Author Topic: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?  (Read 4357 times)

drone on

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How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« on: May 07, 2012, 01:06:53 PM »
I know this has been brought up before, but:

I buy a lot of music, and still greatly prefer replicated CD's, which do not deteriorate over time, to duplicated CDR's, which are not 100% reliable.  With most labels moving away from using the "sticky labels" now, CDR's going bad isn't as big of a problem anymore.  But there's still the concern...

Since I prefer replicated CD's, I tend to buy them much more frequently.  And due to the high volume of artists/labels I regularly support, CDR releases by obscure and lesser known artists get placed way down on my "want list" usually.  Because the artists are obscure and the releases are on "second-choice" media, I am also not willing to shell out the same amount of cash as the more established artists' releases on standard CD. 

Bottom line: I think $10 is reasonable for these type of releases.  And labels like Hypnos Secret Sounds and Relaxed Machinery are making it fair and feasible to collect more music.  However, when I see 2-CDR sets that sell for $19.99 when the single discs are $9.99, I don't think that's reasonable, or single disc CDR releases going for $13.99, $14.99, etc.  Also, when I see a CDR release selling for $12.99 or $13.99 at the Hypnos store or CDBaby, but I can get it on iTunes for $9.99, I'll get it from iTunes.  To me a paper insert and slimcase isn't worth the extra dough (plus add on shipping).  I admit I did spend about $25 on the new limited Aglaia, but I didn't realize you could download it.  Had I known that, I probably wouldn't have spent the $$.   

I guess it may not be a concern for those who are not CD addicts and are more economical about their music purchasing, but I'm more apt to buy music when I think I'm getting a good deal.  Does anyone else feel this way?

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2012, 01:47:31 PM »
I think most people agree CDs are preferable to CDRs when possible, and cheaper prices make a person more likely to buy the music.

We sell CDR releases on the Hypnos store in addition to our own items, and I always try to convince artists & labels who release CDRs that customers don't perceive a CDR release (especially in minimal packaging) to be worth as much as a pressed CD in a nicer package. To me it's obvious - a replicated disc in a digipak or full jewel case with booklet & tray card is "nicer" than a burned disc in a slimline case with a booklet only. I've had plenty of arguments with people who felt their flimsy self-made CDR was worth $15.99 retail, but it seems customers agree with me. When we've tried to sell CDRs for $14.99 or $15.99, it's almost impossible to sell them. At $9.99, they sell pretty well.

I understand people don't like the $19.99 double CDR deal with Relaxed Machinery releases but due to the nature of our arrangement, and that fact that you really are getting two separate single discs bundled together, that's really the only way we can do it. If we were set up to package a double-CDR in a single case (we're not) or if the artists were inclined to take 1 CD worth of royalties for their double-length recording (they're not), it might be different. Having said that, the recent 2CDR releases on Relaxed Machinery have sold roughly as well as 1CDR releases by the same artists.
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APK

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2012, 05:40:08 PM »
Yep, this issue comes up once a year or so, like clockwork. I'll say my usual spiel again.

I think we'd all release replicated CDs if it were cost effective to do so. Replicated Cds are actually cheaper per unit than a good CDR release. You pay a company a load of money and they simply send you back 500  or 1000 finished releases. Works out to be little work and a very good deal per album ... if you actually manage to sell all of them. Especially as people will usually pay more for a pressed release over a CDR. But if you are only selling a 100 or so of a release and have the rest gathering dust then it is simply not so cost effective. You can struggle to break even. Which means neither the label nor the artist makes any money off the release.

A CDR (and I'm only speaking about a well-produced one) not only has higher costs for each part (disk paper printing case ink packaging) but if done in-house takes time, and quite a lot of time to produce and put together. Time that cannot be built in to the cost of the finished product without it simply costing too much. (At DataObscura, for example, every album is hand produced.) So expecting a CDR to be just a cheap imitation of a replicated album is really not seeing what is involved. It can be quite a bit more labor intensive, and more expensive to produce.

