We exhibited at two trade shows this month.
We were in Austin, Texas for 11 days, first at the 3-day long "South by Southwest Interactive and Film festival" (www.sxsw.com). (see photos) During the day, we spoke to independent film producers and handed out about 2000 CD compilations. That week, 3 film license deals came through (all small, but it's a start).
Sadly, I found that most small film makers want major label "hit" music so that audiences will recognize the song, even though they can't afford to pay what major labels want. Part of this, I think, is that the film-makers just don't know where to go to find real music they can license.
The South-by-Southwest music show was less useful for us: lots of unsigned "southern rock" bands and singer/songwriters, looking for record contracts. We're happy to talk to them, but those categories aren't big sellers for Magnatune.
The Game Developer Convention in San Jose was amazing! (see photos) We gave away almost 3000 CDs, mostly electronica and metal/punk (but about 1000 of the other genres too) and met game designers from Lucasarts, Electronic Arts, Namco, and many other big names. Lots of medium-size game companies too, and people were really excited by our idea (*real* music on games, not the usual churned out synth-junk). I have high hopes for success from the contacts we made.
I've previously mentioned that we're going to have our music distributed through iTunes & other services. This is still moving forward, but is taking longer than expected because we've heard from several sources we trust that the company we were going to do this through is not trustworthy and tends not to pay unless sued. So, we're talking to other companies now.
I also previously mentioned a CDR-on-demand service that I was planning on signing up with. After talking to two companies that do this, it's obvious to me that both companies are not quite organized yet and not wouldn't deliver a good product reliably, at a decent price. So, I'm looking at doing the CDR-on-demand thing in-house, and have purchased a CDR printer/burner robot from Primera. I'll be integrating the CDR robot into our shopping cart software, and trying out a system where we burn and mail the CDs ourselves.
We sent about 20 custom CDRs, each with 3 songs on them, to various film and TV production companies who had solicited music for a specific scene in their productions. I'm paying a "lead service" who talks to these production companies, finds out what music they need, and tells us what the scene is, and what kind of music the producer wants.
Here are some examples: "SYNOPSIS: A classic B-movie Horror film. Starring scream queen Stephanie Beaton as a "one armed lady cop" who's chasing the serial killer who tore it off. Need High Energy Rock" and "Drama Starring Joe Estevez (I got the hook up, Rice Girl) set in the 70's when doctor is shot and becomes an anti-abortion activist. Need 70's classics or sound-a-likes. " We always pick 3 different songs from different bands which we think might be suitable, burn that with a custom label for the producer, and send it off with a cover letter. I don't think that many other companies go through the effort to pick relevant music, so I'm hoping this effort pays off.
I'm finalizing an agreement with a German record company to print and sell physical CDs of Magnatune's albums (in Germany only). They want to start with these 9 releases below, and if these go well, they want to try more Magnatune titles.