Music composition

New album released into the great wide somewhere…

storybookalbum-cover-small

Yesterday I released my new album, Storybook Overture, into the wild, where it can be free and roam the mountains and valleys of magical [monetary] possibilities. It’s on bandcamp here. (You might see that I changed the cover ever so slightly, giving the background a bit of a gradient so it’s not so flat. I’m no great artist.)

At first a bandcamp release was all I had planned for, but on their uploading page they recommended DistroKid (that’s a referral link; you get 7% off, and I get a few bucks!) for getting into digital stores like iTunes, Spotify, Amazon MP3, etc. It looks like DistroKid has been around for a few years, but I had somehow never heard of them. I had used CD Baby for Voyage of the Dream Maker. CD Baby charges you a fee for each album you want to release and takes a small royalty on any income you make, the trade-off being that you never have to pay them again after the album’s set-up fee.

DistroKid, on the other hand, charges you $20 per year (for a single artist), takes no royalty at all, and allows you to upload as many albums as you want in that year. The trade-off here is that if you don’t pay another $20 next year (assuming they don’t bump up the price), your albums might be removed from the online stores. Granted, if you’re not making at least $20 a year from your releases, that’s not much of a loss. And $20 is cheaper than CD Baby’s set-up fee for a single album (and TuneCore’s prices are just awful; I’m not sure why anyone uses them).

So I decided DistroKid would be worth a try, especially since the $20 also allowed me to upload my 2014 EP, A Dream Half Lost, for no extra cost. I also hope to release at least one album in 2017. So I’ll just have to see if I can recoup that $20 within a year… and every year following, I guess, at least until I’m not so broke that it matters. This will mainly depend on people actually buying the album through iTunes or Amazon or wherever; streams make such little money, I’ll be lucky to make a few dollars. For comparison, in the last year I’ve made almost $18 through CD Baby for Voyage of the Dream Maker. That’s one half from one full album purchase and two single track purchases, and the other half from a bunch of little streams. So, if CD Baby didn’t take a small percentage, a year’s worth of revenue might just barely cover my DistroKid cost. Of course, that’s for a six year old album that’s also on bandcamp, so maybe not the best comparison. Point is, at my current level with my sort of music, paying $20 a year is still a significant cost to consider.

Anyway, if you search for them, you’ll find the album is already on iTunes and Amazon! That’s some fast distribution. (Still waiting on Spotify.)

Also, I uploaded the tracks and artwork to CreateSpace to try their CD-R service. Still awaiting approval for now. They’re a bit more expensive than Kunaki, but I think their CD-Rs also look nicer, plus they handle all distribution through Amazon themselves, so no need to worry about that. And anyway, all those expenses are passed on to whomever buys the CD. I think I listed the price at $10.99. If anyone buys the CD through Amazon, my share would only be $1.09. All the rest goes to CreateSpace and Amazon. (CreateSpace is owned by Amazon, but they’re still a separate company, so when you buy through Amazon, Amazon takes a fee on top of CreateSpace’s production costs.) Terrible margins. But better than nothing at all. Anyway, I look forward to seeing how it turns out.

So… that’s that! Feels great to finally have released a new album.

Patreon has helped a lot; knowing there are people out there not just looking forward to new material but willing to actually part with some money to support it has been very encouraging. A huge thank you to my Patreon supporters!

By S P Hannifin, ago
Music composition

A whole lot of Mozart

Mozart!

Yesterday I got my Mozart Edition: Complete Works (170 CD Box Set)
in the mail, a nice box set containing all of Mozart’s work (not including his lost or incomplete works, for contrary to a popular myth, he did not completely compose entire pieces in his head and later write them out).  I’m really excited to have such a collection at my fingertips.  And since most of Mozart’s scores are also available for free at this website, studying his music will now be extremely convenient.  I have to admit, a part of me was expecting this box set to include poor recordings, thus allowing it to be the bargain it is, but the recordings are actually very good quality.  Avid classical music collectors might argue that there are certainly better albums out there with better performances, but such albums can cost $10 to $18 for a single CD, whereas with this box set, each CD is less than $1.  Awesome value!

They also have Bach Edition: Complete Works (155 CD Box Set) and Beethoven Edition: Complete Works (85CD Box Set) and such, and hopefully someday I’ll buy them too, but I had to start out with Mozart.

My first album progress

I also recently finished composing a new piece for my album called Voyage of the Dream Maker.  I uploaded a YouTube video featuring the piece here. It’s my Opus 50!  (By my opus counting at least.)  That brings my album to about 35 minutes of finished music so far (White Castle Waltz, On the Edge of a Dream, The Dragon King, Voyage of the Dream Maker, and an unfinished 15-minute piece), so I’ve got about 25 minutes of music left to compose… and I’ve got some more great melodies I look forward to working with.

The new CD Baby is now up and running, which looks, eh… like it wasn’t worth the trouble of changing (in my opinion).  But their new features might be convenient in the future.  Last I checked, however, their accounting database still isn’t up yet, which is annoying… not that I really need it very soon anyway, as I’m only selling one download…

By S P Hannifin, ago
Music composition

CD Baby changes coming?

Still really enjoying my new laptop.  I recently finally got my music software installed, and have been working on a new piece, which I think is turning out really well.  It is great to be able to compose in high-def, 1920×1200 resolution.  Less scrolling!  And this laptop has 4 GB of RAM, which is great for loading up a bunch of virtual instruments.

Now on to some other news.  As you may know, I have my CD single, White Castle Waltz, for sale on CD Baby.  I’ve recently been notified by CD Baby that my music stinks and they will no longer sell it.  No, just kidding, actually they sent out an email about changes they plan on making to the site very soon.  Like, either tonight or tomorrow.  One of the new features they’re adding is “the ability to sell single-song downloads” with a “music uploader, so you don’t need to send in a CD for your download-only titles.” I’m a bit excited a bit these new features. I’m still working on my album and will definitely sell it as a CD when I have an hour’s worth of new material, but in the meantime I think I’ll soon be able to sell the songs as I finish them, instead of just sitting on them. (Right now I’ve got White Castle, which I’ve already made about $5 off selling the download, On the Edge of a Dream, which isn’t available anywhere, but at least it’s on YouTube, so I suppose one could rip it from there, and The Dragon King, which I don’t have anywhere yet.)

What I might be able to do is offer a discount on my album once it comes out to anybody who had downloaded the MP3s… otherwise it seems a bit silly to buy MP3s only to re-buy the music on a completed album.  Anyway, I’d have to work out the $$$ side of it, since CDs obviously cost money to manufacture…

And hopefully all this attempt at making some $$$ from my music won’t displease anyone too much, since I already give away so much for free… (though I do believe these tracks for my album are among the best I’ve ever composed… though I guess I’m always a bit biased towards my latest composition)

Ok, that’s all.  There is no more.

By S P Hannifin, ago
Music composition

A CD single

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In this blathering, I talk about my experiment of creating a CD singe with kunaki.com.

I also mention my plans to try to get this piece on iTunes and elsewhere with CD Baby.  I’m mostly experimenting with these services because I don’t have the patience to wait until I have an entire album finished before seeing what they’re like.

Finally, I mention Derek Sivers’ website, more specifically his music advice page.  There’s a lot of good information there for any maker of music.

Oh yeah, here’s the kunaki product page for the CD.

By S P Hannifin, ago