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  •  The EvO:R-Pedia Musicians Tips Section


    Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.




    So, artists should not seek distribution until they're ready for it. Right now, I sell my discs at shows, websites (CD Baby, Amazon and my own) and on consignment in retail. How do you know when you're ready to approach a distributor?
    Signed,
    Musing in Minneapolis

    =====

    Dear MiM:
    Thanks for responding...

    Actually, there are many schools of thought on when the "right time" is for seeking distribution. In truth, the "right time" can be (and often is) sketchy, which causes artists a "Catch-22" situation, for no less than the following reasons:

    1. If you are releasing your music worldwide, as are most artists today (via the Internet), while "online" sales might prove useful and even fruitful to a degree, you can, simultaneously, create one heck of a mess at the retail music store level for people who elect to purchase your music at their area retail music store, but cannot find it there. After all, most people *still* are not purchasing music online.

    This is because, unless an independent artist is also independently wealthy, or has some financial resource that will allow him to meet all financial aspects of his release, for the most part, he cannot hope to supply retail on a worldwide level independently.

    However, in defense of the alternative sales area locations, such as gig sales, web site sales, and even consignment sales, if you can document sales within each of these sales areas, along with having a respectable number of sales in either or all, as well as a strong viable marketing and promotion plan for generating retail sales, I feel that a distributor will be open to granting you distribution.

    2. But, also understand that distributors are not impressed by the amount of upfront retail product an artist or label can deliver, but are, otherwise, impressed by the turnover rate of re-orders from retail music stores. In other words, how quickly you are able to sell out of each batch of retail-delivered product.

    Add to that, the fact that distributors are working on 90-day, to as much as 6-month time periods before they pay sales royalties, the artist or independent label will be required to financially bankroll retail product for this time period in order to meet consumer demand. In other words, until the payout point, artists and labels have the burden of keeping retail product coming for consumers.

    The only 'saving grace', is if, based on the retail sales turnaround rate, along with your previously successful gig, web site and consignment sales, the distributor is impressed enough to offer a P&D (Pressing & Distribution) deal early in the promotion.

    Bottom line...realistically, neither retail music store managers, nor distributors desire to have product occupy their shelves that is not being properly marketed and promoted in order to justify their carrying in on their shelves or artist rosters. It is simply considered to be taking up valuable space that could be afforded product that *is* being properly marketed and promoted.

    Though this may seem difficult, in order for artists to avoid this downfall, they are best to ensure that *all* their proverbial bases are covered *before* releasing recordings that might prove to be very sales-inviting to their prospective fans.

    These bases include both promotional budgets, as well as distribution budgets. I rarely find independent artists completely prepared in either of these two respective areas, and believe that, for the most part, their business considerations end at the manufacturing point of their recordings.

    ~ kl


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