Service offers artists and labels per-order manufacturing.
Amazon.com subsidiary CustomFlix Labs today (Sept. 19) launched an on-demand CD manufacturing service. Similar to the company's DVD offerings, CustomFlix will target unsigned artists and independent labels, offering placement on Amazon.com for a flat-fee and a percentage of each sale.
Musicians and labels will be charged an initial $50 fee per CD, says Darren Giles, co-founder and chief technologist of CustomFlix. The content owner will set the price of the CD, which will only be manufactured when a purchase is made.
CustomFlix will take a per-unit fee ranging from $4.95 to $7.95, which is based on the volume of CDs sold per month. Those who sell between one and 19 CDs will be charged $7.95; those who move between 20 and 49 copies will be charged $5.95; and those who move more than 50 units will be charged $4.95.
"Our initial focus is on the independent musician, but we're absolutely open to working with labels," Giles says. "The musician sends us one copy of their master, and we take care of everything from that point on. We make it really easy to make it for sale on Amazon.com."
Giles says CustomFlix will also reach out to major labels, hoping to secure out-of-print content for CustomFlix. "I think this really addresses back catalog content," he says. "There's a tremendous amount of music out there you can't buy anymore. One of the huge advantages of the on-demand production model is it never goes out of print."
Albums will be searchable in the Amazon.com database, and Giles hints that there may be future promotions on the site, but he is vague on details. CDs will be manufactured with a four-page color insert, and will support multiple audio formats, including CD, DVD-Video, and WMV-HD DVD. Support for HD DVD and Blu-Ray will be added in the future, according to a statement from CustomFlix.
As an instant competitor to DIY-sites such as CDBaby, the Amazon-affiliated service could eventually become a sort of one-stop-shop for unsigned artists. Acts that use CDBaby have access to distributors and iTunes, and while Giles declines to name names, he says there will be future deals announced for CustomFlix.
"We're not telling artists they only have to do this, but we actually do have a number of other companies that we have some exciting things in the works with," he says.