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djfoxyfox
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 7:19 am    Post subject: CD Distribution Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

On the Ambient Way mailing list, I wrote the following:
Quote:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Fox"
To: <the_ambient_way@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Friday, October 31, 2003 10:55 AM
Subject: [the_ambient_way] CD Distribution
> <snip>
> This brings up an important issue. I've dealt with it from one side as a radio show host. I'm now starting to think about it from the other side of the fence as an artist. I think that we would all benefit from discussing how we distribute our product. I'm sure that many of us sell our own product from our own web sites. But beyond that, how do you folks widen your distribution? What distribution channels are available to us individual artists and small record labels?


So far, the only reply worth reading that answered my question came from Lloyd Barde:
Quote:
Backroads Music is a viable referral Source and Mail-order Source for any independent musician or record label. In fact, I believe it is the most attractive and viable Source that exists today.

We offer a number of attractive features and options, and have done so successfully for over 22 years.
I always wonder why other on-line only sites are the place and we are not. Perhaps it is the on-line appeal of impersonal service and point-and-click transactions. But many people do not like to give their credit card #s on line, or order from a place they cannot talk to. And there are millions of ambient music lovers who don't even have computers. That is where we come in!

Anyway, we offer:
a toll-free 800# and knowledgeable friendly service.
a well-written descriptive catalog that is free of charge, with a core of ambient/space/electronic music as well as a full menu of world music, downtempo chillout CDs, chant/vocal/tribal/native/etc/etc. titles numbering around 6000 altogether
secure on-line ordering and a friendly web site with best of the Year features, reviews, special discounts, previously played CDs and LPs, DVDs and more
fair prices that we work out with the artist, rather than inflate and then pretend to discount.
free fulfillment for any label we carry re: credit card orders, individual orders
international shipping into 80 countries worldwide
timely and prompt payments when merchandise is selling, and communication when it isn't
owner-to-owner relationships
a ten-foot tall listening library & drop-in purchasing for those who live in or visit the San Francisco Bay area.

I am sure there is even more, but all of the above is what makes Backroads Music the Source for this music for so many years.

And that is why I don't understand why there is always such fuss through other outlets that don't provide the same, especially friendly and personal service. Try calling Mr. Amazon on the phone or thumbing through a CDNOW Catalog - cause you can't!

If anyone would like to shine a little light why the artists and labels we love would choose to do something other than funnel their business through Backroads, please let me know. I haven't figured it out after all these years, but would love to know!

Our mission since day one:

To support a unique musical industry niche by insuring that music makers (artists and labels) are able to get their music to the public, and music listeners have a source for the music they want.

Thanks!

LLoyd (Mr. Backroads)
Lloyd Barde
c/o Backroads Music...home of the Heartbeats catalog
401-A Tamal Plaza
Corte Madera, CA 94925
phone: 415-924-4848
fax#: 415-924-0648
toll free: 1-800-767-4748
email: lloyd@backroadsmusic.com
url: http://www.backroadsmusic.com


It would be great to see this thread blossom here on electromusic!

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Bill Fox------------------|\-------------
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egw



Joined: Feb 01, 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I responded to Lloyd's post with the following questions:

Quote:
Can you explain what kind of arrangements you have with artists?
How do you decide what to carry?
How do you handle inventory?
Do you buy the CDs at wholesale prices up front, or sell them on consignment?
What sort of financial arrangement do you have with the artist and/or label?


And I got this email from him:
Quote:

Perhaps call me and let me know what your interest is and we can discuss these questions easily.

LLoyd
Lloyd Barde
c/o Backroads Music...home of the Heartbeats catalog
401-A Tamal Plaza
Corte Madera, CA 94925
phone: 415-924-4848
fax#: 415-924-0648
toll free: 1-800-767-4748
email: lloyd@backroadsmusic.com
url: http://www.backroadsmusic.com


So, should we contact him?
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

And.. well.. did you call him? Interesting...
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egw



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I will call him, but I'm not sure exactly where we are headed?
Do we want to get advice about whether we should start a label, i.e. is it necessary? Do we want to find out what the financial arrangements would be for individual independent artists? Do we want to present a united front that we are a collection of artists looking for a distribution deal? If so, who is included? Anyone want to suggest what questions we should ask?
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

righto.. perhaps we should stuff this one into the pending department ?

