Selling our music at gigs - CDs are obsolete. Put music on a flash drive?

DADGAD

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We're thinking about putting our original music together to distribute at gigs. CDs are going obsolete. New cars do not with CD players anymore. Would putting music on a thumb drive or flash drive be the way to go?

Follow up question would be what file format. MP3, WAV, M4A, etc. Or all three since large drives are pretty cheap.
 

SixStringSlinger

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New cars may not have CD players, but not everyone is driving those brand new cars. I drive a 2015 and it has a CD player. Besides, even if someone's car doesn't have a CD player it's not hard to put it in your computer and put the music on your phone form there.

That aside, I've never even heard of anyone I know (much less seen them) plugging a flash drive into their car to lay music. It's doable (assuming your car has the proper input; I believe mine does); I just don't see anyone doing it.

Vinyl has been the fastest growing physical medium for music these days. It may even be the best-selling at this point. But it's large, heavy, more expensive to produce and transport than CD's, and if you want people to play your music in their cars, it's a no-go.

If you insist on selling your music through a physical medium at your gigs, I still think CD's are the way to go. Anything else is either untenable (vinyl) or looks to me like a gimmick more than anything (flash drives). But honestly, unless there's a demand for the physical stuff, you're probably better off streaming. I understand it's very small potatoes in what you'll gain from it financially, but it'll probably get you more plays than physical, and CD's are probably your best bet for physical.
 

Ron R

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That aside, I've never even heard of anyone I know (much less seen them) plugging a flash drive into their car to lay music. It's doable (assuming your car has the proper input; I believe mine does); I just don't see anyone doing it.
I do this, and have been for roughly 10 years.
As to the original question, I believe there are services available that would allow you to sell digital download cards at your gigs. So the physical object being bought is essentially a card with a download code.
If you have the means to produce small batches of CDs relatively cheaply while meeting whatever standards you've got for artwork and packaging, then yes, by all means, have some of those on hand too.
 

teletimetx

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Many musicians/bands provide all 3 choices for selling at gigs - CDs, thumb drives and download cards.

On the horizon: flashcard that downloads a set of mp3 files to a phone with just a bump. Available now, but still a work in progress.
 

hekawi

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I use a flash drive for my driving music almost 100% these days. So much easier to deal with than cds. I can put lots of songs on 'em. Your USB system will want to play songs in alphabetical order...but I get around this by using the audacity editing program to put together playlists...sequencing songs in the order I want them as one single track. For instance, I make a track of "Dark Side of the Moon" to play as a full album in proper order. I can go for weeks without repeating anything and never changing flash drives. I love it.
 

stratoman1

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New cars may not have CD players, but not everyone is driving those brand new cars. I drive a 2015 and it has a CD player. Besides, even if someone's car doesn't have a CD player it's not hard to put it in your computer and put the music on your phone form there.

That aside, I've never even heard of anyone I know (much less seen them) plugging a flash drive into their car to lay music. It's doable (assuming your car has the proper input; I believe mine does); I just don't see anyone doing it.

Vinyl has been the fastest growing physical medium for music these days. It may even be the best-selling at this point. But it's large, heavy, more expensive to produce and transport than CD's, and if you want people to play your music in their cars, it's a no-go.

If you insist on selling your music through a physical medium at your gigs, I still think CD's are the way to go. Anything else is either untenable (vinyl) or looks to me like a gimmick more than anything (flash drives). But honestly, unless there's a demand for the physical stuff, you're probably better off streaming. I understand it's very small potatoes in what you'll gain from it financially, but it'll probably get you more plays than physical, and CD's are probably your best bet for physical.

I used flash drives in my work car til I got a phone with a big enough memory card to make that worthwhile. They have their place
 

Ron R

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I use a flash drive for my driving music almost 100% these days. So much easier to deal with than cds. I can put lots of songs on 'em. Your USB system will want to play songs in alphabetical order...but I get around this by using the audacity editing program to put together playlists...sequencing songs in the order I want them as one single track. For instance, I make a track of "Dark Side of the Moon" to play as a full album in proper order. I can go for weeks without repeating anything and never changing flash drives. I love it.
You can also get around it by renaming files to start with numbers (001, 002, etc). There are free bulk rename utilities readily available to download and use.
I'm currently using a 264 gb drive that barely protrudes from the dashboard. I could literally drive for months without ever repeating.
Most car stereos will also read folders, so you can organize whole albums into folders. Just have to know the limitations of your particular stereo to work around those. My only frustration with my current stereo is that it won't do "random" through all folders like my old one did - that made for some very eclectic commutes.
 
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SixStringSlinger

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I do this, and have been for roughly 10 years.
As to the original question, I believe there are services available that would allow you to sell digital download cards at your gigs. So the physical object being bought is essentially a card with a download code.
If you have the means to produce small batches of CDs relatively cheaply while meeting whatever standards you've got for artwork and packaging, then yes, by all means, have some of those on hand too.

I used flash drives in my work car til I got a phone with a big enough memory card to make that worthwhile. They have their place

I'm sure it's done, I just think CD's still have them beat by a mile (in terms of numbers of people doing it) as far as playing music in the car via physical media goes, even with CD players no longer available in new cars.
 

Ron R

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I'm sure it's done, I just think CD's still have them beat by a mile (in terms of numbers of people doing it) as far as playing music in the car via physical media goes, even with CD players no longer available in new cars.
You said you've never even heard of anyone doing it - just pointing out the error of your ways. ;)
 

Collin D Plonker

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That's a good idea, but iTunes is probably better. They can download while they are at the show. Just mention it enough, and people who like the music will probably "impulse shop."
 

SixStringSlinger

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You said you've never even heard of anyone doing it - just pointing out the error of your ways. ;)

Anyone -I know-. But consider me properly chastised ;)

b85b42e56d761f7c8da2cb098d274633.jpg
 

nickmsmith

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I guess I’d try CDs, but I really don’t remember the last time I purchased a new CD. Flash drive is a decent idea, but sitting out a link to a digital download or spot to donate on your website may be a better idea. And it won’t cost you anything at all. Encouraging them to stream music and donate money may be a good idea, because people tend to do that more than purchasing.. unfortunately.


I wonder how many musicians are sitting on hundreds of CDs they can never sell.
 

naveed211

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People still buy music?

I’m being serious. I’d be happy to get paid for the gig by the venue and maybe sell a t-shirt or something. And just have my stuff on Spotify and get liked on Facebook by some folks after the gig.
 

vhilts1

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CDs are becoming valueless. I can’t unload 500 for $100

Zip drives are under $3 I’d go that route
 

Chiogtr4x

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I’d do cassettes before flash drive.

You might be surprised how easy they are to sell.
I was 'Johnny Cassette' in the 1980's! ( when we first got married)

In HS/College, I had a crappy turntable so never bought too much vinyl
- got a tape deck in 1979 and went 100% to Cassettes 'till 1990 ( whe folks chipped in on CD Player and CD's on our 10th Anniversary)

I bet I had 500+ pre recorded and taped Cassettes

Still like CD's today

- we play covers,so have no music to sell- just want folks to like our gigs!
 




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