Buying Band CDs

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by tenorhorndavid, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. This week I have been wondering whether there is anywhere left where you can walk in off the street and buy band CDs. Im sure like most people I buy new CDs for the usual internet retailers and on the whole the service is quick and reliable and the process is very easy. However wouldn't it be great if we could walk down the high street and pick up the new releases, like Regionals 2009 CD for instance (which I have been waiting for for about a week now!! :frown:)

    I presume that this is to do with sales and market for band recordings. In the North East we don't really have anywhere like this, is it the same elsewhere? But what is to stop small music shops (or even larger chain stores) stocking a few of the latest releases?
  2. TubaGeek

    TubaGeek Member

    I totally agree. Down in Devon I've yet to see a shop which sells brass CDs. I have to go on the internet or buy them from contests...Such a shame.
  3. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Unfortunately it is true that very few high street retailers stock much in the way of brass - or wind for that matter - band recordings. It use to be that the larger branches of WHSmiths and HMV would have a reasonable selection - depending on the manager - but this is no longer the case, particularly now that mainstream recording companies produce little or no wind or brass.

    As the market is perceived as being more and more specialist, so the trend is moving towards mail order or internet selling. Whilst that can have some advantages, such as the fact that you can browse the entire catalogue, rather than whatever the particular retailer has chosen to stock, it is not the same as physically going through cds on the rack.
  4. De Haske Music UK

    De Haske Music UK New Member

    I know it is not the high street but there are large selections of CDs at the trade stands of most major contests. The next one is next Saturday in the Albert Hall. De Haske have a stall in the Elgar Room on which we have several new CDs, including recordings of many new Philip Sparke works. Also World of Brass have many hundreds of titles for sale. A fantastic opportunity to browse brass band CDs!
  5. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    In principle, there's nothing to stop them - but it's likely that it doesn't make good business sense.

    Peter's made some very valid points.

    The market has always been relatively specialist - although has been deepening for some years and another symptom is the reduced amount of national radio coverage. The main stocks that the mainstream retailers used to have were, for example, Chandos they were Dyke and Besses (+others) releases from the 70s and 80s. They formed part of a much wider Orchestral and Choral catalogue and so were sort of included by default. There were, of course, a few independents that carried stocks...and mention should be made of music & instrument suppliers who used to sell them (I bought some early Doyen stuff from Forsythe's in Manchester for instance).

    The main issue is really that of guaranteed sales. Joe Public isn't really interested in a CD of XYZ playing a full CD of ABC's pieces (not even if you call it Lexicon of Love ;) ). Stocking this 'latest' release in a mainstream record shop where it's likely to sit gathering dust is just (in their minds) taking up real estate where they could put something that they know they can sell. This has, and still includes, things such as the Brassed Off soundtrack plus - because the public knew the name of Grimethorpe - a few others along the same vein (and they'll also be by Grimethorpe as they'd supposedly know what they were getting). The Dyke Naxos CD will be present as it's piggybacking on the rest of the Naxos's a great thing for them to have done.

    The only CD that is guaranteed to shift a lot of units is, IMO, the Area CD. It'll sell a fair few in terms of numbers on a (realtively) geographically wide basis. It's potentially got a limited sales lifespan as it's got a 'year' on it. Occasionally someone will want it further down the line because it's got a Pontins piece on it, or something that's being considered as an own choice piece.....but again it's not really something that Mr Smith from 69a Avacia Avenue would necessarily want to buy.

    The other thing you've got to add in to the equation, of course, are things like wholesale and published dealer prices. The record shops would have to enter into distribution deals with whoever owns the rights to the recording and physical media. This obviously could involve financial discounts, sale or return goods or both. Big wholesale discounts obviously eat into the potential profits of the supplier....if the record shops don't sell the discs they get sent back to the supplier who then have to pay for storage or disposal of units that they can't sell (on which they've already spent money on to manufacture so it's a double loss)...combine the two and it's not a good position to be in.

    The bottom line is that it could potentially cost both sides a fair bit of cash - and considering you're actually talking about business (I'm afraid at this level it's not about the consumer) it makes much more fiscal sense to sell them centrally via the web (or at least via a few online suppliers that have much lower overheads).

    Additionally, you have to consider the download market. It's possibly even more applicable to niche markets than it is to the mass market as the cost balances are different. Gone is the cost of physical manufacture of CD units, and the incurred costs are things such as server space, bandwidth, a web administrator and the Joint Online Licence from the MCPS. The thing about going down this route is that recordings no longer have a production lifetime span in as much as when you've sold your 3000 units that's it without a (potentially) expensive repress where you might only sell 23 out of another just keep on selling them and once you've passed your break even point and covered the associated costs of the download it's just making you money. That's probably the main reason that Chandos and WoB are making 'legacy' recordings available - they can make money out of them without minimal outlay.

    So the market's changing. Smaller numbers of physical media plus downloads seems to be the way that it's going.

    The situation is different again for bands outside of Dyke / Cory / Fodens / The ISB etc where the main market tends to be more localised around the Band in question.
  6. Ryan06

    Ryan06 Member

    Over here Ive seen stores that sell Orchestra cds...never for brass bands though. But yea, that would be awesome! then you wouldnt have to wait for 3 weeks for the cd to arrive when you order it like I do!
  7. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    That's why the download model would works better for you - although I'd much prefer higher quality options than 192kpbs MP3 - practically instant delivery.

