If you haven’t visited the Disc Makers YouTube Channel recently, you may have missed a new series of videos, called “The Indie Music Minute,” featuring our own Tony van Veen (CEO of Disc Makers) distributing bite-sized nuggets of actionable information and ideas to help you make the most of your career as an indie music artist. Below are three of the videos — but make sure you head to our YouTube Channel for more … and keep checking back, because there’s more to come!
Have you ever been at a gig, and you have CDs for sale, and a fan tells you, “You know what, I don’t have a CD player?” Well, we have a perfect solution. It’s called the USB music card. It’s actually a USB stick, but it’s bigger, so we can print your album art right on it. Your fans can stick these in the USB drive of any computer, or in their car, and play your music. But they don’t just hold music, USB cards can hold multiple albums’ worth of music, video, photographs, PDF documents… whatever you want. We print these right here in our factory in Pennsauken, NJ, and when we’re done printing them, we take the cards and load the data you provide us — your videos, music, etc. — and you have a great item to sell at your gig table.
Should you put out a single, an album, or both?
Over the last few decades, the music industry has changed a lot. We went from an industry of singles, back in the ’60s and ’70s, to an industry of albums in the ’80s and ’90s. Then iTunes came around and broke the album apart and turned the industry back into an industry of singles. That has continued in the era of streaming — certainly a lot of artists digitally release singles to build a fan base and keep fans engaged, and we highly recommend that. But one of the beauties of the streaming marketplace is, when you discover a single you like on a playlist, it’s so easy to click through to the album. That allows the listener to discover more of your work. So, one of the positives of the streaming economy is a return to an era of making albums. By all means, use singles digitally, but when you have enough songs, create an album and put it out digitally and on CD and vinyl.
UPC and IRSC codes
UPC and ISRC… what is this alphabet soup? They’re two kinds of codes that help retailers identify your music when it’s sold, downloaded, or streamed.
A UPC code is the old-fashioned barcode — a 12-digit code that gets printed on the back of your CD. Every release, whether it’s physical or digital, needs a UPC code. An album needs a UPC code and a digital single needs one too. You can buy a UPC code directly through the Uniform Code Council, or to make it easy, you can get a unique UPC code through Disc Makers for your next release.
An ISRC code is a digital code that gets embedded with every song on your disc and with every song you release and distribute digitally to download and streaming sites. This helps track the individual usage, the plays, and the streams for every individual song.
UPC and ISRC codes are used by retailers in their accounting systems to know who to pay royalties to and who to pay for sales of your product. You can get both of these codes through Disc Makers; you just have to ask for them.
Should your next music release be an EP or an album?
Why indie musicians make CDs [Infographic]
Planning your album: your CD release (and post-release)
Selling your music on USB drives: Tips from I Fight Dragons’ Brian Mazzaferri
Is it time to sell your music on USB drives?