rpm 2012 post-mortem: release

I think I’ve post-mortem-ed my RPM album to death, but I did want to talk a little about the final release. The official release is, of course, on my Bandcamp page, alongside my compilation album of older tracks, sketchbook: vol 1. At first, I had the album available only as a free download, but after receiving a bunch of positive feedback, and discussing it with some of my fellow open-source musicians, I decided to make it a pay-what-you-want download, with a $0 minimum.

The sales figures so far have been a very pleasant surprise. To be honest, any sales at all would’ve been a pleasant surprise — I’m just happy when people bother to download my work at all — so I was very glad to make enough cash to buy a nice plugin or two (right now I thinking about Loomer Aspect).

Physical release?

Out of interest, I also looked in to what it’d cost to produce physical copies to sell. CDs aren’t too expensive to get made — CD duplicators just burn CD-Rs, so it’s cost-effective to make even very small quantities, like 20-50 discs. Even so, I don’t think I’d be able to sell even a small run of CDs; I really like my CD design, but I don’t think a CD is special enough to really warrant the cost increase over a digital download.

If anyone does desperately want a CD copy, let me know! I’d be happy to make a few more by hand, even if the disc is still just a plain CD-R with the name scrawled on it.

Vinyl would be far more awesome, but it’s also far more expensive because of its up-front costs; the absolute smallest practical run size is 100 discs, at about US$1200-1500 total, which is far more than I can sell. If my next album turns out really well, though, I’ll think seriously about making vinyl copies, even if I have to pre-sell most of them before getting them pressed.

Next steps

My RPM album was meant to be a source of rough new material that I could then sort through and rework in to a few proper tracks, but now I’m not so sure about doing that. These tracks aren’t as rough as I expected, and putting them together in to an album has given them a real sense of finality, so I think I’d prefer to move on to something entirely new.

I have some ideas, but whatever comes next, I plan to approach it in a more RPM-like fashion, sketching out a bunch of tracks and then deciding what works and what doesn’t. My earlier tracks were all written, recorded, and mixed from start to finish in isolation, one-at-a-time, and I think that shows.