What we probably would wanna know is the business reality.. like.. costs.. the deals we get.. you know.. all those Qs answered..? Then we can sit down by the drawing board and do some brainstorming?
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djfoxyfox
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

egw wrote:
I will call him, but I'm not sure exactly where we are headed?
Do we want to get advice about whether we should start a label, i.e. is it necessary? Do we want to find out what the financial arrangements would be for individual independent artists? Do we want to present a united front that we are a collection of artists looking for a distribution deal? If so, who is included? Anyone want to suggest what questions we should ask?
I don't think we need to ask Lloyd about starting a label. Electro-music Recordings already exists, if only in our own minds. What we need to know is how to distribute through Backroads. What's the deal. Is it the same for individual artists as it is for indie labels?
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Cyxeris



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You'll be in a better position to dictate terms as a label, a publishing entity, especially if you bring a respectable repertoire and market to the table (which, of course, no individual can do at the level of a consolidation of similar artists). Also, the likelihood that you'll get ripped in overhead is higher as an individual. It really all depends on the level at which you want to distribute. I'm in the process of starting my own label and have been dealing with the same issues myself.

Another consideration is that as an independent label, rather than as independent artists, you can make direct inroads with, say, the iTunes store, and I'm sure Napster2 (which I have not yet researched). With itunes, for example, the label would net $0.64 per download, with virtually no overhead. That is unachievable with CDs through any of the distribution channels I have researched, but "less fun" than printing physical discs. I plan on doing both. Just something to think about.

Cyx

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mosc
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cyxeris wrote:
I'm in the process of starting my own label and have been dealing with the same issues myself.


What would it take to join up with an electro-music label? There are other artists here with similar musical interests. We're all struggleing with this. Would joining up with us make sense for you? Would it bring value that doing your own wouldn't?

I'm thinking of a coop. I don't know how it would be organized though, but I like the concept. I think music lovers would prefer to buy music from a coop of artists, than from an ordinary business operation.

In these forums, we have begun to identify a particular characteristic of electro-music. We are getting close to a definition. Elektro80 used the word movement in a recent post.
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Cyxeris



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think that could be a good idea, especially concerning the pooling of resources. I have seen nothing here that would dissuade me from such a thing.

Incidentally, what I am working to start goes beyond just a label. The idea has been to start the label, and hopefully, based on the merit of my work, finance the other endeavors, which include music software development. But regardless, one can never deny strength in numbers, especially numbers of like minds.

Cyx

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Cyxeris



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 6:07 pm    Post subject: Addendum... Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I am new here, of course, and to some extent am still an outsider, so I don’t mean to be presumptuous or anything, but I am more than happy to share my ideas and insights, for whatever they may or may not be worth. I'm also nothing special, no more than anyone else. I'm just like you guys. I don’t want to give the impression that I am a big wig or anything else that I am not. I am a strong proponent of community and cooperation, so right off, I like the idea of consolidating resources in order to advance our arts, and I am certainly willing to participate if I can help, so long as the focus and the motivation remain the art.

I presume that many of the members here are seriously considering this, which I think is wonderful. I think it's important for everyone to understand and outline what is desired from the establishment of a label. Is it purely for the advantages with regards to distribution? Are there promotional benefits that are desired as well? Potential advantages concerning production? After all, most of the functions of a "label" may not apply to the sort of work we do and the sort of functions such a label would serve here. After all, most of us I think like to produce our own music. I certainly do, at my own cost. One of the things that makes electronic music unique, I feel, is the increased interaction and interdependence between composition, performance, and production. As individual artists in this field, we are already our own publishers to a very large extent. It's somewhat difficult to do what we do and not, in principle, be our own labels.

I have been in active production of my first CD since March of 2002. In approaching hurdles that, at the time, and to this day, I have been unable to overcome, I have begun production of my second CD and preproduction of my third. The first sits at about 95% complete (excluding mastering).

What would probably the most beneficial to everyone is to utilize a consolidation of our resources as individuals and/or individual labels in order to tackle an outline of specific roadblocks. For example, most distributors require UPC codes. UCC membership will run $750 per year and provide 10,000 barcodes, far more than any of us will need. Quite an entry fee for as much as any of us would utilize. What would make sense in that respect would be to pool, say, 10 of us, each contributing $75 and each therefore appropriating 1,000 barcodes each. Let's say the company code, under the moniker of Electro-Music, were 576783. Each of these 10 parties would get a "subsidiary code" of 0-9, and then each would have 1,000 individual product codes. Let's say elektro80 had one, and his subsidiary code were 7. His first release would have a UPC of 57678370001, and so forth. That would be a definite and direct advantage to such a pooled scenario, and the company would come up as "Electro-Music" (or whatever was chosen as the name) through SoundScan, benefiting the namesake.

