Online Sales Info
There has been a lot of discussion recently about how to sell CD's and related merchandise
online. For those artists that want the most $ for their CD, the old-fashioned way does the job best.
Simply give an address on your web site for customers to send a check or money order to. Or,
set up facilities for handling credit cards in house. You would have to handle order fulfillment (S&H).
On the other end of the spectrum is The Orchard. For a one time fee of $40 per title, and
30% per unit sold, The Orchard will handle online credit card processing of your sales as well
as order fulfillment. One important advantage of The Orchard is that they have an exclusive
relationship with Valley Media, the distributor for Amazon, CD Now and many others. If you
go with The Orchard, you will get, in effect, national distribution of your CD, in that your CD will
be available not only through Amazon, CD Now, etc., but can be easily ordered at many, if not most,
record stores in the US. A potential drawback to the Orchard / Amazon online distribution
strategy is that it seems (and I haven't looked closely at the numbers) that the artist
does not get that high of a % after the Orchard and Amazon and S&H are paid. But, I strongly
suggest that you make your CD available through The Orchard, even if you do not make this
your primary online distribution method, as the truly national reach of The Orchard makes
it quite an asset to the artist. Simply follow the instructions on the Orchard site
here where they'll
tell you to send an email to email@example.com after
which you'll fill out an application, then send them $40 and 12 CD's.
A good new middle ground is offered by Audio Kingdom. One advantage to Audio Kingdom is that
the artist can keep a greater % by going through them than the Orchard / Amazon route.
Audio Kingdom asks for $10 up front and takes 25%, which beats the Orchard, and if you're
planning on making most of your online sales through your site, Audio Kingdom offers the best
value. Other advantages of Audio Kingdom include their willingness to customize a
sale page for the artist that recreates the look and feel of the artist's web site, their
ability to do order fulfillment of other products (t-shirts, hats, etc.), and their ability to
create custom CD's and sell MP3's. To sign up with Audio Kingdom,
simply follow the online instructions here.
Also not to be ignored is MP3.com. As they are the giant in the MP3 world, for those of you
who distribute your music in the MP3 format, MP3.com would be a wise choice to investigate.
Conclusions: Do all of those things. For old school customers, provide an address where
customers can send a check or money order (you get the greatest % that way). Send your CD's
to The Orchard, Audio Kingdom and MP3.com. You get the greatest % by making the link on your
page to Audio Kingdom, so do that, but make sure you also do The Orchard and get sales
from affiliate programs like PA Rocks.