WeePOP!

popbands, poplabels, poprecords

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Trev
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Re: WeePOP!

Post by Trev » Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:51

Also to give some context to the cost price of a pressing a limited (250/300) run of 12".

The Tyrannosaurus 12" I did this year cost about £1000 for 250. That is for a basic black vinyl, no insert, no spine, full colour sleeve.

These are my estimates (and to be clear I have no idea who much WeePOP! are paying for their packages) for what these releases could cost to make:

Colin Clary - 300 12" coloured vinyl + a 'Play Along' pack with lyrics and chords sheets - I'd imagine that will come in closer to £1600. Cost price £5.30.
One Happy Island - 300 12" Coloured Vinyl - £1300. Cost Price £4.30.
Let's Whisper - 300 10" coloured Vinyl - £1300 (yep a 10" is no cheaper than a 12"). Cost price £4.30.

I think WeePOP! is probably going to go all out for deluxe packaging and these releases could cost closer to £1800/£2000 each. I know The Just Joans and the compilation releases were packed in more deluxe packaging than I use for Odd Box releases.

If you sell these via a shop as a label you will get between £4 and £5 for each one sold. So no profits on those sales.

You need to make any money you can on website sales. The Tyrannosaurus Dead record was a 12" EP so I sold them for £7 each plus £3 postage. I gave the band 15% of the press - leaving me with 220 to sell. I've sold 150 in 6 months. That's £1050. So I've just broken even. I've now got a slog to sell the rest, as it's not easy to sell 12" records. If I sell the remaining 70 @ £5. I will make a profit of £400 on this run. Not even enough to pay for the next run and that doesn't take into account any promotion costs you incur - sending out 100 promos on CD for each release could cost £80 for each record.

Also postage costs should be mentioned - per 12":

UK £3
Europe £5
Rest of the world £7-£9

EDIT - sorry for talking about an Odd Box release in the WeePOP! thread - just wanted to give a real world example of the costs involved.
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Re: WeePOP!

Post by Jay » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:17

Quote - "After reading your replies it seems that you don't perceive their to be value in a small label doing limited runs and introducing many new bands to us over 6 years, that's fine too."

I don't know how I managed to convey that, but it's about as far from what I actually think as it's possible to get. I genuinely can't think of anything that I believe is more worthy. There really should be, I should place far more value on the charity and voluntary work that some people do, rather than people running record labels, but if I'm being honest about myself, I'm afraid to say I don't. Maybe if I really stopped to analyse it I would, but when I'm digging gardens or installing toilets or conducting market research or manipulating photos or any of the other stupid things I do, I'm thinking about what I can buy from Fortuna Pop or Slumberland or Odd Box or Wee Pop.

The majority of the time I think these items are a fair price. Quite often, as with the Odd Box sale at the moment, I think they're ridiculously cheap. Occasionally, like with these Wee Pop releases, I think they're expensive.

Quote - "You need to make any money you can on website sales. The Tyrannosaurus Dead record was a 12" EP so I sold them for £7 each plus £3 postage. I gave the band 15% of the press - leaving me with 220 to sell. I've sold 150 in 6 months. That's £1050. So I've just broken even. I've now got a slog to sell the rest, as it's not easy to sell 12" records. If I sell the remaining 70 @ £5. I will make a profit of £400 on this run. Not even enough to pay for the next run and that doesn't take into account any promotion costs you incur - sending out 100 promos on CD for each release could cost £80 for each record."

I understand the difficulties of running a small label. I don't know the exact figures, but I do know it's hard. I appreciate everything you've just written about the figures in that last post. As I've said above, I think you're all stars.

The one difference for me in this latest Wee Pop release is that the costs are funded by the punters. That's the whole idea of the venture. As I've already said, a good idea as far as I can see. Profits aren't required to fund the next release because there won't be any more, this is it. I'm not accusing anyone of profiteering, I'm really not, but I thought such a system would make the product cheaper, not more expensive. As you've already said, it's difficult for both labels and consumers, but as a consumer I don't feel it's a terrible thing to point out our side of the deal.

I know I was defensive from the start, but to be fair, I got pretty much what I predicted.

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Re: WeePOP!

Post by Trev » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:25

Fair enough Jay. I think it's safe to say we're on the same side really. Sorry if I came across as arsey. I get a bit defensive around stuff like this.

