I recently read an article about the band Protest The Hero (PTH). The article describes how the band is taking their music career into their own hands after fulfilling their obligations to their record label. It seems that quite a few bands are spreading their wings and giving the finger to the conventional notion that successful bands have major label backing. Contrary to what some may believe, getting signed isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Yes, being a signed artist has its benefits (bragging rights mostly). Yes, you have some opportunities that are only available to those on a major label. However, record labels are merely investors that have the financial capacity to loan artists money for a series of specific terms. Keep in mind that artists give up some personal freedoms to be signed.
Many bands are turning to Kickstarter and Indiegogo to fund the costs associated with production. For obvious reasons, professionally touring bands are going to have a MUCH easier time getting their fans to throw down money. However, never underestimate the generosity of your fans. I played a gig as a benefit for a local charity and someone donated $130. Talk about jaw dropping!
Another distribution avenue is Bandcamp, which allows fans to name their price for your music. While it’s true that some people are stingy ass hats and take the music for free. I would highly suggest having fans sign up on your mailing list in exchange for the download. You should value your music enough to get something in return for it.
One of the best parts of digital distribution is lower overhead and not having to carry inventory. For any artist who has purchased physical CD’s in bulk, I’m sure you have at least a box or two collecting dust. Just click, upload and you’re in business. While digital distribution has its perks, it’s always a good idea to keep a small quantity of physical CD’s on hand. You never know when you will need them. Physical CD’s are essential when you submit your press kit for radio promotion, venue owners, and other important people that you want to make a lasting impression on.