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Tim Sweeney's Guide to Releasing Independent Records Paperback – March, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tim Sweeney is an independent music consultant and one of the music industry's most respected expects in the areas of artist development, record promotion, distribution, and retail marketing. He has worked with over one thousand major label and independent artists (including some of the most successfull of all time) in virtually every musical format. In addition, he is the private consultant to the industry's leading Presidents and CEO's.

Since 1996, his free music business workshops (that he presents around the United States at his own expense), have been attended by more than 10,000 artists, musicians, songwriters and music industry professionals each year.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

A few more things before we leave the section on manufacturing. First, it's a good idea to have about 500 of your CDs sent to you without shrinkwrapping. These are going to be demo copies; they don't need to be shrinkwrapped, so there's no reason to pay for it. (And since shrinkwrapping usually costs about a nickel per CD, this should save you about $25.)

Also, ask your broker if he can have these same 500 CDs "punched." This means that the manufacturer will literally drill a hole through the bar codes of these CDs, which will make it more difficult for people at radio and the press to sell your demos as used (or even new) CDs to local record stores. Believe it or not, there are people in this world who actually steal demos and sell them for personal gain. Because there's easy money to be made, the temptation to steal demos is great, so keep the honest people honest by punching your demos. A top-notch broker shouldn't charge you extra for this service.

Incidentally, if your manufacturer doesn't have the facilities to punch your demos, you can achieve the same effect yourself by hand: just open up the CD, pull out the booklet, and clip off the upper right corner about a half-inch over and a half-inch down using a pair of scissors. "But that makes it look so ugly and unprofessional!" you say. Exactly. That's why no one will buy buy it. But music directors won't hold it against you. I promise.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 149 pages
  • Publisher: Tsa Books; First Edition edition (March 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965131602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965131605
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,642,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Sawyer on November 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
I confess. I read the reviews before I bought the book even though I knew a lot of people who read it and used it. While some reviews said the book is too simplistic, isn't that the point! I read the book in one day, use it as a bible and have had good success in the first month. I got a distribution deal in 1 week. Created a promo kit that actually got me a review and have booked 2 shows at clubs where I couldn't play before. If this is what the info in the book has done for me in 1 month, I want to see what it can do every month. There are too many books written by lawyers that try to talk over your head. This guy writes in plain english. I bought extra copies for my friends. As a side note, I called Sweeney's number in the front of book and he answered the phone himself and talked with me for 15 minutes. Try that with some of the other books I bought. I have also been using Sweeney's Guide To Successfully Playing Live. Helped me sell 11 month CDs at my last show. Betterthen my average of 3 I normally sell. Simple is better and worth your time and money.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Paulo on May 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
A little thin for...(price), only if you value the book by the amount of paper between the covers. There is more relevant information per page in Tim Sweeneys guide than in a collection of books twice the size. If you are at all unsure about how to go about that first release this book is essential. It is clear, concise, and straight to the point, with an easy to follow a-b guide of how to go about it. Yes it may all be a little old hat for today considering there is no mention of the internet, MP3's, multi media CD's etc or any of the other developments within the industry since 96, but if you are interested in an independent record release through the more traditional routes, pressing plant to distibutor to retailer, radio, gigs etc this book is perfect for you. I might add this book is more concerned with the giging band type scenario and doesn't really address the dance or electronic music scene or the numerous new marketing strategies open to the electronic musician, however this book is a really good place to begin to understand the process of, as it says on the cover, releasing an independent record.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore on April 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read Tim Sweeney's articles on the web at Get Signed.com. I lot of musicians I talk with own and have been using a copy of this book. I finally decided to get one for myself.
This is the easiest to read most direct book I have ever seen. I'm embarassed to say that I have spent over $200 on different music business books over the years. Almost all of them are worthless except for maybe one good idea.
Not this book. When I finished it, I noticed that I had something highlighted on almost every page.
Some people have told me this book is to simple. That's what's great about it. You can follow it and use it as a plan to sell more CDs. I know a lot of musicians who bought books by people who "claimed they were in the music business". I got discouraged just like they have.
But Sweeney's book actaully works becuase Sweeney works with bands all the time. If you are willing to do the work he tells you and shows you how to do, you will have success. Or you can complain it didn't work.
Here's the simple fact. My CD is 2 years old. I ordered 1,000 CDs. On my own I sold 300 copies in 1 year. Using Sweeney's directions I have sold almost 700 this year. I am actually waiting for my reorder.
This book is for real.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
Having purchased and read this book AFTER my last band unsuccessfully self-released a CD, I can only hope that others will read this before attempting a self-release.Over the past 3-4 years I have read almost every title I could track down on releasing an independent recording, but NONE come close to Sweeny's book. The information presented here is absolutely essential to anyone even thinking about going it alone. Sweeny's writing style is informal and easy-to-follow, getting straight to the need-to-know info.Having been through the self-release grinder without benefit of this wisdom, it amazes me that all other books don't present this straight-up "horse sense". Don't release a CD before reading this book and absorbing what Tim tells you!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
Though Mr. Sweeney's guide is cheaply produced, can be completely read in an hour and is way overpriced, the information contained therein is immensely practical and may be worth the cost for those seriously considering an independent release. The fact that Mr. Sweeney's advice is grounded in years of real experience makes this book a good investment and perhaps the best buy for the growing crop of project studio owners with little exposure to how the music industry works. Technical advances in the industry may make some of his advice obsolete in a short time, however. Hopefully Mr. Sweeney will cover such rapid changes in upcoming editions of his book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've read this book several times over. Even if your goal is to get a deal with a major label or large indy label, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK! This is exactly what you need to do if you want to succeed as a musical artist or band in this industry. You need to achieve a certain level of success before any bigger labels are going to even want to talk with you. This book gives you a step by step guide on how to achieve that level of success on your own. I have a few other books that I also consider required reading..., but this one is right at the top of my list next to Donald Passman's "All You Need To Know About The Music Business". GET THIS BOOK! You won't be disappointed.
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