As a blogger, I've always tried to link to purchase sources which offer the best profit to artists themselves -- it just seemed like cutting out the corporate middleman wherever possible was both best for artists, and the folkiest way to do things.
I'm happy to say that many conversations with musicians over this past weekend has only confirmed this sense of the economic playing field, and how we can best support it.
It is true that CD Baby offers artists a higher percentage of sales dollars than, say, amazon (which offers artists much less). But, as at least one artist pointed out to me over this weekend, they still take a decent chunk of change, whereas buying DIRECT from the artist -- via paypal, say, which many artists use on their own website -- sends ALL profit to artists...and over a year's worth of sales, that extra percentage can mean the difference between poverty and "eking out a living" for many small artists.
As such: Notlob's idea is good, but UNLESS we decide that percentage is worth having someone else set up the on-line infrastructure, I see no reason why giving CD baby 40% of all sales dollars (their standard rate) is necessarily the best substitute for the "most to artist, some to festival" model which the merch tent uses.
At heart, I want the artists to call this -- it's their product we're talking about profiting from. If other artists like the CD Baby model of which Notlob speaks, then this is a great idea -- I only know that some artists had other preferences when I spoke with them. But for now, until we have artist "okays" to make some money off their sales outside of the festival grounds themselves, in AFTER fest mode at least, I would continue to encourage direct-from-artist sales in all cases, for EVERYONE reading this forum...it's best for artists, and ultimately, we can't live without them.
If artists want to help us, perhaps we can look at setting up an online store over the next few years -- using paypal, say, but with a commitment that we, not CD Baby, gets the percent for doing the store and marketing, just like at the fest. And there are other ways, too -- if each artist donated a song, we'd have a heck of a benefit CD to raise money with, for example. And, an added bonus, helping musicians make the best bang-for-buck would surely help us encourage them to pitch in with donations, too -- of song, or otherwise.
Cover Lay Down
Folk covers of familiar songs. Reimagined versions of folk songs.
Because in the folk tradition, music belongs to the community.