the books

 
 project: Monkey Pox Mixes

 Disc 1, 2, 3 & 4. Each release a set of 50.

   
production expenses total
3" compact discs   Qty: 55* x  4 = 220 @ .69 each 151.80
Photo-positive screen plate: 10.00 10.00
Photo emulsion for screenprint 26.55
3" cd-r plastic sleeves Qty: 220 @ .10 each 22.00
Color cardstock 250 sheets for sleeve inserts 8.55
injet cartridge - black. 17.95
 
total production cost 236.85
cost per record  (236.85 / 220 discs) 1.08

production notes:

* EXTRA DISCS: For example, There are 50 discs in each of the monkey pox series, but I always print a few extra discs in case of errors in production such as duplication fault, scratched discs, miscount, etc. (and the possibility that in the future I'll want to hawk a few on ebay.)

   DISC PRICES: The price I pay per blank recordable compact disc is higher than what you'll find through some wholesalers and even retail outlets. The reason for this is that I want to record onto the highest quality blank disc available so that our CD records are as error, artifact, and skip free as possible and will last over the course of time.
When i first started with recording onto blank cd's, i scoured the web for the most insanely low disc prices available----what i found out, though, is that the cheaper the disc, the more likely it was to record with errors, skips, etc (not to mention that cdr's sometimes actually die out and refuse to play after only a short lifespan of a few months- hey, if we could afford it, i'd do every record on vinyl- i would!!! Anyway, it has to do with the quality of the ink dye used in the manufacturing process and overall conformance to industry specs for the compact disc format...so, through trial and error, i've found that paying extra for quality discs is worth the assurance that each disc will sound the same and continue to function properly over time.
  other factors: While I wouldn't consider what we do at coach and 6 to be a "professional" operation, a lot more goes into the production of a record than meets the eye. Various factors- the most obvious being time- are not figured into the overall cost as detailed above. The reason is reasonability. Coach and 6, as a record label, must help to sustain the cost of projects in order to be considered functional. For each project, I try to be fair in determining which costs the bands will shoulder and which the label will. Besides time, other cost factors frequently handled by the label include: Shipping costs and supplies such as cd mailers, padded envelopes, etc., web site hosting and maintenance, equipment for project development: computers, media duplication equipment, printers, screen printing equipment and misc. supplies...basically, everything that makes up the "grey area" when it comes financing a production. I'm telling you these things so you'll know that they have been taken into consideration and so you'll know exactly how and why we arrive at a cost- in this case- of $1.07 per record. I think I said at the time of disc 1's release that if you're able to cover this cost- a buck a cd- for each disc you receive, that'd work just fine, so let's stick with that for this project. The next addition to this section will describe the distribution of the discs, receipts from sales, and how all that shakes down.
business plan for 'Monkey Pox Mixes'
Before I discuss the distribution and receipts for Monkey Pox Mixes, I think it makes sense to get an idea of the business plan for this release. One thing I enjoy about running coach and 6 is the process of organizing things and learning through trial and error how to improve things for the future. It might seem like common sense, but I've only recently decided that from now on, each project will require at the earliest stage possible, a thorough discussion of finances with all concerned parties. This is a departure from the past method of just forging ahead with a project and worrying about the finances later. That, as far as i know, has worked fine so far; I think there has always been a sense that we're just doing this for the love of it and nothing's likely to come of it anyway, as far as money goes, so why worry about it? And yes, and I still feel this way, however, again, in the spirit of good relations, it just makes sense to settle financial matters from the start, if for no other reason than to make people comfortable with how things work.
          Now, that said, there has never been a thorough discussion of Monkeyhouse finances. Had the project started under my currently enlightened frame of mind regarding finances, you'd have been consulted at the outset, or at the point the decision was made to go ahead with a record. Let me address the topic now:
         I always expect to lose money on record projects; the method has always been to 1) Focus on the substance of the project, the music, and reach the artists vision with as little compromise as possible 2) Package the projects(duplicate them to cd/vinyl and encase them for distribution) in a way that is economically reasonable, but also in-line with the artists style and the decorum of the label. 3) Put the finished project into the hands of as many interested people as possible. 4) Aim to break-even while accomplishing steps 1-3.
          Step 3 is the crux of my philosophy on coach and 6, maybe a point of departure for some. But, what is it we do? Okay, make music, for example. Now take a person who makes music and sells music, what do they do? They make music and they sell music. But which is more important, to make music or sell music? If you decide 'sell music,' then consciously or unconsciously- you turn onto a path that can only lead to one artistic compromise after another. Now, if your name is Paul Simon, you can turn the world on its ear and sell a trillion records without compromise and do well and be satisfied as no doubt he is. But few have the world beating down their door, as he does, for their next record.
      So here we are, in fargo, north dakota, as far removed from the music-biz world as one could be in the U.S. To attempt to achieve commercial success without leaving town would surely qualify you, on a scale of absurdity, as an existentialist hero. That's why I like Fargo: it's very easy to decide that 'making music' is more important than selling it; there are few distractions that can lead to delusions of grandeur and cause you to dillute your creativity with nods to commercialism.
              What I've decided is that I enjoy this, the process of making things, projects, call them what you will...I enjoy it in the same way, i suppose, that a gambler relishes the draw of the cards; and so we both blow our money for this entertainment. Fine then, fine. Don't you just love it when you find out that the captain of the ship is insane?
             Sorry for that bit of long-windedness- but somehwere in there is the essence of what I believe in- and I hope you're still with me.
            So, what can we do then? We make something- a record- no?. We share it - this thing, our idea- with people, friends- as if to say, "here- this is what's been going on with me, why I've been so scarce lately."
       I choose not to sell this person a bit of my life, but to share it with him. If by chance, some curious stranger is interested to see about this- maybe a friend of this friend -then it is easier to go, okay, I cannot just give this to everyone, as it does cost money, survival money to make this thing, so I choose then to sell it, and to facilitate this process, to make it easier to share, we use what resources are reasonably at our disposal: our website, local record shops. And to make it easier to share these things, we don't charge the same price as the businessmen who are trying to make money, for then we start to have to do the things to compete with them, and begin a battle we cannot win, so instead we make it an attractive price that invites the curious.
           What is the purpose then? Why all the absurdity? I know X guy locally who does alright with his gig...Hey, great. Great for him. He's figured out a way to make it work in a way that must keep him happy. That's just plunderphonic.
       The purpose, our purpose, my purpose, to be precise, is to communicate something...what, I don't know, an idea I suppose...a scream amid the chaos of the approaching oblivion. If the scream is real enough, people will believe it; I won't have to sell it to them. I will have communicated something genuine.
      No I am not on drugs or drunk as I write this. These words and sentences are carried by the inertia of thoughts that lead to this general ending that is not precise and does not imply a philosophy that can be organized into methods of dealing with things. It's just an extreme exposure to a feeling or way of looking at things that sometimes influences decisions around here.
          Okay, now where were we? The finances....the decison I made, as the project developed, was that we would go with the usual mode of operation with the record project: to put together a record and share it with friends and whoever else might be interested. If we went with a low number - say 50 of each disc, we could keep our costs low & at the same time bulid exclusivity into our project.
       Each member could help defray costs by contributing $1 for each record they received, and in turn they could do with them what they wished- give them away, sell them at a profit, and so on.
      Also, I, on behalf of coach and 6, would ship away about 10 copies from each set to people across the country who I know are "into" off-beat music and different kinds of things. We would not get anything in return for these discs- but they would likely be appreciated, and once in a while, it might lead to some publicity, as in the case of a web 'zine writer who recently published a positive review of disc #1.
      Personally, I'd rather put records in the hands of someone who's likely to be interested, then an acquantance who could give a rip about the music; knowing a record is in the hands of someone who's gonna attach meaning to it, is worth giving up the cost put into it.
      Now, after sending records to people on this exclusive coach and 6 mailing list, and getting requested copies to band members, I would put the remainder of the records (from each set of 50) up for sale at a local record store- such as cheapo records, and at a price aimed only at covering the cost of the record's production. I'd also leave some at the Vinyl connection where Jim always has a way of hooking up the right people with the right music. I stopped "selling" records there years ago.
        I think- for a project in its infant stage -these are sensible approches to sharing our music with people- without breaking our pocketbooks or theirs.
      If you'd fancy that at some point down the road, all this music sharing would lead to some sort of following, then the principle of demand would come into play and perhaps we would earn a profit on our work. I never said I wasn't a capitalist, just a musician first.
       But, back to reality....know that at the commence of future projects, you will be solicited for input on its business plan, and know that for the Monkey Pox Mixes, I have acted, as always, with (what I feel are) the best interests of the artist in mind.
       Jeezuz! Sorry 'bout the length on that.
        
