Six years ago I ran a thing called cassettes for me.
A new tape, with digital copy, every month.
I advertised it with this flyer.
If I started that up again, would anyone be interested?
The basic idea is this:
Every month, we find a new act in our local area.
We record a live set from that band, or we work with them to find existing recorded but unreleased material, or we just use their existing released material at their option.
We make new art work. We master the music for cassette, and have the tapes professionally (or semi-professionally, depending on quantity) produced.
We pay the band more than 50% of profit.
We mail tapes and email digital files.
Ideally, we'll throw in some goodies. Posters or flyers or buttons or stickers.
The original concept had a bunch of other options that were silly and confusing. Those are gone.
If I bring it back, there's one thing I'll change: A digital only subscription.
It costs the same, minus the cost of producing a tape, and just gets you a download.
The Big Idea was just to make sure bands get paid occasionally.
Exposure for them and extra revenue for us doesn't hurt, though.
I'm researching commercial manufacturers now, trying to feel out who's still in business.
I have five or six bands already lined up, and I have a lead on a few dozen others.
If I get a positive enough response here, I'll get someone else to put the website back online and figure out a timetable.
The response wasn't overwhelming, but it was positive (more positive than I expected for something posted after 10PM.)
I'm verifying costs, and I'll throw together a landing page.
Alright. I've verified costs. They are slightly higher than six years ago, but not *significantly* higher, so I'll only have to make minor adjustments to the plan.
I started working on a new landing page. I'll stick a sign up form and a store there soon.
I have also started collecting together the music that will make up the first years worth of releases. I'm going to see about doing a free digital sampler.
I am still working out some logistics (tapes are taking longer than one month to produce right now, do I pre-sell before I have them produced, or do I pre-order the tapes and roll subscriptions over to the next month if we sell through? Or is it a hybrid approach where I pre-order enough for our current subscriber count plus fifty percent, and just eat the extra cost?)
But otherwise I'm feeling good about this endeavour.
I need 30 subscriptions to break even on commercial production. Until we reach the 30 subs threshhold, we'll go DIY.
I might actually stick to the DIY method past 30 subscribers, depending on the difference in cost and effort.
If this is successful, we can expand
I guess I should start tagging my #TapeClub updates.
I've been thinking about this a lot more, and I've made some more decisions:
Subscriptions should not be the default, because subscriptions are deceptive. People should be able to subscribe after receiving their first tape, if they'd like to keep going.
I think that's more equitable.
@ajroach42 love the idea but I have been downsizing all of my space and as much as I love mix tapes I got to leave it off the boat
I just came up with a related idea possibly due to being on my 3rd Olde Fortran I mean beer.
"New podcasts in your floppy drive" Expedition Sasquatch and possibly other podcasts distributed on floppies.
@kelbot I'm playing with something like that right now. I'll probably be set to launch it (or scrap it) within a few days.
@ajroach42 Haha, love it!
@ajroach42 Hmmm..I'm interested in the music, but not the cassettes.
@gedvondur we'll have a digital only option for sure
@ajroach42 Then count me in!
@ajroach42 That sounds awesome, I’d definitely be interested!
I’ve wanted to do something similar to that before actually.
What area is local, if you don’t mind?
@wdavery North GA, south Tennessee, North Carolina, norther South Carolina.
Basically Atlanta to Asheville to Nashville.
@ajroach42 I don't understand.
Would everyone subscribing be responsible for finding local acts, recording them and negotiating these pay deals?
As I write it out, the answer seems clearly no, but it was my initial understanding.
I guess the use of "we" there might be confusing.
"We" meant my team here.
We do that, and send tapes and digital files to you.
@ajroach42 oh this looks neat!
i like physical media a lot, even if i don’t have anything that plays cassettes
@ajroach42 Yes, I would be very interested.
@ajroach42 am interested in generally anything that’s gonna get me closer to my goal of owning my own music collection, although I’d like to get a feel for the bands/type of music (maybe different packages for different genres?)
I’d also recommend “pretotyping” (not a typo) if you’re looking to test this in a more data driven way without relying on opinions. There’s a pdf called “pretotype it” floating around online and also a book.
@ajroach42 I ❤ this idea! 🎶 What kind of music are you take on the tapes?
@ajroach42 id be in
@ajroach42 I like the idea, especially because I might be switching back to a car with a cassette deck at some point in the near future. I’m trying to keep my subscriptions to a minimum, so would it be possible to sign up for just a month or two?
@drewzero1 definitely. Also just a la carte tapes.
@DHeadshot I still have the domain name, but the site is currently offline.
I'll stick it back up later this week, I imagine.
@ajroach42 No joke: where do you get a good cassette player? Do you have any tape players you'd recommend? I could plausibly be interested in cassettes if I had something to play them in, which I currently don't.
@skyfaller I tend to use vintage gear most of the time, which I have talked about here on several occasions. I plan to keep a small selection of tested vintage gear for sale online, but that's not super helpful.
The best new tape player I found recently was the cheap walkman knockoff Target was selling under their house brand.
Most of the cheap tape players for sale have major speed control problems, and there are no not cheap modern tape players.
@skyfaller any late 80s component deck with a good belt will sound great.
I can usually pick them up cheap at goodwill.
An actual walkman branded walkman (again, so long as the belt works) always sounds remarkable.
My favorite tap deck, though, is a REALISTIC brand deck I picked up on ebay a few years ago. It's just a cheap radioshack thing, but it has the best and most consistent sound of any I've owned.
@ajroach42 it's ok, don't worry, as soon as it's safe to visit my parents again I'll just get my Teddy Ruxpin out of the attic and have it sing all of my cassettes to me
This sounds really interesting! I would definitely sign up for something like this if it was located closer to me (western Europe).
Maybe I will still go for your digital version. I'll start by checking out the bandcamp link you mentioned 😃
A social network for the 19A0s.