Of course, not all CDR releases are of the same quality. But neither are replicated releases. And lets not get into the quality of the actual music they put on these things  :o
« Last Edit: May 07, 2012, 05:41:54 PM by APK »
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APK

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2012, 05:47:19 PM »
Addendum.

Wanting albums to be cheaper is natural for a consumer, but wanting them to be cheap is another matter. It devalues them.

My view is that people should be seriously complaining about the rising cost of downloads, not the current fairly low cost of physical albums.

Downloads, for a label, are a "put up once then forget" entity. They are a serious automated money maker and should not be costing near-CD prices.
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richardgurtler

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2012, 03:12:26 AM »
Hi guys,

yes, that's true, this topic keeps on returning, but I don't care when it can bring some new ideas or improvements based on these discussions, when fans, artists and label/mail-order owners are involved.

My point of view as of a big collector of physical CDs was already presented several times on this forum. And I will repeat again and again, when it comes to a physical product, it should be presented as "all-inclusive" package, to me I will always see each physical product as piece of art. At some point I can accept even a CDr release, but it definitely has to come with more attractive packaging. And the slim jewel case it's at very end of the attractiveness, at least to me. Yes, it probably saves your space on shelter, but I don't care about that if I can't locate it without the spine... I have maybe around 30-40 of these slim jewel case CDR editions in my collection, but there are still many good releases available on this format that I don't buy beacuse of this packaging. Just like "Drone on" said, they somehow slip to the bottom of my want list. I like the music, but I am simply unable to accept this packaging. I think it ruins the music or devaluate, as mentioned by Anthony. Maybe my words are hard, and yes, I understand, the CD sales are very low during these times, however I think this product has much lower chance to be picked up by some other, even small distros/mail-orders. There are many of them across the globe trying hard to spread the music they love and survive. No matter how difficult are the economics during these days, I would never go this way as a label or artist. Well, I am not in their shoes, if I would be, maybe my view might be different, but I hope not!!!

Speaking about CDR editions with slim jewel cases, there are still some other choices, for me much more attractive. For example slim poly case with a full wrap-around insert, printed on both sides, with a spine, as used by Anthony and his DataObscura label. Or the older type of slim jewel case with spine, used by Databloem's Practising Nature or Bluebox editions. Yes, I understand the later is not easy to buy and replace when it arrives broken during the shipping.

10,00 USD for CDR in slim jewel case or 15,00 USD for CD (CDR is acceptable too) in digipak, eco wallet, standard jewel case... My choice is definitely 15,00 USD. Yes, I understand, maybe there are many people who rather prefer cheaper product and don't pay any attention or pay less attention to packaging, 100 people, 100 tastes, however, this is my point of view. I think we are here quite strong community on Hypnos (or Relaxed Machinery), no matter if artists, labels, small distros, reviewers, radios, fans..., so why not to search for the best solutions that will evaluate physical products. I am quite sure there are some printing plants that are able to offer good or acceptable prices for smaller runs of 100, 200 or 300 copies with nice packagings. There are labels and artists going and using this way. So therefore they have some experiences that might be shared with other artists or labels searching for these choices, hopefully these helpful infos would be not "top secret"...

I agree with "Drone on", paying 10,00 USD for download instead of 10,00 to 13,00 USD plus shipping for CDR edition in slim jewel case, is much more reasonable. Bad luck for me, I don't buy any downloads, only physical products...:-( However, I think 10,00 USD per download is too much when comparing to physical product.

Please don't get me wrong, I didn't want to sound bad about these packagings, my big thanks and deep respect go to all those labels and artists releasing CDR editions with slim jewel cases, I know they work very hard, but the bottom line is that I am simply unable to identify with these products.

Keep on enjoying great music!!!

