Nick Moorhead wrote a great article on this over on the Sonicbids blog. I'm going to use some of his points with my explanations here, but you should still read his post because he offers a lot of good info. Here's my take on the 5 things to remember.
1. You need a visually compelling cover. Artwork sells and it always has. Back in the days before the CD when all we had was vinyl records, people would actually buy a record of an unknown artist just because they found the cover interesting. That still applies today.
2. Make it a limited addition. People can't resist something they think is a collectible. Sometimes by just numbering the products (#14 of 500, for instance) can make them more attractive, and allow you to charge more too.
3. Include some bonus tracks. A fan will buy the product if he knows that there are two songs that can't be found anywhere else. It's the ultimate enticement.
4. Provide a bundle. Sometimes just selling a record or CD isn't enough; you have to include some of your swag as well. Either include a T-shirt, sticker, patch or poster - it doesn't matter what's included to make the package seem like more of a bargain.
5. Make the liner notes special. Once again, back in the days of vinyl records, many people bought records based on the liner notes as well as the artwork. The more info you include (studio, additional players, behind the scenes trivia, etc.) the more fans are likely to purchase it. Including lyrics is also a plus as well!
It's surprising what just a little thought and a little bit of extra effort can do for the sales of physical product. Sometimes it's just that one extra thing beyond the music that gets someone into a buying frame of mind.
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