Re: CD Sales
I really don't see the point in record labels anymore. My band presses our own cds for a less than a dollar a piece and sell them for $10. We still sell plenty of cds and sell about 3 times as many digital downloads. CD baby keeps $4 per cd we sell through itunes. Shirts cost us between 3-5$ a shirt and we sell those for $10 too, there is plenty of profit to be made, and it's really not something you need a record label to do for you.
The main band I am in now, we are planning to do that. We have enough original material to hit the studio the first half of this year and record at some of the better indie recording houses in our area. At every show, we play our originals mixed in with covers and after we play an original, we always get great reviews and audience resonse. And it is now fairly cheap to record a CD using pro-level gear. The best deals are coming from these indie places who are hungry and want to get their studio name out there.
After that, we plan to use Rhapsody, CD Baby, etc. to reach a mass audience and we have been burning our own demo CDs to pass out to booking agents and venues, so we have that process down pretty good now. As soon as we get our originals recorded, we'll sell those at gigs. As far as merchandise, that is in the plans are well.
Will we get rich? Probably not, but at least we'll make some money doing all this ourselves and keeping control over our material and our own destiny. We don't need this money to eat or live on, so that's in our favor.
I don't aim to be the best, just the best looking.