In the wake of the first anniversary of Radiohead’s industry-rocking decision to distribute its album “In Rainbows” directly to fans, interest in DIY sales strategies is greater than ever before.
While other artists had previously experimented with the direct-to-fan model in place of more traditional label distribution, none made as big a splash or garnered as much attention as Radiohead.
But it’s worth recalling that even the brainy band from Oxford, England, ran into problems in its first attempt at direct distribution, hampered by an unwieldy online order form, servers that were overwhelmed by demand and download glitches.
Following are tips on how to improve on the groundwork that Thom Yorke and company laid one year ago.
Choosing A Vendor
Don’t go it alone. There are a number of companies out there that specialize in helping artists sell directly to fans. Yes, you have to pay them-either a flat fee or revenue percentage-but the piece of mind and ease of use is worth the nominal fees. Services like TuneCore, CDBaby and ReverbNation place clients’ music on such digital retail services as Apple’s iTunes store, Amazon, Rhapsody and eMusic. Other vendors allow clients to sell directly from their own Web sites, such as the newly launched Topspin.
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