How to Sell 10,000 CD’s Next Year (or Still Make Money If You Don’t)

The 2006 DIY Convention asked a panel of label people, marketers and artists how to reach an attainable level of sales success that will allow you to make a living…

D.I.Y Convention Los Angeles 2006
How to Sell 10,000 CD’s Next Year or Still Make Money if You Don’t

CH: Celia Hirschman, KCRW
BB: Bob Bernstein, Little Dog Records
JS: Jeff Semones, m80 interactive
JM: Joey Muran, m80 interactive
PK: Pete Kronowitz, Intel
MR: Michelle Roberts, Musicane

XX: I spend about untold numbers of hours per day, doing the PR for a lot of artists, and if I were to describe my clientele there would be an emphasis on edgy singer/songwriters. You might hear them on KCRW or in a Roots Americana thing.
Among my clients are double Grammy nominee, Rodney Krall, Hank Williams III, Michelle Shock, Peter Himmelman, Bobby Bear, Stan Ridgeway, and on and on. They are mostly all Texas people, but also a lot of blues and roots.
I’m from Chicago and my whole upbringing was Roots music. Prior to doing this I was vice president for publicity at such labels like Capital and IRS. I moved out here from Chicago in the 80’s to work for IRS at the time that they were breaking R.E.M and it was very exciting. That was how I cut my publicity teeth and I guess that’s that.

CH: I’m Celia Hirschman and I run a couple of companies. I have a company in New York City called Downtown Marketing. I am also the managing director for North America for the British label One Little Indian. The artists on that label include the Twilight Singers with Greg Dooley, who was previously with the Afghan Wigs, Lloyd Cole, Bjork, Sigur Ros, and then I am also hired through my marketing company by artists, labels, and trade organizations to help them build their businesses. I also have a weekly radio show on KCRW about the music business called On the Beat.

PK: I’m Pete Kronowit. I wear 2 hats and it’s kind of odd to talk about the second hat that I work with. My day job is at Intel, I have been at Intel for 10 years, and I help to strategic planning around software. Looking at the whole software industry, where there is a potential for free software to lower the total solution costs, and it has a broad number of tools that people use to create content. My passion, my second hat, has to do with the fact that I am a singer/songwriter and I have been doing that for 20 years. I have 3 CDs and I have worked with some great producers. I have spent 3 years in the marketing creation for it, which is a website, and it’s a framework where I can manage all of my content. Songs are often about stories and my stories are represented on my website. They are represented not just with the lyrics, which not that many people do, but with the written stories behind them, all of the credits are there for the people who played on the songs, and also have room for as many videos as I want to post. The framework is represented in a very graphical way, it’s kind of cool, it’s a flash photo album, and I can not only host my content but I can represent other artists that I think are important. I start out with me, but over time I have other artists there that I like and it doesn’t have to be just music, because the way that we are expressing ourselves isn’t limited to music anymore. That is what is so cool about this thing.

MR: My name is Michelle Robertson and I am one of the founders of MP3.com. I started doing guerrilla style marketing on the Internet in 1997, so I would say that I can hopefully answer any questions that you have about that today, and we can just go over what worked, what didn’t work, and what some good formulas are. Of course MP3.com isn’t around anymore, but I am working with a company called Musicane, and I just started with them. It’s a pretty exciting venture because what we do is create the ability for artists to sell downloads on their own site, you don’t have to charge a ton of money, and you get to keep 70% of what you sell as a sale price.
Unlike having to go through an aggregator where someone goes to their store to buy your music, you can suddenly get lost, you’ve lost your fan, but you can keep them on your site with our super easy system that’s easy to integrate into your own existing website.

BH: Well let’s start off with some questions. What is the difference between someone who sells 10,000 CDs and someone who does not sell very many? Any ideas? Carrie?