FYI on DIY. FWIW.
Yesterday, I wrote about the American orchestras that are producing and marketing their own recordings. Today, I'd like to pass three pieces of advice along to orchestras, and all other classical musicians, who want to do it themselves, I'm sure I'm betraying ignorance here of a large number of financial and logistical issues. If you've been through this, please inform us by commenting below. But this is how things look from the viewpoint of at least one customer. And you know what they say about the customer.
Downloads, please. CDs are perfectly nice, with their sound quality, booklet art and all. Almost all of the music I purchase for home enjoyment is on CD (don't get me started on the vinyl fetishists). But sometimes, I want it now, especially when I want to program the music on WFCR. Yes I know, we Americans are fixated on immediate gratification, or at least that's what the pundits never tire of telling us. If they could only tell us of the time and place when, given the choice between now and later, people chose later, I would go along with them. Until then, please make downloads of your music available. And while I have you, please let me download separate tracks, if I only want one or a few. None of this sneaky making the best track available only as part of the whole album business.
High-quality downloads, please. Mp3s, the standard download type of iTunes, Amazon and many other on-line retailers, are fine for casual listening. I listen to them all the time. But for serious listening, they just won't do. Compared to high-quality downloads, mp3s sound grainy and patchy, the audio equivalent of a digital photo with too few pixels, and hardly the effect musicians strive to create. With very few exceptions, I don't use mp3s on the air. So, without getting too techno-geeky (mostly because I couldn't even if I wanted to), please offer your stuff in one or more of the "lossless" audio formats, like WAV, WMA, or FLAC.
Work with the retailers. If you want to offer downloads right from your own site, fine. But, as someone who downloads lots of music, it's a pain to have to register on your site just to snag that one track, then figure out how your downloads work, then go back for another track a year later, having of course in the meantime forgotten my username and password...aargh! So, for us frequent downloaders, it's most convenient to get your music from one of the bigger on-line retailers, e.g., iTunes or Amazon for mp3s, Ariama or HD Tracks for high-quality audio files.
Again, I know all this is easier said than done for the musicians. But it's also easier, therefore more often done, for the customer. Comments invited.