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Gail Selkirk - Songbird of Swing!

Stone Soup

Business Related Q & A:

Q. How large is the market for Jazz CDs?

We checked the following sources for an answer to this question: This is what we found on Nov. 5th 2001:
  • Canadian Jazz recording sales averaged 2.6% of the overall market.
    (The average is based on numbers we found on the CRIA web site. The statistics shown there were from a Statistics Canada study for the period 1990 to 1996)
  • U.S.A. Jazz recording sales are approximately 3% of the overall market.
    (Based on number we found on the RIAA web site. The statistics were for the period 1991 to 2000)
  • World Wide Market - Unfortunately, the specific information about the jazz market that we were looking for was not available on the IFPI.ORG web site unless we payed 400 £ (GBP). We did find a few European web sites that mentioned that the jazz market in their country was steady over the past few years, somewhere around the 3% range. So, using a figure of 3% is probably a good estimate the world over.
  • World Wide Recorded Music Sales (IFPI figures) for the year 2000 were US$36.9 billion, with total unit sales of 3.5 billion. Dividing those two figures shows that each unit sale was worth on average US$10.54.
So, as a rough calculation, assuming 3% for jazz, the the World Wide Jazz Market for recorded music was worth approximately US$1.1 billion in the year 2000.

Q. How is this Jazz CD market split up?

While we're sure they exist, we haven't as yet found any statistics providing a break down by genre for the jazz market on the Internet. So, if you know where to find this information, please send us an email to let us know.

Just for fun and to make a very rough and very unscientific "guesstimate", we visited the www.jazzpromo.com's Canadian Artist page and used their listing of artists in the various jazz categories to come up with the following statistics:

Category Number Percentage
Female Singer 19 22.1
Male Singer 3 3.5
Pop Jazz 3 3.5
Mainstream Jazz 32 37.2
Latin Jazz 4 4.7
Contemporary Jazz 14 16.3
Smooth Jazz 2 2.3
Swing Jazz 4 4.7
Fusion Jazz 5 5.8

Q. How much will it cost to record and manufacture my Indie CD?

In talking to friends who have recorded and manufactured their Indie CDs, we found widely varying numbers which ranged from approximately $10,000 to $45,000. So, breaking costs into categories helps to get a better handle on where the money was spent:

Note that the costs shown below are only recording, licensing and manufacturing costs. What is not shown is the cost of the most important component - the time and creative energy spent in the writing of the songs and arrangements. It should be noted that the time to write the music for a single CD can sometimes take many months or years.

  • CD Manufacturing: CDN $3,000 (1st run of 1,000 CDs, in shrink wrapped jewel cases, complete with inserts).
  • CD Manufacturing: CDN $2,000 (2nd run of 1,000 CDs, in shrink wrapped jewel cases, complete with inserts).

    Note: The CD manufacturing costs are rough estimates that are suitable for budgeting purposes. The actual costs depend on quite a number of factors. SilverBirch Productions in Toronto (Canada) have a web site that provides on-line quotes that you can use to fine tune this estimate for your own requirements. They also have a lot of very useful information about the CD pre-production and production process that you will find invaluable in planning your CD project.

  • Mechanical Licensing for songs written by others:
    • CDN 7.4 ¢ per song, per CD for songs that are 5 minutes or shorter
    • CDN 7.4 ¢ per song, per CD for songs that are 5 minutes or shorter, plus CDN 1.48 ¢ per song, per CD for each additional minute or partial minute of running time.
  • The rest of the costs varied widely and were associated with:
    • Studio Time
    • Paying Musicians
    • Paying a Producer
    • Paying an Arranger
    • CD Mastering Costs
    • Paying for a Photo' Shoot
    • Paying for Graphic Design for the CD Insert

Q. How much will it cost to promote my CD?

This is an area where sky is the limit for major record labels promoting a major artist. In fact, according to the RIAA web site: "the most significant cost of a CD today is the marketing and promotion of that music". Of course, for an independent artist, this is an area where we just can't compete with the majors. On the other hand, the RIAA web site also states that since only 10% of record releases are profitable the ones that are must bear the costs of the failures. In other words, the successful 10% of the recording artists signed to a major record label must subsidize the other 90%. This is a cost the independent artist doesn't have. We only have to finance ourselves - not a small undertaking, but at least we are responsible only for our own success or failure.

So, getting back to the question of how much it will cost to promote an Indie CD... the short answer: there is no short answer as it depends on the promotional methods chosen. We're just starting to explore this ourselves, so for now we'll just list them and as we discover the information, we'll post it here:

  • Concerts, Shows, Personal Appearances
  • Web Site
  • Email Mailing List
  • New Release Announcements
  • Artist Press Kit
  • Radio Play Promotion
  • Music Video
Here are a number of web sites that provide some useful information on Indie CD promotion:

Stay tuned...

Q. How much should I charge for my CD?

Ideally, enough to pay for all the time spent on creating the music for the CD, costs of recording, artwork, manufacturing, promotion, and a reasonable profit.

As well, one must charge a price which the market will bear. Knowing what other artists charge is a good guideline. Here are the results of a quick survey we did on February 4th 2002:

  • Prices of Jazz Vocalist's CDs ranged from $9.99 USD ($16 CDN) to $17.97 USD ($29 CDN)
  • The average prices of Indie Artist CDs (Jazz Vocalists) seemed to cluster around $12 USD ($19 CND) to $13 USD ($21 CDN) range.
  • Interestingly enough, there wasn't a large difference between the prices charged by Indie artists and major record label artists.

Q. How many CDs can I realistically expect to sell?

Well, that depends on how good your CDs are and how succesfully you market your CDs.  You may find the following article of interest: According to this article:

... a straight-ahead, acoustic jazz album by a name artist distributed by a label with independent national distribution can expect sales in the 2,000-4,000 range.  Many good albums by established artists sell less;  very few sell more.  Major-label jazz can sell better due to stronger distribution and more marketing.

This well written article also contains good information on distribution, copyright, royalties, etc..

Q. Through what venues can an independent Jazz artist sell her/his CDs?

  • Performances
  • Artist's Web Site
  • On-line Music Distributors
  • Record Stores

Q. What proportion of sales does she/he typically make through each of these venues?

Q. What are the most effective ways of marketing my CD?

  • Most Indie musicians find that performances are the best venues for selling their CDs
  • Web Sites are also potentially a very effective means of marketing CDs. Consider the following statistics from the marketing research published by the KnitMedia Web Site:

    Although jazz only accounts for 3% of music sales...

    • "N2K's MusicBoulevard, the on-line retailer sold to CDNow, reported that "Jazz" accounted for over 8% of online sales".
    • "Tower Records On-line also sells more jazz on-line than in their brick and mortar stores, reaching close to 10% in the jazz category."
    • 12% of Webnoize Inside respondents "mainly listen to jazz/other" on Internet radio
    • According to Arbitron/Edison, 46% of core jazz radio listeners are Internet users

    From these and other similar statistics we've seen, it is clear that jazz lovers are definitely looking for and buying CDs over the Internet. Knowing that, it is clear that a web presence can play a key role in marketing your Indie jazz CD. The trick of course, is how to attract jazz music fans to your web site.

Q. How many fans does it take to support a jazz artist?

This questions sounds a bit like a joke... something along the lines of: "How many jazz musicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?" ...

Q. What about all this music piracy that we've been hearing and reading about? Should I be worried about it?

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