Let Your Old Music Make Money for You

January 7, 2008

Most indie bands would love to be able to add a passive revenue stream to their work. Why not do that with your old music? As a fan of indie music, I occasionally get frustrated when I come across an accomplished indie band, and I can’t find anything but their current material available. I always try to get a feel for the band’s roots, and how they’ve developed. You can make it easier on your fans by keeping your old work available, and can bring some extra money into the band by keeping old CDs for sale. It’s a win-win situation really. But the cost of continuing to mass-produce your own CDs would make it unrealistic for most bands. The solution? POD (print-on-demand) publishers like Lulu.com and CafePress.com, who create your CDs only when an order is made, provide an online store, process the orders for you, and ship the CDs. My favorite is Lulu.com, so here’s how they work:

First of all, let me say that while I’d recommend Lulu.com as a way to archive and continue selling your older CDs, it’s probably not the best option for your latest work. Here are the cons:

  • CD printing is affixed with a label, not printed directly on the CD.
  • I’m making the assumption (didn’t get an answer when I asked) that the CDs are burned, since they’re made on a short-run basis.
  • Lulu.com currently doesn’t offer UPCs for the CDs.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are some of the benefits of using Lulu.com:

  • You just upload your files and artwork once, and you don’t have to do any more work.
  • CD prices start at $5.50. You just set your price above that, and collect the difference. (If you sell the CD online for $8, you receive $2.50 for each sale). Packaging, shipping, customer service, orders and payment processing are all included in the base price.
  • Your old music can continue to work for you, and your fans will have access to more of your music.
  • You can make a few tracks free downloads (if you give them away for free, Lulu will host them free for you), so fans can preview the CD before buying it.
  • If you’d like to be able to sell your music, but don’t want to sell the old CDs, you can set prices on each track for download. Just upload them to Lulu.com, and they keep a small portion of the download rate that you set.
  • You also have the option of selling DVDs through their print-on-demand service, so you can add yet another passive revenue stream by selling videos of your live performances, or music videos.

For more information about selling your CDs through Lulu.com, read their CD & DVD FAQ.


Jennifer Mattern - EditorThis article was written by Jennifer Mattern, founder and Editor of AudioXposure.com. To learn more about Jenn, please visit JH Mattern Communications.

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