Richard

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2012, 07:12:22 AM »
First off let me say... Richard, you're awesome, and I value your opinions.  You truly are a treasure to the ambient community because of your devotion to the music and to purchasing what you love.

Thanks for asking, drone on...

Thank you for your kind comments about Relaxed Machinery.   Yes - we have a (frankly WONDERFUL) arrangement with Hypnos where Mike and Lena make the CDR's, print the inserts, stock, sell, and ship... and then they pay the artists directly.  You probably remember that rM is all about the artists getting all the sales from their albums possible...  I take myself out of the payment loop.

So our arrangement with Hypnos is to do single CDR's and if an artist wants to do 2 CDR it's more like 2 separate releases... together. 

Could we change that someday?  Maybe - there's an ease of process by sticking with the same jewel case... same process.  My goal is to always make it as easy as possible.  It's worth thinking about.

« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 07:19:06 AM by jkn »
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drone on

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2012, 10:07:48 AM »
That is a good point about the demand for an album.  I guess you would not want to press 200 or 300 CD's if you think only approximately 100 will sell.  I often forget about this component of the equation.   :-[

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2012, 10:30:34 AM »
It's something people often fail to take into account when they're saying what music "should" cost, or what format it should be released in.

If you know you're going to sell 20,000 copies, then special packaging is a reasonable option, because getting some kind of cool slipcase custom made in those quantities only works out to nickels or dimes per copy. If you're going to sell 500 copies, custom-made packaging works out to several DOLLARS per copy. Maybe that works, but probably not.

Same thing goes with the CD versus CDR question. If you know you'll sell hundreds, then getting CDs manufactured is cheaper and easier. If you're not sure about selling 100, then small-batch CDRs are the only way you have any hope of breaking even.
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APK

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2012, 10:32:10 AM »
And a minimum pressing run is (or was last I looked) 500. 
Sure, you can do a 300 pressing if you want, but you are still going to pay for a run of 500.
Which is why pressing an album if you don't expect to sell more than 100 is simply not economical.
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mgriffin

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2012, 10:38:47 AM »
That's something people don't understand about pressing quantities.

Here's a rough idea what it costs for different quantities of manufactured CDs. This is just the bare-minimum version of CD pressing - include your own artwork and design, do your own mastering, provide everything to the manufacturer ready to go, and don't include any special options or extras.

1,000 CDs - $1,200 ($1.20 each)
500 CDs - $1,100 ($2.20 each)
300 CDs - $1,000 ($3.30 each)

There is no quantity option for manufactured CDs below 300 because it just wouldn't make any sense. If you continue this price curve down to, say, 150 CDs, it would cost $900 or about $6 each. Who would do that, when you could get 150 CDRs for maybe $300 (less than 1/3 the unit cost)?

It's just like ordering popcorn at the movies. Maybe you don't NEED the extra large, but if you're already paying $7 for the medium, then $7.50 for the large or $8 for the extra-large seem like a bargain. It's tempting to buy more than you need because the each-price is so much lower. But if you never sell most of them, you're better off buying the lower quantity even if the each-price is higher.

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APK

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2012, 11:21:16 AM »
And although the cost per CD for buying 300 is just $3.30, you still spent $1,000 up front, and if you made, say, $8 profit on each album you would still have to sell well over 100 copies just to break even.
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jkn

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2012, 01:32:08 PM »
It's important to note in Mike's figures - that's *bare bones*.   You did all the artwork, set up of the files properly for the printing - and that can be a bit of an art in itself), the mastering (another art)...

And then you have boxes of CD's in your house.  Then what? 

You need a store.   You need to stock packaging to ship.  You need to go to the post office.  You need customer service to resolve shipping issues.

There's a ton involved above and beyond making the music. 

I'm not trying to be an idiot - just pointing out there's a lot to running a label or a store (or both) - and it takes special kind of people to do it - like Mike and APK (and to a much smaller extent, me.)

