OT: Selling CDs at shows

dcrigger

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If selling at the shows, do you have to worry about tax?
I would think it depends on the state. But generally, yes.

Unless the desire is to fly under the radar - in which case, I would think cash would be the only way to go.

Legalities aside - the question then is one of scale. If the whole endeavor amounts to a handful of sales a year sort of thing - then under the table has its appeal for simplicity's sake.

But if it's a growing enterprise - then I would be cautious as "under the radar" gets more and more difficult to do as the numbers start going up.

But then I'm sure there are tons of bands still out there gigging with no business structure at all - one guy collects a check and writes checks to the other members to divvy it up -possibly unaware of how much tax liability they are assuming doing that. Blah, blah, blah...

Point is - with electronic payments and for some products electronic distribution, there has never been a better time for selling merch at gigs.

*Except for the complete and total lack of gigs, of course. :cool:
 

stevil

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In my scene bands can't sell CDs but will make a killing with tapes and vinyl. Vinyl is expensive though.

One of my favorite things I saw last year was a band who included a QR code to download their album that was printed on the tags inside their tshirts.
 

JonnyFranchi$e

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In my scene bands can't sell CDs but will make a killing with tapes and vinyl. Vinyl is expensive though.

One of my favorite things I saw last year was a band who included a QR code to download their album that was printed on the tags inside their tshirts.
That's a cool idea - something I might suggest to the band.

The nuance is: The band doesn't have any CDs to sell - I do - but in this band I'm just the drummer, and frankly I'm not all that good. Most of these ideas y'all are dropping I will revisit once the band is ready to sell stuff (working on a logo, gonna make an album at some point, etc.) - but my solo stuff is seriously small time. I DIY everything and I have literally 100 total copies.

I don't want to incur expense for easy sale yet or anything like that - we can absorb all that as a band down the road.

Plus it's an outdoor gig in Tallahassee probably with minimal crowd re covid, so my expectations are low.

I'll probably have someone selling my own CD at a table and use cash or if you can send money to my paypal, great. Otherwise, dude just take one and come back to hear us with some cash. Whatever!

I really like the code inside the T-shirt thing for the future though.
 

Tornado

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I don't get the resurgence of cassette tapes. They are objectively terrible.
 

swarfrat

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Yeah, cassette is literally about 5-6 bits of dynamic range. Yet there are actually people who deride MP3 while claiming tape warmth and applying it to cassette. Yo - if you want everything to sound warm - just listen to everything at 110db for a few decades.
 

JonnyFranchi$e

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Yeah, cassette is literally about 5-6 bits of dynamic range. Yet there are actually people who deride MP3 while claiming tape warmth and applying it to cassette. Yo - if you want everything to sound warm - just listen to everything at 110db for a few decades.
It's like patina for our hearing...
 

Bri6366

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Anything a band can do to pull in extra money is a good thing. The last smaller show I was was at, the opening act was the former lead singer of the late 80s band Danger Danger. He had a booth set up out front and he said after his set he'll be there selling CD's, Shirts or if you just want to come up and say hi that's cool too. He's obviously not making big money off that, but it's a good way to connect with the fans and also make some extra cash.
 

JimmySticks

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I play in a Chicago tribute band and our audience skews a bit older, so CDs are still a thing. We record all our shows to live to multi-track through our in-ear rig, so we mixed tunes from two particularly strong shows and released a live CD (licensed, of course). After every (pre-Covid) gig, we do a meet and greet at the merch table. We sell anywhere from a handful to a bunch (and t-shirts), and as Brandon said, we're asked to sign most copies. When things get back up and running, we'll likely offer digital downloads from our website, as well, but CDs are still viable in our market.
That’s the way to do it, with a meet & greet, and sign the CDs. I think it makes the customer feel special. They feel like they know you this way.

I saw a John Pizzarelli show where he really blew the roof off the place, and after the show he went to the showcase where he sold his CDs and other stuff and signed everything and anything. The line was long and he was a great guy to meet. He was easy to talk to and he made you feel good for coming out to the show. Very good for business and great PR. I bought the CD because I liked him, but just as much to support him and his act.

So if done right, you can make some money while putting out some really good PR...
 

JonnyFranchi$e

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Anything a band can do to pull in extra money is a good thing. The last smaller show I was was at, the opening act was the former lead singer of the late 80s band Danger Danger. He had a booth set up out front and he said after his set he'll be there selling CD's, Shirts or if you just want to come up and say hi that's cool too. He's obviously not making big money off that, but it's a good way to connect with the fans and also make some extra cash.
Hopefully everyone behaved at the meet and greet, and no one was...Naughty Naughty.

Sorry, I could't resist.
 

Bri6366

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Hopefully everyone behaved at the meet and greet, and no one was...Naughty Naughty.

Sorry, I could't resist.
LOL. it's a lot more tame these days. As the lead singer for Heaven's Edge said that night, when they made their MTV video in that very venue in the early 90s, there were topless women up in the balcony. These days it's a family event with the wife and kids.
 

AgDrumma07

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We still do and sell them fairly regularly. We're also available for digital downloads, but having the CDs at shows has worked for us. We plan to do a small run for upcoming album next year as well.
 

stevil

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I don't get the resurgence of cassette tapes. They are objectively terrible.
I listened to a music industry podcast with a panel of indie labels. The topic of tapes came up and they all agreed that people buy them to have a physical artifact, but most probably never listen to them. One guy volunteered that he knew that to be true because his label had nearly sold out of a run of 500 or so tapes before a customer reported that side B was blank. He checked the stock and confirmed that it was true of the whole run, but no one else ever complained.

My band sold them and made money on them, but I certainly don't endorse them for audio purposes :)
 

TheBeachBoy

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Vinyl had its resurgence and it's now the cassette's turn. Give it a couple of years and the CD will make a come-back as a "retro" medium. Then, Apple will have to remake the original iPod. After that we'll have to start over at the Edison wax cylinder.
 

Heartbeat

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A friend of mine has been selling a bunch of old/NOS blank cassettes on eBay for $50+/pack. I guess people record their vinyl onto them? So check your attics. Lol
 


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