One last point to ponder - after 5 years of running Odd Box I probably down (in monetary terms) about a 5 figure sum. Would I change it? Not at all. I'm up in so many other ways. Some releases do make money, that shouldn't be sniffed or sneered at, but some don't. I'd imagine Camila could be in a similar position after 6 years of running WeePOP.

I think a Kickstarter campaign is seen as different to pre-orders. When Odd Box does a pre-order it's an attempt to get *some* of the production costs up front. A kickstarter does feel different - but it is essentially a pre-order with bells and whistles.
Last edited by Trev on Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WeePOP!

Post by Trev » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:40

Jay wrote:The one difference for me in this latest Wee Pop release is that the costs are funded by the punters. That's the whole idea of the venture. As I've already said, a good idea as far as I can see. Profits aren't required to fund the next release because there won't be any more, this is it.
I think therein lies the crux of the issue - if the packages were cheaper weePOP! would have needed the goodwill of even more people to pre-order or fund. And that's a risk, the market for these small releases is not that big. Getting just 100 people to fund is probably close to the limit of what was possible. If they'd been priced cheaper they could have got more backers but not actually met the required target. And you have to hit the target to get the funding that has been pledged. So I can understand the pricing based on this factor alone. The fact that I think £20 per LP, free CD and postage is reasonable probably just fuelled my ire at the suggestion that it was expensive.
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Re: WeePOP!

Post by colinsmitten » Sun Nov 24, 2013 17:14

Jay, I think it is fair to find it a little expensive. And I do appreciate you waiting til WeePOP! reached the goal before airing your thoughts. Going from Trev's last comment, I will say that we did talk about about the pricing before the campaign was launched and the goal was to set a goal that was somewhat reachable. And while i don't know the full details of what it all costs, my impression is that meeting the goal doesn't fully fund the releases, but does a lot to help out.

At one point I was advocating for the non-physical releases to be 5 pounds so that there would be an option that anyone could afford and that someone could get to hear the records without having to pay postage or anything. In the end, it was decided that the goal of the campaign was to give folks an opportunity to help Weepop out more than it was a goal to give super cheap options to early adopters. At the same time, the other goal was to be able to do something extra awesome in terms of some of the bonus things, so we have tried to make it fun for anyone who participates in the campaign. It was my hope that even though some of the support levels were high, that having some low level options would still allow the music to be accessible.

I'm sorry if the pricing wasn't a good fit for some of you. I think that if we had more money to make bigger press runs that indeed the price per copy would come down, but the up front cost might have been a goal we couldn't make.

I can't really speak for Camila, but I will say that I am sure that she asked for less than what she needed and is giving more than she got. The albums themselves were made from the heart and I am thrilled that folks have lent a hand to help them come out.

Putting a pricetag on anything bums me out. And it's not unfair for anyone to question anything, I will give you that. Every time I looked at the cost my heart sank. and every time someone donated to support the project my heart skipped a beat.

For a number of years I have been a kickstarter humbug and had the same kind of immediate somewhat negative reaction to bands or labels asking for money as I often do when I see a band with a laptop or ipod on stage playing part of the music. I also feel like I see little labels run by people with big hearts going out of business every day because the folks running them give too much of themselves and the numbers rarely add up to a sustainable enterprise.

So with that in mind, I agreed to support the WeePOP! campaign to help the whole thing come to a clean conclusion.

I am sure that if I had asked camila to put my record out on 3" cdr we could have avoided the whole thing. But we wanted to make the records we wanted to make and camila supported our artistic goals and helped us carry out our plans.

I felt like I owed it to the record I made to make it as awesome as it could be. And I owe it to Camila to support the WeePOP! team. So I suppose that I where i'm at with it.

I get that you like WeePOP! in general, so I am not saying that anybody here is dissing the label or the bands or even the campaign.

Trev, thanks for sharing some ballpark numbers. It is true that a 10" and a 12" have the same pressing cost. a 10" might be less expensive to ship, tho, so we put the album that could fit on that size on a 10". (But I wouldn't call it half an album....)

Jay, some of your thoughts were thoughts I'd had myself. So I applaud your bravery! (not being sarcastic).

colin
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Re: WeePOP!

Post by colinsmitten » Sun Nov 24, 2013 18:10

2 bonus thoughts

1. As far as laptop/iPod bands go, I understand that people need to do whatever they can to make the music they wanna make and I am not a total hater of folks who use laptops or iPods. Some of my favorite people do. And I have been the iPod button presser for friends bands before,too. I think I just like to think of everybody doing it themselves without extra help and was relating that to my sometimes reaction to some kick starters or layered orchestrated shows by one guy with an iPod wheel I'm stuck with my beatup acoustic guitar. It feels like cheating or an unfair advantage to the part of me that doesn't like to thnk about such things.

