People have been asking me lately how my music (particularly my CD) is doing. I’m afraid I have mostly bad news.
So far the self-titled CD has sold exactly six units, all personal sales. Four have been given away as gifts to close friends. Three were sent to radio station music directors in Illinois, England and Italy. The one in Illinois hasn’t listened to his yet; I never heard back from England, and the one sent to Italy may have been lost in the mail. Of 16 units produced, I have three left, and one of them is my own personal copy.
The two previous editions of the CD (entitled Umm) sold 21 copies: 11 of the April edition and 10 of the June edition, all personal sales. I didn’t sell any through CD Baby.
The current CD is available through CreateSpace, an Amazon.com company, and of course through Amazon.com itself, but none have been sold through those channels either, despite links from my official website, this site and my MySpace Music page.
About my official website: when I bought the radio promotion through Danie Cortese Entertainment, Inc. in September (at a cost of over $1000), Ms. Cortese asked me to alter the appearance of the site, and to simplify its contents. I followed her directions to the letter, thinking that she, as a publicist, would likely know what was best from a marketing standpoint. I ended up rebuilding the entire site. The design is now bare-bones, and the content is simple and to the point but there is very little of it.
Based on past experience from running The Oo Kingdom, I believe now that removing most of the content (especially the song lyrics) was possibly the worst mistake I could have made. Having more content and more diversity is what brings visitors here so often. Some of them are looking for recipes, some for holiday information, others for metric conversion tools, inspirational articles, or whatever. The song lyrics on my official website brought visitors in via search engines; now there is almost nothing to lead them there.
I probably made an even bigger blunder when I revised and improved the audio on the CD. Instead of re-releasing Umm as a “deluxe edition” or whatever, I followed Danie’s well-meaning advice and re-issued it as a self-titled album, which is often the choice for a new artist’s first release. Once the new Charlie Petitt CD was released, I promptly canceled Umm at CD Baby to avoid confusion (I had even changed the track order for the new album), and I canceled all of the digital distribution along with it.
About the same time as the cancellation, pages began to appear all over the Internet, advertising my music. Umm was available for listening and/or downloads on iTunes, Napster, MusicIsHere.com, PayPlay.fm, and more. GroupieTunes.com had ringtones of my songs available!
It takes awhile—months sometimes—for digital retailers to report sales on music. I didn’t learn until after the cancellation that someone purchased a download of “Wendi” on iTunes on August 15, 2007. Napster didn’t report three paid listens of my music (one of “Hopelessly in Love” on July 31 and two of “Wendi” on September 30) until November. Some indie artists actually sell more downloads than CDs, and it seems that I was one of those.
A couple of weeks ago my CD appeared on Amazon in Germany. But it was not the current CD; it was Umm, complete with the original track listing, most likely taken from CD Baby before that version of the record was discontinued. Megaphon Importservice was listed as the label (I googled them and learned that they import all sorts of music into Germany, mostly from major labels). No cover picture was available.
The strangest thing about this listing was the release date of “10. Oktober 2007” which they could only have found here in the Oo Kingdom or on my official website—and that was the release date for the new self-titled CD, not for Umm which was released in the summer of 2007. Apparently there was some demand, or at least potential demand, for the CD in Germany, and someone at Amazon in that country looked up the information online to create this listing! This tells me that my song “Noxious Fumes” probably got some airplay in Germany as a result of the Danie Cortese radio promotion.
The best thing that Danie did for me was to ask me to improve the transitions between the verses and choruses on that song, where the tempo changes were too abrupt to be tasteful. Simply adding two colorful measures to the transition did the trick! The song still gets raves from nearly everyone who hears it, and maybe if I hadn’t blown it on my end, I might be seeing some success by now.
What I need to do in 2008 is to learn from my mistakes, find less expensive ways of promoting my music, start performing in public on a regular basis, and rock on. Maybe I’ll realize my dream yet!