Post-release channels for self-produced albums?

Edit: to make this topic more useful for the community I’ve renamed the title. I think it can be in the interest of everybody to discuss what possible channels to distribute one’s music are, once the big step of releasing it has been done.


Original post:

This is actually a little request for help, but I didn’t really know how to title it.

The question, short version: I do have copies left of our self-produced vinyl album and am trying to figure out ways to sell them beyond doing it at live shows and Bandcamp.

long version: I play in a duo called kvsu. In 2015 we self-released an album on vinyl. The idea was to make something so we’d have something for the people asking us if we had something recorded at shows. Sales were ok as long as we played live, but then we had children and we haven’t played much since then (though I’m sure this is just something temporary).
Also – I should add – we naively made a bit too many copies.

So the thing now is, what channels do we have that we could use to get some more of these records into people’s hands and ears? Any suggestions of what I could try?

I’m not going to be much help here I fear. But trades with other bands helped us shift a bunch of CDs and set up a distro at shows we played.

Local record stores were happy to take some copies too, but there was negotiations over their “cut”.

Our record label apparently overpressed (they reckon there are still 500 copies or so in their storage!). Although as it was a punk/DIY release we paid for the studio and the label pressed the CDs and gave us half, so it was a good deal for both of us.

IMHO without some current press or hype not much. Stores likely won’t really want many unless on consignment or something, might be able to get rid of one or two here & there. Some stores & distros have followings and do features & reviews, if they like you that can be a sales generator, but not necessarily that many.

Other than that shows, shows, shows.

edit: not to seem negative! Selling records is like a mini-job. Promote like crazy, get back on the radar, etc.

That is true! Got some really great albums in exchange for ours, so that’s definitely a worthwhile thing to do. Sometimes it might feel a bit awkward though if you have the feeling the other band didn’t like your music much and you try to trade your vinyl with theirs. Definitely needs some

yeah, but honestly, I’m much more interested in getting this out into people’s hands than having it catch dust in my cellar.

Yeah that is my fear as well. and yes as you say it’s a “mini-job” to do the promo. It also needs a strategy. While I agree with Bukowski about there always being time for creation if one is really committed to it and has the inner need to create, finding time for things like promotion is much harder… which is guess is why labels exist in the first place :slight_smile:
But maybe I’m just making excuses…

2 Likes

I’ve renamed the topic, because I think that it’s probably not so useful if the thread here is just about me and our album, but that it could be of general interest to discuss distribution options for self-released music, besides things we already know (Bandcamp, playing gigs).

Also it can be a way to discuss ideas on how to give some new value to old albums. Currently I’m thinking that it could be worthwhile to do 2 things with our old records:

  • do some – for lack of a better word – remixes (or ask some friends to make a remix) of the tracks and add a bonus CD (or download) to the album.
  • experiment with the vinyl by destroying it in various ways and record the outcome (which I’ll def. do), if something interesting comes out of it, these could be included in the “bonus” CD.
3 Likes

How do people here feel about labels? I’ve had really good experiences releasing on small tape/cd labels, and it meant I didn’t have to go through any financial risk to get a physical release.

I played in noisy bands for years, then quit for awhile. A few years ago I turned 40 and realized I had a lot more to say musically so I set up my own recording studio and began making a very different kind of music. Most is guitar-based and (I hate comparing to stuff) sounds influenced by Fennesz, Roy Montgomery, Steven R Smith, Durutti Column, etc, according to friends who’ve heard it.

Long story short - I’m proud of it and would like to generate some interest in it. Unfortunately my personal life is a little complicated at the moment and prevents me from putting in any more time to stuff like marketing and promotion. I work a full-time job and as soon as I get home, I work on writing and recording. But I’m honestly pretty ignorant of how I would, say, attract the attention of a small Bandcamp label except for emailing them demos which I figure they are inundated with.

By all means, getting it onto a label is far less important than continuing to just make music, which has been really therapeutic. But the feedback I’ve gotten from a few critics I know and some college radio play has inspired me to want to see how far I can push it.

So here’s my question: I have 2 new albums ready to go. I’m really happy with them.

Should I:

  • Self-release them on Bandcamp and send the download codes to critics who might write something a label reads?
  • Privately publish them on Bandcamp and send the links to online magazines with a 4-week lead time to possibly review them prior to release?
  • Privately publish them on Bandcamp and send the links to labels before making any of it public?
  • Publicly publish everything as soon as I finish it and just hope it’s discovered somehow?

A friend of mine said one approach would be to keep putting stuff on Bandcamp in the hopes that if one day a label did show interest, they might be open to reissuing an album, for example. But I figure that’s pretty rare.

Any advice here would be great. When I played music in the past, I honestly left so many marketing and promotion decisions to other people in my band. And I didn’t really make all the connections I should have while playing live. Anyway, I’m open to feedback.

4 Likes

Speaking from my own experience I can tell you bullet number 4 won’t get you far.

People will listen but probably not as many as you’d hope. If you do release the albums I would suggest releasing them separately so they you can leverage whatever listenership you have with one for the other.

You might consider putting up snippets of music or videos of your music and process on youtube, Instagram, or another form of social media.

I would also suggest carving out time to play live somewhere.

With my own music stuff that gets the most play is with the Disquiet Junto. There is a built in audience there.

1 Like

Thanks!

Would love to hear from anyone who’s had good luck generating some interest with private links as opposed to releasing and hoping to get label interest that way.