    You've got to remember that the (generally) mainstream orchestral CDs are made in the tens to many hundreds of thousands of units and are (sometimes) backed by very large international distribution networks. The market just isn't there for Brass Bands (as much as it'd be nice)....hence you're working on imports that take time.
  8. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    I'm a bit older than Ryan06 and can remember being able to get some band LP's from mainstream stores in Canada like Sam the Record Man and later, HMV (but for that I had to drive to Toronto). Sam's has since closed shop and, just as in the U.K. it seems, HMV only stock large volume stuff; I have yet to see the Dyke Naxos CD in HMV here.

    I agree that downloads are the answer in this niche market but remain disappointed with the inconsistency in getting new releases available for download. Sure it's cheaper but we still generally have to wait at least three, four weeks and often longer for them to become available in that format.
  9. TuTuKu

    TuTuKu Active Member

    I've seen Brass Band CDs quite recently in HMV - but they're not the latest ones and only by the most famous of bands.

    I personally think the online sales work best for Brass Band market. As previous posters have said, there just isn't enough demand from the general public for the material to justify it being sold in HMV, Virgin (sorry... Zavvi... or whatever it's called now) and the likes... World Of Brass do an excellent job in providing music - I just wish there were more albums/tracks to choose from! I don't know about the copyright legislation or any other practical restrictions, but it would be an amazing resource to have the whole WOB catalogue available on download, either as whole albums or (ideally) in separate tracks!

    Maybe in a few years' time, eh?
  10. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    If you think about it there are (potentially) market forces at work here as well.

    Consider you want The Bratwurst Sausage Factory Band to make a CD of repertoire that you've selected. There are a couple of options available in terms of payment schedule for the Band - if they're busy and the repertoire on the CD is the kind of thing their audiences would buy, they may accept physical CDs to sell at concerts as payment...if either of these statements don't apply (and maybe particularly if said repertoire is 'specialist') then it's likely the Band will want a monetary fee. Add on the respective recording, production and ancillary costs like the venue and licence fees...and you've got the total(ish) cost for producing the recording.

    You've then got to market your product, whilst breaking even as quickly as possible. To do this, the easiest way is to try and ensure sales of the 'full price' recording...and that means selling CDs - as downloads afford the option of just getting the single track or piece that you want. This applies more if the recording is something that a niche market may want fairly quickly after release for whatever you make an initial batch of CDs, sell them and when the figures downturn release on download to mop up further sales. Obviously, a higher initial outlay could mean that the potential time from CD to download may be longer. If you think about it, this effect will be felt much more in the niche market than it will in mass market just purely in terms of dilution of profit.

    The other option is that you go straight to download and bypass the CDs completely - it's entirely possible to force the end user to have to purchase the 'whole product' rather than on a track by track basis. The advantage here is that there's no physical manufacture and that's a cost saved....but obviously the disadvantage is that you alienate those that like to hold the product in their hand and not just on a silicon wafer.

    Trying to decide which way is best is an interesting discussion.
  11. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    So long as they own the appropriate rights to the recording then they can upload what they like, subject to it being licenced through the Joint Online Licence with the MCPS-PRS Alliance.

    The recordings just need to be encoded and uploaded (occasionally with a bit of dabbling behind the scenes) along with appropriate 'paperwork' (e.g. pdf booklets), and there be enough server space and bandwidth to cope with it all. Disk space is getting ridiculously cheap, so that shouldn't really be an issue.

    Use of the appropriate backroom software should take care of the JOL returns once the recordings are registered, so that should be OK.

    The issue becomes one of when things are uploaded (which will most likely be profit driven) and having the resource to actually do it.

    Bit of an oversimplification, but it'll probably happen eventually ;)
  12. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    I actually got that CD at the market on Saturday; it was free if I bought 200 lbs of Brat Sausage :)

    Getting serious, I know that there are many points to consider. Another factor that I'm convinced plays a significant role, but don't believe has been mentioned, is the availability of resources to actually process the files and get them up on the Internet.

    Carl Woodman has mentioned on here before that he has a pile of CD's approved to go up on WoB Tunes, but it obviously takes a lot of time for them to get from his desk onto the Internet. I know Carl doesn't do that function and believe they rely on a service provider......this appears to be a weak link in the process.
  13. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    It's more than likely a human resource issue.

    Technologically it's not at all arduous.
  14. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    Sorry, should have been more explicit; that's exactly what I meant. Thanks for clarifying.
  15. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

  16. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    FNAC is a big chain over here that sells electronics, books and CDs, and they are knozn to have a relatively large classical music section in their shops. Nevertheless, I was still surprised to find Brass band Willebroek's CD "Elgar Variations" having a quite prominent spot in between the orchestral music...
    It must be have something to do with Willebroek getting some media attention after winning the European title two times in a row, combined with the "Elgar" reference in the CD title?
  17. HaleStorm

    HaleStorm Member

    I have stumbled upon brass cd's once or twice in HMV and zavvi, but generally only one of two different cd's and not very often.
    I have found however there are a good selection of different Brass CD's avaliable on iTunes, which is a fairly cheap way to get them as albums generally only cost £8 ish, where as some of these i have seen on internet retailers for around the £15 mark
  18. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Yes, but the point of this thread is really this:

    Not really about advertising your CDs ;)

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