John

p.s.  I still have about 500 copies of my 'sub.terra' project album released on The Foundry... I've been "going to" do something with those boxes of CD's ever since I bought them off of Michael when he shut down The Foundry... I still haven't.   Now... imagine a label that's been doing 1,000 press runs...  they need some serious storage space!



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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2012, 01:43:16 PM »
Hypnos has been a pretty successful label by ambient genre standards, yet I think most people would be staggered to know how many CDs we have in storage.

It's easy to think "Cool -- press 1,000 CDs for $1200, sell them for ten bucks each... huge profit!!" This kind of magical thinking explains why so many labels appear, release two or three CDs, then disappear.

As John said, there's a lot more to it than that, even if you can sell large quantities of CDs. You have to compensate the artists (either with copies of their own CD, or cash royalties, or some combination), pay for a web site, and postage, and shipping materials, and all kinds of other stuff. That's even if you have the skills and time to do all the design and mastering yourself.

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2012, 01:45:13 PM »
All true, I think sometimes it can be thought that an artist is being a bit 'unprofessional' for not releasing their work on a pressed CD, there are good reasons for this.

For an independent ambient label, (I would imagine) the whole scenario of having thousands of silver discs in the garage must be no fun.

drone on

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2012, 03:35:18 PM »
When you say you can do a run of 300 but you're still going to pay for a run of 500, what does that mean? Doe this mean you will have 200 extra cd's made, even though you don't need them?  In other words, if a release says "limited 300 copies," they really had 500 pressed? Also I'm curious how labels compensate for possible defects in some discs--in other words, are some extra discs pressed without the artwork/packaging as backups, in case a customer's disc needs to be replaced?  Thanks.   

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2012, 03:38:33 PM »
He basically means that for a run of 300, the pressing plant charges more than 90% of the cost of a run of 500 so you're basically paying for all 500 discs and only getting 300. In fact, you're paying more than 80% of the cost of a run of 1,000.

If a label says "limited 300 copies" they either just pressed 300, or more likely pressed a larger number to set aside some for promotional copies, artists and friends copies, and replacing defectives. You know, 300 numbered copies and another quantity of "unnumbered" copies.
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ffcal

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2012, 10:35:21 PM »
When I last moved, I remember  chucking away several hundred LPs of my last LP, Migration, which came out right around the time people were transitioning from the LP to the CD.  One of the reasons I sought out a label after years of releasing albums of my own was that I got tired of storing all of those boxes.

Forrest

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2012, 04:56:32 AM »
drone on ...   scroll up to Mike's posts about cd pressing costs - notice the tiny difference in price per quantity...

1,000 CDs - $1,200 ($1.20 each)
500 CDs - $1,100 ($2.20 each)
300 CDs - $1,000 ($3.30 each)

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phobos

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2012, 05:14:24 AM »
As an artist who releases CDR and who sell less than 100:-
For my CDR releases I use Taiyo Yuden discs, which are supposed to be very reliable, if anyone knows of any other more reliable please let me know, so I try very hard to make the releases as high quality as possible, fullsize jewel cases, colour booklets,tray cards etc,as mentioned in earlier posts.
I will also guarantee the CDR so if the disc decides to stop playing because it has "gone bad" I will replace the disc completely free, including shipping it to you, whether you have had it 1 year or 10 years plus, in fact for as long as I remain on this planet I will offer that guarantee. All you need to do is contact me.
Question:-
Does guaranteeing a free replacement disc make a difference to you guys out there who don't really buy CDR for the fear of them going bad?

Incidently Mobineko will press 100 CDs from a glass master, in 4 panel Digipacks, you provide your own artwork for 450($700), They include the Digipaks free saving an additional 210($330) but for people who sell a lot less than 100 it is still not cost effective
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drone on

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Re: How much are you willing to pay for a CDR?
« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2012, 10:26:04 AM »
The free replacement policy is a good one.  I've usually been burning a backup for the CDR releases I buy just to avoid any future problems or hassle.