2. Even as I was working on the Colin clary album in the studio I was talking trash about kick starter. I was in the position of paying for one and a half albums worth of studio time and for mixing those albums, too and I felt I didn't have anything to spare for a friends campaign, even though I wanted their record to come out, too. So when a handful of months later I found out the label was gonna kick start and that that was what we needed to do for the releases to come out I really had to find a way to get behind it and to support camila. The only thing I could think to do was to be as generous with bonus material as I could and offer whatever i had to help make it happen. And thentoncross or fingers and go for it.

I really need to stop posting, but once you get going it is hard to stop.

I feel totally lucky and grateful that the records are gonna get pressed.

And I promise that I spent more out of pocket total for the copies of the records I am getting than anyone who supported the campaign. I think that may be an accurate statement, but I could be wrong. The folks who are helping weepop get the records out are my heroes. Thanks to the magic of kick starter, I will know who they are and feel thankfull to all of them.

I see the error of my old gut reaction cynical ways. And appreciate that small high quality runs can be helped out in this way.

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Re: WeePOP!

Post by Jay » Sun Nov 24, 2013 20:34

Thank you for the in-depth reply Colin. Really interesting to read about the issue from the artists's perspective.

I apologise for the 'half an album' comment, it was mean, I'm sorry. It's clearly more than that and I was exaggerating to stress a point. (Well, depreciating or understating, but they don't sound right, I think I need a wider vocabulary or a new word. Inaggerating?) Anyway, undoubtedly the tactics of someone who isn't sure of the strength of their own argument and a dirty trick really.

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Re: WeePOP!

Post by Barto » Mon Nov 25, 2013 13:11

Trev wrote:
Jay wrote:I feel for those who could only afford the digital releases. They've invested in a project that will bring three beautiful pieces of vinyl in to this world, their money will be used to manufacture them, but they're not going to get one.
I can see that. But to be fair the people that did pledge knew what they were going to get - they had the choice to not pledge at all. Maybe they wanted to offer their support/say thank you for 6 years of releases
I am one of those persons, as I said above. Honestly, I didn't think about the fairness of the price (I had to add £ 11 to the £ 40 because I live out of UK), I just looked at it and said "no, it's too much, but I want to give my support, so I'll just have the digital versions. If I really love one or more of these releases, I'll buy the physical release at Indietracks".

In my vision, anyway, a kickstarter/pledgemusic/crowdfunding campaign is also a way to give a money support to someone that deserves it and wasn't able to get it. I don't think people from WeePOP! made a living with running the label, so, to me, they were doing nothing wrong asking a little bit more than the usual price. Then, reading Colin's post, they are not earning anything even now, but if they were making some money out of these releases, it would have been nothing wrong.

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Re: WeePOP!

Post by Barto » Wed Dec 25, 2013 19:35

Digital albums delivered!

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Re: WeePOP!

Post by Barto » Wed Jan 01, 2014 20:12

at first listen, Colin Clary and One Happy Island albums are good, Let's Whisper is great, in fact I'm already into the second listen and really loving it.

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Re: WeePOP!

Post by colinsmitten » Tue May 13, 2014 00:23

the first of the last weepop releases is out tomorrow. It is the new Colin clary album and there are lots of digital copies available, but only 300 vinyl. Camilla did a wicked awesome job on it and I am biased but it is beautiful. No pressure, and you probably already know about it! But there you go.

I did a 2 part interview with the music weird blog and have a new video made by Nik vestberg for the song I didn't know you were a wizard that features bill bottling and Duncan Barrett.

I feel an obligation to make sure you know about these things, but I really don't wanna nag ya.

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Re: WeePOP!

Post by crystalball » Tue May 13, 2014 22:52

You're not nagging us, Colin! Got my copy the other day but haven't had chance to listen yet. I look at that cat on the cover and my life improves considerably though. Looking forward to playing it.

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Re: WeePOP!

Post by colinsmitten » Tue Feb 10, 2015 17:24

The WeePOP! store closes forever in 4 days. On Valentine's Day (or Vday is the last day?). Listened to the 2-part retrospective mix Camila made on mixcloud the other day. Well done!

Just figured I'd mention it in case anyone wanted to get in before they can't anymore.

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