Other aspects would not be so cleanly divided, but could still benefit greatly from a consolidation of resources. Distribution is only one of several advantages, marketing is another, as would be organizing live events and so forth. There is alot to consider, and it's hard to point out anything that would be a detriment to such a topology. Centralization, perhaps. It would be a serious commitment, of course, but what worthwhile isn't? I have taken in alot of the music that people in this forum have made available, and the degree of talent here is extraordinary. Even within the scope of such a label, there will still be an inclination towards individuals still having a degree of independence.

I don’t know, just a few thoughts on the subject.

Cyx

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cyx, I am reading your latest posts now. Very Happy
And we are very happy that you are with us.
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Man, these are great ideas!

Very Happy
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Cyxeris



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
In these forums, we have begun to identify a particular characteristic of electro-music. We are getting close to a definition. Elektro80 used the word movement in a recent post.


It is a movement, most definately. It takes time for new things to take hold en masse, even in this age. Sometimes there are things that the general public simply aren't ready for yet. I hear techno and heavy metal in tv commercials all the time now. I wouldn't have imagined that sort of thing 15 years ago. For example, the glory of rock and roll has predominately run its course. It has mutated and continues to do so, but even then, doesn't anyone else feel that the majority of the rock and roll era is behind us? Rush is still my favorite group, but when looking forward, I have a hard time seeing anything other than, well, you know... us.

Cyx


Art is either plagiarism or revolution.
-Paul Gauguin

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nothing happens



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

all this "movement" talk is exciting. There's definitely need for one.
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mosc
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm working on a draft of an electro-music manifesto. This will define who we are and our values. A movement is really defined by the actions people take toward a shared vision. I've been reading a lot of manifestos to get the spirt of them. I'll post something relatively soon. Then we can discuss it in public and, if it is worthwhile, we can sign it as individuals.

Nothing Happens, it is exciting. I'm glad you said that.
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Cyxeris



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

So long as the manifesto doesnt make us all a little TOO familiar with things like Patriot Acts and phonetaps and Carnivore and Echelon.

[Cut to shot of US Marshall Samual Gerrard chasing Mosc through the waterways of a dam in outland Illinois]

<snicker>

Some things require a revolution, and Miss Spears isn't helping any.

Cyx


All great truths begin as blasphemies.
- George Bernard Shaw

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mosc
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2003 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cyxeris wrote:
So long as the manifesto doesn't make us all a little TOO familiar with things like Patriot Acts and phonetaps and Carnivore and Echelon.

[Cut to shot of US Marshall samuel Gerrard chasing Mosc through the waterways of a dam in outland Illinois]

Ha... Well, I guess we know things are really bad when the FBI is concerned with electro-music. Laughing Laughing

Seriously, your points about the label are very well made. I think the reason for joining together is clearly to derive strength in recognition, marketing, and distribution. I think publishing is another aspect that benefits from sharing the costs. Things like ASCAP or BMI membership is pretty steep.

You're right; we do our own production, and, for that matter, manufacturing. The label doesn't need to provide that function. I figure a coop is formed by a small group of founders putting in a bit of start-up capital. New members can join by approval of the existing members.

Hmmm. Maybe we need to find someone who already runs a label and is willing to take on such a project.
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2003 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A label has actually ended up as a legal entity which is being used for handling rights and parts of the cash flow. The system is tuned that way at the moment.
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Cyxeris



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2003 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
The label doesn't need to provide that function. I figure a coop is formed by a small group of founders putting in a bit of start-up capital. New members can join by approval of the existing members.

Hmmm. Maybe we need to find someone who already runs a label and is willing to take on such a project.


Well, just some notes regarding the startup-side. I have intended on making my base in Titusville, FL. I grew up in Del Ray Beach and have disliked every other state I have lived in since. I am hoping to be down there perminantly sometime in '05.

In researching the business side of things, a few bennefits to starting a business in Florida were uncovered. For one, the state requires no startup capital to incorporate, the articals of incorporation can be anonymous, they allow single-member LLCs, and they allow out-of-state members. All of which could be of great bennefit.

I think such an entity with such a charter should be as decentralized as possible, but logistically, how decentralized can it really be? I suppose that depends on the duties and functions of the entity.

Perhaps you should start a seperate forum entirely where this is discussed. It really is a huge dialog in the making, and a fairly substantial one.

Cyx

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