Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I have had the joy and honor of recording, producing, manufacturing, distributing, and promoting music recordings, from cassette tapes to CDs, for several years now.
Many things have been learned as I promoted Str8 Sounds, my old band Camouflage Danse, and such clients as The Skabs, Vava Vol, Ritualistic School of Errors, The Kick Me's, and many more, with more clients accumulating.
Here are some of my more recent conclusions and observations.
(1) CD front cover art should include the title of the CD and the artist name.
(2) CD back cover art should include numbered track listings with time durations. Numbering the tracks helps those who are hearing a good song and want to know which song is playing at that moment.
Also include the relevant URLs (MySpace Music page, artist blog, CD Baby) and contact information (email address and land address)...on the back or in the inserts).
(3) Never substitute non-text artwork or corporate hype about the band on the back CD cover, unless you're trying to be obscure, difficult, and anti-fan. For some avant garde artists, mystery is desired, they don't want to be user-friendly.
The album "Hillulah" by Gang Gang Dance is a good example of what not to do with your CD cover art. I'm not slamming this band, I love them, but they goofed on this point, if they seek maximum sales.
If you desire popularity and record sales, you must think "What would a fan want to know about us, in buying this record and in perusing it as they listen to the music on it?"
Stories on CD back covers don't sell records. Interesting song titles do!
(4) Doing a parody of another artist's CD art will not be seen as such. Most fans will not "get it". They'll just think the art is your idea, or they'll think you ripped off the other artist because you couldn't think of anything else to do.
(5) Don't begin your CD with a poem. If you must have a little recited poem on your album, shove it to the end so people can skip it if they want. A poem at the start of a rock album will slow down the listening pleasure, for most folks don't like poetry even with guitars rambling around aimlessly in the background.
(6) If you want your CD to sell, you must get out and play gigs in real world venues. Your record label president will be angry if you're a lazy slacker who fears audience critique!
(7) Be sure to have more than just the old limit of 6 tunes on your MySpace Music player. Since artists can now have 10 songs, fill 'er up! It shows you're proud of your music and you want to share it with fans.
(8) Keep adding fresh photos, video, and songs to your MySpace Music page. To let it sit with no changes may imply to music lovers that the band has broken up, or is stagnating and not doing anything new.
(9) Get up off your butt and interact with other MySpace Music artists. Post sincere and specific comments on their pages. Send out Friend Requests. Your record label president won't like it if you're lazy here too. How much can he put up with?
(10) If you want to be the Flagship Band of Honor for your record label, you can't disobey your record label president and fool around with shit that hurts, or does not help, record sales. Do some local shows and promotions, but concentrate more on iTunes, CD Baby, and touring to support the album.
If you refuse to tour, you're saying you're lazy or you are insecure about the musicianship and relevance of your own music!
It's just another slap in the face to your record label president.
(11) Be careful about joking around about being apathetic, or not caring about anybody's opinion, or wanting people to hate you. Again, if you emphasize this "bad boy" attitude, and your records don't sell, your record label president will want to have a few words with you.
(12) Band feuds DO NOT sell records. People will just think you're being petty, jealous, or hiding the fact that you suck as much as your enemy does. Bashing other artists may get some attention for Already Famous Bands and hip hop artists in particular. But for obscure, small label bands, it's a suicidal policy.