NetMusic http://www.netmusic.com/ is now selling most of our catalog on-line. We signed an agreement with them in January, and everything Magnatune has (as of the beginning of this month) is up. The owner of the site, Glen, personally listened to most of our catalog and was so excited by several of the bands that he's been featuring Magnatune artists on the home page, giving us 50% of the featured artists on the "tracks" section (currently, Brad Sucks, Rocket City Riot, and Cargo Cult). Note that unlike Magnatune, NetMusic *does* sell single tracks. We gave NetMusic a 50% margin when selling our music, which is higher than average, but that's another reason he's pushing our music so hard. Glen tells me sales are still quite modest, but picking up.
Last month, I mentioned an agreement with a German record company to sell physical CDs of a few of our artists. NovaTune http://www.novatune.de/ is now printing and selling CDs of Cargo Cult, Emma's Mini, Tom Paul, William Brooks, and Bjorn Fogelberg. NovaTune is similar in philosophy and business to Magnatune, letting musicians keep their rights and paying them a very fair 4 Euros per CD sold (which is also our deal with them), and only signing up music they really like. The main difference is that NovaTune makes physical CDs (and artwork) using a just-in-time printing system, selling the physical CDs both online and through distributors and stores in Germany. I watching NovaTune closely to see if their model might work in the USA and the rest of Europe. A few more Magnatune artists are currently in the pipeline to be sold via NovaTune, and should show up next next month.
The average purchase price for Magnatune albums in April was $8.59, still very healthy and above the recommended price of $8.00.
We sent about 60 custom CDs to movie and film producers this month, in response to their request for music submissions (we get notified of these requests for music from a lead service we pay, and put 3 songs on each custom CDR that we think would work for the scene). So far, nothing has come from any of these CDs sent (no acknowledgement of receipt of any of them), which is disappointing, but we'll keep plugging away at it. We paid for 6 months of this lead service (it's not cheap), and we'll give it the full 6 months of honest attempt to make it work.
The USA Magazine Business 2.0 did a large story on the Creative Commons, heavily featuring Magnatune and our artist Cargo Cult http://magnatune.com/info/press/
We've slowed down the rate of release of new artists on Magnatune, to six to eight artists released every 2 weeks. We've done this because sales have been flat the past 3 months and we don't want to split the same monthly sales amount across more and more musicians, unless those new musicians are truly amazingly wonderful. This also helps us keep our reputation of having tremendously good music. Finally, this seems to be a pace at which people who receive our newsletter can handle the new artists. When we were adding artists faster, we noticed that new albums didn't get much of a chance on the 'new' section of the home page, and didn't get listed in the "customers who bought this also bought" because they weren't featured long enough. We will probably keep fiddling with this.