People are willing to buy online music via PayPal from your website.
Not all of these people are my mom. Or actually people I know. This is encouraging.
Not having a label or distributor means the music goes directly into my PayPal account. No quarterly reports, no sending my boys to the label accounting office with shotguns and slide rulers to make sure I’m getting my full 6.7% of wholesale revenue. Which brings me to…
I’m getting roughly 95% of the revenue for the album, minus PayPal’s cut. This means that I have now earned more from album sales than, say, U2 did until at least The Unforgettable Fire and possibly Pop. (That was a joke. U2 probably got royalty checks after War.)
If you keep 95% of your revenue, and ten people buy your album at $9.99 every day, it’s entirely feasible for you to actually do this for a living. (Assuming you have more than ten friends, and that new people keep buying your album, and that you also keep making new things for people to buy.)
Uploading MP3s to every possible site whose URL ends in .fm is exhausting.
Promoting via Twitter and Facebook seems to work fairly well, but I’m not sure it’s enough.
Magazines want physical copies of your CD to review. I suspect that sending them a burned CD in a paper sleeve with the words ‘REVIEW THIS, MOTHERFUCKER’ is probably not a way to gain their positive attention. Therefore, I’m probably going to burn a hundred or so to a) sell to people who don’t buy music online, b) send to reviewers, and c) sell at any live shows.
Even people you know, by and large, don’t mind paying for the album you spent hundred of hours over several years and made them listen to rough mixes of and bored them to tears talking about. This is quite wonderful to discover.
Some of the people you know will swear they’ll buy the album the second it comes out, right up to the second it comes out. Then they will not buy it. Not everybody is sitting around waiting with bated breath to buy your album. It might take some of them a few days, or a week, or a month. Some of them won’t buy it at all. Do not take this personally.
Publications are also not waiting with bated breath for your self-produced, self-released album to come out so that they can write rapturous reviews of it and make you rich. You have to put together a press release, press photos, etc.
I can’t figure out a way to do press photos of myself without actually being in them. So I’m either going to do a lot of speed for a month or find a photographer who knows how to hide chub from the lens.
Buying a cup of coffee and a Buffy The Vampire Slayer comic with money you’ve earned from selling your album is one of the best feelings ever.