distribution total (after all discs are distributed as planned)
who qty. net
band members 120 120.00*
coach and 6 mailing list 40 0
cheapo records        30 ** 30.00*
vinyl connection 20 0
* indicates projected net, not actual.
** disc 3 not included: bundled with zine & distro'd for free or retailer cost.
total 210 150.00

Summary Coach and 6 project investment 236.85
  net from sales and member investment 150.00
  project total loss / profit - 86.85

conclusion
Well, what an idiot! Why not just sell the records for a buck or so more and cut a profit!? Coulda. Coulda. But, to get in touch with people- put records with interested people, I'll bet we couldn't have better spent that 86.85! Hell, the fun alone was worth it!!!
Now, who's up for another? I'll be in touch. : )
 

oct 28 2003

Monks: Wow, how about that...just reviewing my breezy statements from yesterday- so sorry about the convolution and length- and already I've stumbled across an oversight: If you look on the coach and 6 catalog page, you'll see the pox mixes on sale for $4. Why isn't that listed on projected net revenue? Because the cds that are for sale are the ones I received & paid for ($1/pc.) as a band member- about 7 discs...that's right, I'm re-selling my cds to the public at a $3 profit! And if I run out of mine, I'll likely ask if anyone else has an extra one or 2 they'd like to sell. See, this all works- sorta. Anyway, keep the ironing board out. :)

oct 27 2003

Monks: Ready for some long-winded prose? Check out the additions to the project break-downs on distribution...and then settle in for a long nap!

oct 26 2003

Monks: I'll use this column to alert you whenever I make changes to this page; from time to time it will happen that I overlook an expense or some category of a production that needs attention. You'll be able to scroll this column for those adjustments. My next planned addition to this page will be a distribution and receipts section for the monkey pox mixes.