DIY Album

All about money.

We setted up the release day for… the day after tomorrow, which means, within 2 days. In a way, we’ll be happy to be Sunday !

As we already mentioned, after long discussions, we decided to sell it for 12 euros (that’s about $15.50), including shipping costs… But what is “a” right price ?

The question is more complex than it looks at first sight. When we searched around the web, some advices were not to sell it for more than established artists. We’re not established artists. When we refer to French albums’ prices, it doesn’t seem to function that way, at least for physical CDs. Music produced by small labels tend to be much more expensive (too expensive? we’re talking about at least 20€ / $25) than mainstream records.

Where does the value of the music we play come from ? Is it about the value we think it has ? Is it about the value other people would give to it ?

show me the money - how much should we sell our diy album ?
Show me the money

We’re not planning to really earn any money directly from the sales, even if we hope our music would spread enough to get more venues. Still, we have to get at least a part of the money we invested to get it manufactured, and anyone can guess that for small quantities like ours, it gets the price per CD much higher. We’re far from talking about refunding the rest of the material, not mentioning any salary.

show me the money - how much should we sell our diy album ? 12

So far, we questioned as many people as we could about the price, and although we didn’t get any “that’s really too expensive for a self-produced album”. We could have chosen a “pay what you want” option. We could. Maybe we don’t feel yet confident enough in the value people would give to our music ? In a way we also consider that people are not only “buying” a CD from us, they’re supporting our project on a much longer term.

If you really think “that’s really too expensive”, let us know why…

§ Simone

DIY Album

To sell or not to sell ?

So, yes, things are on their way, which means :

  • all the CDs are now in our hands
  • we’re still waiting for our bank’s authorization to use PayPal so that we can start… well… selling this album !
  • we started to send our album to a couple of journalists that may write reviews about it

The PayPal part is indeed tricky, much more than we would have expected it. As we’re WordPress blog users, technically we shouldn’t be using it for commercial purposes. And technically we won’t really, since in French law, our album is produced by a non profit organisation (called association loi 1901), that we declared to the authorities. The main advantage is that we’re out of the scope of VAT, which makes it makes it more flexible and easy than a company. As long as there’s no financial benefit (and for now we don’t think there would be), we may “sell” some “products” to cover the expenses. Which is… exactly the case.

donate or sell ?

To go back to WordPress and PayPal, they’ll only consider it as a sell. And PayPal “pay” button isn’t compatible with the blog itself. Only a “donation” would be. So… we’re trying to brainstorm and think about something that could easily work… Any idea is welcome…

§ Simone

DIY Album

Difficult choices

1 Comment

Yesterday wasn’t our best day. We found out the company we had chosen to press our album was in reality located in China. We only realised it when we asked for the legal info that we have to send to authorities in France (which includes the manufacturing place).

So what ? For many reasons, starting from human rights to social or environmental concerns, we just can’t imagine getting our album made in China. We strongly believe that local production (in our case at least in a close European country) is a way to support our economy, jobs, society… even if it will mean in our case an extra of maybe 10% on the total price.

unemployed 1932 1929
Unemployed – (image source)

So right now… we’re searching again for companies that really do manufacture in Europe. With the best prices possible, of course.

§ Simone

DIY Album

Just do it…

Although we both already had some experience in recording music, when we thought that our best option at the moment would be to self produce our album, we weren’t really prepared for the amount of work awaiting us.

Our first self-produced record was not a full album, but more a kind of EP, 32 min music, in a simple sleeve package since we intended also to use it for promotion. Although we produced/edited/distributed this record, we could afford for a studio for 2 days + 1 day for mixing. Our flute player took care of setting up some graphics for the cover. The music was quite simple to record, only vocal, flute and guitar. So was the mixing. And the music structures we were using were quite straightforward.

Then, we recorded with other projects, we had not much to do but to practice to get ready, show up on time, record. Not that we were earning money or even get paid for those projects, but at least, we add the feeling we were *musicians*.

astrakan project DIY album mixing at home


With Astrakan Project, things are slightly different. For the first time, we’re talking about producing by-ourselves a full album, but also not without enough money to pay for the normal usual expected things… studio, sound engineer, graphic artist,… Many things are a question of money. Not only, but still. Not enough money means that we could afford for one or two days in a studio, but that this amount of time would never be enough to get the music we had in our heads.

From this objective assessment, we deduced that we had two options. (1) wait to have the financial support of an hypothetical label that would invest in our project (2) do as many things by ourselves as we could, whatever the time it may take, whatever we would have to learn on the way.

You all know by now that we choose the second option. And the truth is… we don’t have any regrets. Not only do we still feel like we are *musicians*, but we have another relation with “making music” that we’d never expected. We realise that by mixing ourselves, we are adding our personal spirit to the mix; by making our own covers from zero, any detail will add *a little something* to the music that will be heard afterwards. But… we still might need some holidays after that !