What we do: Production of Commercial CDs
Odradek Studio handles everything from recording, editing, and mastering, photo and video shoot, coordinating an interview, design of cover art and type setting, researching and writing the libretto blurb, to obtaining mechanical rights to the music where necessary and paying the required licenses, putting the CD into digital distribution, warehousing, and shipping physical CDs to distributors, marketing and PR, to royalties administration. All discs are provided with unique EAN/UPC and ISRC codes, and so are store, radio, and internet ready. You, the artist, give final approval over the master DDP file to be delivered to plant for reproduction, and will be involved in all decisions regarding your music. The CD will be made commercially available generally within nine months of the recording.
We also produce and coproduce multiple performance events for our roster.
Type of release (physical, streaming, download), coverage and numbers
We always release physical products in addition to digital – physical still accounts for 80% of our sales, though the manufacture and shipping does count for almost 40% of the costs. But in order to gain traction with critics and press, we think physical CDs are still really needed. And we take great care in presenting them as well as we can, in terms of the packaging. If you’ve not had a chance to see some of our albums I’d be happy to post some to you.
Of course we also release a digital version, on all of the main digital outlets. iTunes is by far the biggest, and we submit all of our CDs as “Mastered for iTunes”, which gets us better placement in the store (in fact, Carion’s CD that we released last year was chosen as one of the best of 2015 and was on the central slider for Apple Music and the iTunes store last month).
We also prepare a full color version of the booklet for the digital platforms, with additional photographs, and sometimes even text. Our digital products are distributed via eOne Distribution in the USA, which also does our North American physical distribution. They are the largest independent distributor in the states, and have a huge presence in the US market (they were formerly Koch before being acquired).
Regarding streaming, we are present on all the primary sites (spotify, Tidal, Apple Music for instance). We have reservations about streaming, it is very likely that being present there cannibalizes digital sales, and the revenue models are not thought out for classical music particularly, with long tracks that are unlikely to get significant replays. These platforms are also terrible in terms of presentation and metadata. But we leave it always to the artists to decide if they want to be present on them. Occasionally we release only a few tracks to them, leaving the rest grayed out in hopes the listener decides it’s worth purchasing the rest. In any case, it is up to you, the artist.
Booklet content and graphic design
We take great care in the design and presentation. We release typically 6 panel digipacks, with a 24 page booklet with an original program note, and all the materials are translated in three languages (normally English, German, and French). When it is opportune we do other packages, for instance our complete Rachmaninoff piano series is in 3 volumes with a 48 pages booklet, and uses new types of digipack, and the Carion’s CD is an 8 panel digipack with CD and DVD.
We normally arrange a photoshoot ourselves, and fly our photographer out to meet the artist and take the pictures, since it is often necessary to have someone who already knows what types of combinations of shots are useful. But we can also work with preexisting material if it works.
Marketing & Promotion
We are distributed in 17 countries so far. The biggest gaps, in terms of market share, are Australia. Our strongest markets are USA, Germany, UK, France, and Japan, in that order.
The distributors do a great deal of ground work promoting our releases – we chose distribution partners who have a limited but high quality catalogue of labels, and we get a decent amount of personal attention from all of them. This includes mailing out the CDs to their press lists, and following up with reviews editors, which is very helpful.
We also have retained a PR firm since October, based in Berlin, called Artefakt Project Management. Currently they have been concentrating on Germany, but they are quite strong as well in UK, N. Europe, Italy, and Spain. They are less strong however in France.
In addition to this, we do what we can ourselves – so far there are 6 of us who work more or less full time on the classical catalogue, and additional help from Emme Produzioni Musicali for jazz.
Starting this year we will be creating video trailers for all of our releases – we’re laying the groundwork now for when physical CDs will no longer be the main medium. We have a 4K Sony FS7 camera and Ronin gimbal, a second Sony A7s, portable lights, and high quality location sound recording gear. Now in addition to the photoshoot we will send a second person to record an interview, and if possible, some rehearsal or performance. We also have 3 HD panasonic fixed cameras, a live video mixer with live-streaming capability, and several Canon 5d Mark iii at our disposal. We’re prepared for basically any video requirement.