Deciding how to release the albums.

A lot of thought has gone into exactly how Relaxed Machinery will release it’s albums.   My personal opinion is most people are interested in downloads now.  I’ve switched over to an iPod and primarily buy downloads myself.  And my time at AtmoWorks showed that the majority of listeners were buying the downloads and not the cdr’s.  Some albums were 5 downloads for every 1 cdr, and some were as high as 10 downloads for every 1 cdr.   

Regardless, I still love physical discs, and I know some listeners are still very keen on getting cdr’s vs. downloads.   So I’ve set up a wonderful arrangement with Hypnos ( ) to have them manufacture and sell cdr’s for Relaxed Machinery.   Between 10-20% of AtmoWorks customers still buy cdr’s – I don’t want to block those people out from our releases!  And if you’ve bought an AtmoWorks cdr… it was made and shipped by Hypnos.  (And while I’m mentioning them – they’re an extremely high quality label and well worth checking into their catalog…)

So, now that I’d decided that downloads were going to be the primary way of releasing Relaxed Machinery albums… how to do it?   I spent a long time researching the various ways of getting an album into iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody, Amazon, etc…  (In fact, I’d been researching this topic for a long time prior to leaving AtmoWorks…)  There are many, many ways to get your music out there, but I narrowed it down to three major players that I was comfortable working with and will get our albums into the “major” download stores:  CD Baby, Tunecore, and Reverb Nation.

So after a lot of comparing, I chose CD Baby.   Several key reasons:

+ They allow our artists to maintain their own store on CD Baby’s site – and if you buy directly from that store – the artist makes a little more than off of a sale through iTunes or Amazon.  

+ CD Baby charges a percent of every sale ongoing – but doesn’t have a yearly recurring fee, which both Tunecore and Reverb Nation have yearly fees per album.

+ CD Baby has been a huge help for independent artists and labels for many years.

As always, thanks for reading and feel free to ask questions or comment!


p.s.  Quick rundown of numbers (rounded) for those interested…  at the time of all my research which was late summer/fall of 2009:

CD Baby – Charges $35 per album to setup and $20 for the barcode = $55.00 total setup.   They take 9% off the top of profits from the major stores.   No yearly recurring fees.

Tunecore – Initial costs vary greatly depending on where you want to put your album out for sale.  But my estimates were putting it close to $40-50 per album initial setup with a $20 yearly recurring fee.   They give 100% of all profits to the artist/label.

Reverb Nation – Also great services – and the only service with a ton of “widgets” (more on that in a future blog) which I’ll be using for Relaxed Machinery.   $35.00 per year per album.