Sunday, December 04, 2005

There's a new record store online and it's called Coming out of Underhill, VT, is dedicated to selling CDs of independent artists from New England.

Here's how it works: if an artist wants to sell their CDs through, they have to fill out a form and send six CDs and a check for $35 to the operators of the site. They will then create a page for your CD, upload three sample tracks and handle the sales transactions. They then keep $4 from every sale and send the rest to the artist. The artist sets the price for the CD.

It's not a bad deal for an artist with a self-released CD or on a label that leaves the promotion of the CD to the artist. You can just create a link off your website to the webpage for your CD on and let them take care of the sales. They don't require exclusive distribution rights and don't ask for any rights to your music. So, if an artist that is selling their CDs through their website doesn't want to deal with PayPal and shipping their own CDs, this isn't a bad deal.

The thing that needs to improve to make this work is traffic to the site. It doesn't seem to be getting much so far. I went through the different genres and only counted about 14 available CDs all together. A CD store with only 14 different records for sale isn't much of a record store. Plus, the music discussion board they've set up doesn't seem to have any activity on it at all. I only found out about the site by seeing a tiny blurb about it in the back of a Vermont business magazine; not exactly their target audience.

One of the promised features of the site is a periodic podcast featuring the latest new artists on the site. However, according to the site, that feature was promised back in September and has not shown up yet. It would be a nice feature and a good way to check out new local artists.

It'll be interesting to follow the site over time and see how it does. Hopefully, it'll work out well for them.


The Contrarian said...

If Big Heavy World will catalog and sell every single artist in VT for FREE, what's the advantage of paying 35 bucks for the service?

And $4 on off the sale of each disc? I knoe the site provides MP3 samples and bandwith, but you can't tell me they have any more traffic than an artist website itself.

These days, bands can make fans at shows, collect them together on MySpace and sell their homemade product directly.

For further examples of grass roots marketing successes, look no further than the jam scene or the Republican Party.

Flatlander said...

casey, I was hoping you'd comment on this one. I didn't know BHW was doing the same service for free. Does BHW handle non-Vermont bands? If not, perhaps this site will do better with artists from other NE states.

I do think their service is worthwhile to bands that don't have time to process the sales themselves. So, that would be an improvement over selling the CDs through their own website or myspace.

The Contrarian said...

Again, one advantage is the MP3 part. BHW doesn't offer that, as far as I know. And they are VT only, as well.

But a MySpace/CD Baby combo would work far better as a publicity tool for working bands.

If you put out a CD and don't do anything savvy to support it, your work will collect virtual dust whatever its online home may be.