Saturday, January 22, 2011

Releasing Cover Songs; The Pros and Cons

     So you or your band are thinking about releasing a cover version of a popular song.  Visions of your big break dance in your head. Your reminded of countless big name artists such as: Marylin Manson (sweet dreams), Aerosmith (mama kin), Jimi Hendrix (name a Dylan song), Van Halen (you really got me, your no good, insert Motown classic here)...  The List goes on and on.

     Well here to burst your bubble as usual, reality walks through the door.  Perhaps you may gain a foothold to a broader Internet based following due to more views in search engines. A flattered musician that happened to come across your tribute may take you under your wing (right). That aside you, well at least i do not have the multi-million dollar budget of a major corporation to push a release into the arms of pop-culture.

    But wait you say, i can just self release the song and follow the compulsory license instructions here at CDBABY! [see bottom]  Well let's do some simple math. Assuming you have no overhead such as studio costs or session musician fees here are the numbers for selling 100 downloads on I-Tunes.(for a song under 5 minutes with no negotiated lower license fee)

100 dpd's sold (I-TUNES) x .694 = $69.40

Sounds good didn't even need to put a note to staf!

now for the fun part...

100 dpd's x .091 (statutory royalty rate) =    $9.10  ad that to the $9.00 upfront to CDBABY and thats

$18.10 COGS

ok so $69.40 - 18.10 =  $51.30

looking good right?

Now get out your abacus class.

  Let's assume that all these downloads happened to be spread evenly throughout the year.
You are required to make monthly statements of account to the Publisher or copyright owner.


stamps                           12 stamps x .44 =   $ 5.28
certified                         12             x  1.15     13.80
12 envelopes                 12             x    .12       1.44
Return rcpt.                  12             x   1.10     13.20

Total Mailing Costs:                                   $33.72

ok....  $51.30 - 33.72 =  $17-FUCK-MY-MOTHER-WITH-A-VIBRASLAP- .58

$17.58 not a bad profit for a year. That's if you can sell 100 downloads, and trust me i know some bands that can't. Also, speaking of bands you guys all split the earnings evenly right?

Don't get me started on your fixed costs like Internet service ( around $600 a year) Mechanical License Fees ( if you plan on producing tangible copies of this release) and at the end of the year you need to have the anual statement auditied by a licensed CPA( you know someone that will do that for free, right) .

"gratuitous seminude model break"

   Elena Bathory

Now for the PROS!

You look cool.

You may get some residual sales from exposing new people to your old catalog.

You really flex your production chops working on a classic song.

You have a new catalyst for connecting with audiences online and off.

and the number one and only reason that truly matters...


So in closing have fun building your dream one brick at a time...

My Band Ellipsis' Version of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Tuesday's Gone

Ellipsis - Tuesday's Gone

(Lynyrd Skynyrd with a prog twist
featuring Dino P. from Vicious Fish, and
Frank Avalon Jr. [Frankie Avalon's son])

Ellipsis: Tuesday

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