I've had a shop on-and-off for about five years. Obviously, it doesn't rake in a lot of money—that's not what it's there for, really. But it helps keep things afloat and helps sustain me as an artist [normally it goes towards train journeys or mallets].
In that time, I have noticed that I have only ever sold one download.
Part of this might be down to Ogg Vorbis fanaticism: but even with the switch to MP3 recently, people still want CDs. Although I am of course dealing with a miniscule number of people, this flies in the face of predictions dating back to 2001 [perhaps earlier—the earliest I could find was this well-reasoned article], to this infographic from 2009, as well as many opinions around the Internet.
But these commentators do not think about the sort of person that enjoys the physical product; and even though the world population is getting younger, we are all living longer. Quite a few of us remember vinyl, and gatefold sleeves; liner notes; and design.
In my view, the standard presentation of CDs took that away, plasticized and thus devalued the music: and if you were going to get a dull generic case, why would you spend money on it? All you want is the music. But the effort and design in music packaging is important—there are books about that very thing. Making the covers myself is not just about cost or the planet—it's about care and wanting the listener to have something different. And I hope that bears out!
Listeners who download music still have collections of physical music. There are few who get rid of the CDs/vinyl/cassettes completely, even after possibly transferring them.
Over the past few weeks, I've suggested to a few people they might want to download an album. The response:
Well, to be honest, I prefer having the CD... and so, in what's been a total hand-wringer for me, I'm making downloads on request only. It saves me space on here: I don't need to worry about formats: and I'm listening to people who want to listen.
The second change is that I've added an
alternative payments page. If you want to buy something but don't like using PayPal, you can send me the list of items and then we can talk about settling payment. It's old school, but also more open than just allowing for electronic payments.
Let me know what you think of the changes!