I’ve been listening to a lot of music podcasts, and 6 months ago decided that I wanted to support the artists I was enjoying so much. I haven’t bought a CD in a while, very little mainstream music interested me even before podcasting. I started making my list in mid January, and have since early February been preparing to purchase them. I figured there would be hiccups, so I decided to document my experiences.
The trouble is, buying independent US music from Australia is a royal pain in the arse. Because of this I first thought digital downloads would be preferred because it saves shipping a CD from the US; however as I’ll explain in a second that all changed. I’ve already documented my problems with Paypal so I won’t rehash that.
Prices are in bold, and in US dollars unless otherwise specified. Through all of this, my purpose was to use the means that gave the most back to the artist. Based on what I heard from discussions on the Daily Source Code in February, this meant the iTunes Music Store (ITMS) should be avoided unless absolutely necessary; half the time you can’t even find these artists in the Australian ITMS so that’s ok by me. There were a few cases I found them and this rule forced me to avoid the digital download; however I ordered as many of the physical CDs as possible in one shipment through CD Baby (postage listed at the end) so it didn’t really increase the price much.
Below is my list, in the order they’re listed on my next post describing why I am buying each album. Read them in sync if you want the full story (and a long story it is, too!) because I can’t guarantee that it’ll make much sense if you don’t 😛
- Kevin Reeves – It’s About Time – $10 on CD Baby. Pre-order came with 4 tracks and a bonus live track – I was unable to pay for it, but Kevin sent me the pre-order anyway. Luckily, in the time since I started writing this he managed to release the album on CD Baby, and now I’ll have a proper copy 😀
Matthew Ebel – Beer & Coffee. $11.99 from CD Baby.
2.5 With Matthew participating in the PMN purchasing beta I also bought:
Christmas 2004 Live – Walk A Thousand Miles – 99c
Sally Went Down – 99c
Taxi Doll – Waiting. Available through CD Baby or iTunes. $8.99 from CD Baby. Unfortunately not in stock at the moment, that’s what I get for not putting this order through 4 months ago when it was in stock 😦
Postage from CD Baby is a minimum of $4 for slow postage, at which point I’m paying A$17.33 when ITMS AU is charging A$13.52. Is $4 worth it to get a physical CD? I was going to say no, but there are a few other CDs below that I can order at the same time so I’ll wait.
- My Little Radio don’t have an album yet, and their website is down 😦 As I mentioned in the last post I’m including them here because I listen to their tracks on the PMN far too regularly, and will be buying their album the second it’s available. Thanks to their blog on myspace, that will apparently be very soon 😀
- Anemo – Slowburn. They’re popular enough that their CD is available through a LOT of places, including ITMS AU. I went for CD Baby in the end, $12.50. Slightly more expensive than ITMS, but I’m trying to give the artists money here 😛
- Number One Fan – Compromises. Apparently too good for CD Baby (looks like they got signed by Universal), but not good enough for ITMS AU so I’m forced to pay $12 for a CD that’s available in ITMS US for $8, plus $6 shipping bringing the total to $17.95. This is the big example of my problems, it would’ve been one of those snap “while I’m buying off cdbaby” purchases but I don’t like them enough to pay through the nose.
- 46bliss – 46bliss. $11.95 on CD Baby, also available on most popular download sites & iTunes. After the disappointment from Number One Fan I decided to pick up pistachio home for $9.95 as well.
- Mike Errico – Skimming. Signed to engine company records so I’m forced to buy through them; $13.99 plus $2.29 shipping. It’s only US$10 (roughly) on ITMS AU, but I love this guy’s music and the shipping is cheap so I’m going to bite the bullet and pay a bit extra. CDs are apparently hand signed too 😉
- Jody Shelton – Rise (EP). $7.00 at CD Baby.
- Tourist – the relevance of motion. $11.97 at CD Baby. At least one of my favourites is just so simple to buy.
- Laura Clapp – Simply. $9.99 at CD Baby. I was tempted to buy her other CD Where are you going? at the same time, but it’s not in stock. Ah well, I’ll get it at the same time as the Taxi Doll CD 😉
- Blame Amy have their self-titled album available in the online store of Piggyback Records for $10 + $6 international shipping, and on iTunes. The difference is about $A5, but something tells me the band will get more from a $10 sale on their store than a $13 sale on iTunes. Plus the cover looks cool. I’m buying the CD.
- [Munk] hasn’t put his podpeople or dirty work tracks out on a CD yet, but I’ve discovered that I enjoy his other tracks on the PMN enough that I’m picking up his second cd Severed for $10.99, AND his first cd Anime Sweetheart for $11.99. I hadn’t heard Anime Sweetheart before today, but previewed it off CD Baby and decided I want it as well!
- The Substitutes – The Exploding Plastic Inevitable. $11.00 at CD Baby.
Rob Costlow – I actually promised Rob in a comment on his blog that I was going to buy both albums but they were only available in ITMS US at the time – that was so long ago I can’t remember which post. They’re both now available in iTunes Australia, but I decided to buy Sophomore Jinx and Woods of Chaos for $11.99 each off CD Baby since I’m doing
an order anyway.
- Jon Schmidt – August End. Impulse buy, $12.95 at CD Baby (see the other post for why :P)
- Unfortunately Beth Thornley doesn’t have her second CD (with the track I really want) available at CD Baby, but it is available through her website so I may investigate that later. Her first, self titled CD is available but the sample tracks didn’t really appeal to me 😦
- LoveSpirals – Free & Easy. $12.98 at CD Baby. After hearing the samples I couldn’t resist picking up Windblown Kiss as well for $12.98 while I was there.
- Brother Love – Album of the year. The name is not some marketing spin, his music really is that good. $10.00 at CD Baby which is far cheaper than ITMS AU. That made me laugh 😀
- Chance – First Five Demos ($6.99), Six through Ten ($6.99) at CD baby. Looks like there is a third CD almost ready for release, which is yet another reason to purchase things from CD Baby that weren’t in stock this time around 😀
- Lorena Miré – I ended up posting about her CD yesterday, so I won’t repeat myself.
- bill – Unfortunately they only take paypal. I have a copy of the CD thanks to their offer 5 months ago, but I feel kinda bad keeping it without buying the CD 😦
Phew. And on top of that, I got doubles of 2 in there for my mum’s birthday (I’m not saying which ones just yet though :P). So that’s 20 CDs from CD baby, which comes to a grand total of… $221. That’s a pretty freaking good value if you ask me. And thanks to the fantastic service option where they can take the CD out of the bulky plastic case, shipping is only $11 instead of $26. Brings that total to US$232, or A$320 after bank conversion charges which is what I’d pay for about 10 mainstream CDs.
Odd note – CD Baby didn’t ask for my credit card type, just number and expiration date. I guess they have a detection algorithm on the server, which makes me wonder why nobody else manages to do that. It’s very cool!
The other two CDs, Skimming and Blame Amy, come to US$16 each, which to be honest is about what I’d pay if I ordered each of my CD Baby CDs separately. One came through at A$20, the other at A$22.
So I now have an A$360 hole in my credit card, and I couldn’t be happier as this has been a long time coming.
The final step in all this is to email each artist and tell them I bought their CD because I heard their song on a podcast. I know many artists love to hear when this happens, and I think it’s doubly important to do because I’m ordering from Australia. Luckily CD Baby have already thought of that so I’ve already sent a generic message to all but 2 of them – although I’ll be sending an extra one to Kevin Reeves letting him know that his generous offer of a free download isn’t necessary anymore 😀