've been led to new music primarily by mixes from friends. i've been meaning to write something about this, somewhere, actually, so i'm glad you brought it up.

in junior high, i got a mix tape from my friend Kevin called "Mix de Den" (some people call me Den) that had a whole bunch of music that was primarily gleaned from Kevin's older brother. it was a whole bunch of Grateful Dead, and then songs like "Everybody is a Star" by Sly and the Family Stone. earlier than that, my friend Dave and i would make tapes for each other called "Madness" (numbered sequentially) that would contain music we liked (also gleaned from siblings and their friends), songs taped off the radio, and a bunch of late-night talking about how much school sucked and stuff like that. on those tapes were bands like the Violent Femmes and Porno for Pyros.

but more recently, (did you want all this history? is this boring?), the greatest mixes of this type are CD mixes like "Pillow," a mix i got from Lauren when we first started dating, that had this amazingly beautiful packaging and really opened up my musical interests to include bands like Le Tigre, Trans Am, and lots of other amazing stuff.

and just a few weeks ago, Bobby Piotrowski gave me and Lauren a 2-CD set called "Dope Mix," an amazing collection of Bobby's favorite hip hop, with notes about why each track is great, or just something to listen for.

anyway, i think we should all make each other more mixes. especially with notes. and crazy packaging.

there's my novel.
dc

mariaofthepotter said...

As an avid music consumer I feel like I should comment. My last music purchase was directly from a band’s website, it was a deluxe fancy boxed addition of the band’s latest album and included CD, DVD, sketches and all sorts of lovely goodies for the tune of $59.95 (plus shipping & handling)...worth every penny. The four purchases before that were CD’s from a local independent record store (Dig Music). I love the record store…and the little guy who owns it, who knows my name and what kind of music I like and throws in cool stickers and tells me about upcoming concerts that are in the works in our area. But wait, before you get too excited let me tell you about my husband who buys all his music from eBay. His bids never exceed five dollars. He waits patiently to win the record he wants to the tune of his five dollars, sometimes bidding over and over (and over) again until he wins it. This is a sort of game he plays, a hobby, with two to three (and sometimes four) CD’s rolling in consistently each week from all over the country. But wait there’s more -we have two teenage daughters. Our daughters purchase a lot of music one song at time from itunes. When the girls want the whole record (this is rare but happens) they’ll shamelessly pick it up at (heavy sigh) Wal-Mart.

Where do we discover our music? Well, everywhere. I have a lot of favorite bands that I follow so a lot of what I buy is basically someone’s latest album. I find new things by word of mouth from friends or in coffee shops or at a record store. Sometimes I even find music on television –in the background of a commercial or movie. Some HBO series have good soundtracks. ‘John from Cincinnati’ was awesome that way; I found a lot of cool music just by paying attention to their background music. I’d think to myself (or say to my husband), “who sings that song?” Then I’d google it –we find a lot of good music that way. ‘Subterranean,’ an indie rock video show on MTV can also be a good little gold mine for new music. I don’t know how you get your stuff on there but I think Spouse’s video for ‘Boots & Pants’ would skyrocket on that show. Perhaps SFTD should make a video? :)
Any hoot, getting back to where we discover music, I think it’s a similar thing with our teenagers. They find music by word of mouth, what other friends are listening too but also from television programs like “The Hills” and “Gossip Girl” and by watching ‘fuse’.

On rare occasion, I’ve discovered music by being at a live show. It’s always wonderful to hear an opening band that moves you enough to buy their CD. Unfortunately, I don’t make it to enough live shows to discover much music that way.

I hope that helps.
MJ

Lucky Sia said...

I use a combination of Pandora, a Rhapsody subscription, a radio station I like and occasionally listen to (out of VT), suggestions from other people/stuff I hear other people listening to, and sometimes I hear something on some Youtube video.

I look first on Rhapsody because I won't have to necessarily buy it to listen as much as I want. Some people find the idea of paying to listen to music that you can't keep rather strange, but I am addicted to it because I could never listen to the range of music that I do without the rhapsody subscription. All that being said, my favorite way to get music is really to go to concerts/shows and buy the CDs there. However, I don't really get to do that very often these days. Don't know if that's helpful, but there you have it.

Oh, yeah. Movie soundtracks. Get your songs on a soundtrack and you've got it made! :D

Rick said...

A lot of my "new music" is rediscovering "old music". For example, this year was the 20th anniversary of "Paul's Boutique" from the Beastie Boys, so I went out at bought it.

Other sources: Last.FM. I'll put on some streaming radio of somebody new (lately, Ben Folds and "The Killers"), and I'll like something else, and that may lead to a purchase.

Another source: The newspaper. I get the NY Times on Sunday, and the Boston Globe everyday. Sometimes artists there pique my interest. I also read the Times online. There's a BLOG by singer/songwriters there that I enjoy reading, and sometimes I'll see an artist there.

Finally: Other people. I scrolled through my brother's iPod one time, and listened to "Cute is What We Aim For", and I was dazzled. Or I'll visit someone's profile on Facebook, and they'll mention an artist, and that may end up leading to a purchase.

It's really helpful when an musician/artist has streaming music somewhere, so I can sample it.