Rob Rodell

I released my A Cappella Christmas album into stores last month. Even though it was not my first physical release, I still made a lot of mistakes and learnt so much from it. Here are 10 points I specifically want to document:

  1. Always start earlier! I was only able to afford the cost of the physical production at the end of November, so I only got my stock in December. It was way too late, and I did myself a grave disservice and damaged my sales by doing it so late.
  2. It always costs you more than you think it will! Stores don't take duplicated CDs, they only take replicated CDs. It's a much more expensive exercise, and the minimum quantity is 200, so save money!
  3. People will let you down... I had guaranteed distribution into a whole bunch of CD stores that had been confirmed in writing. Just a few days before Christmas I still couldn't find my CD in certain stores. It was disheartening, but hey, I just had to be grateful for what I got. This leads me to my next point:
  4. Nobody owes you anything! And my next point:
  5. You have to get off your rear and do it yourself. This is a hard lesson to learn... Once you start doing this, and people see you are serious about your career, then they start taking you seriously. Before that, you might as well be an Idols finalist.
  6. You can NEVER do enough marketing! So, I got a CD into stores. So what!???! If nobody knows about it and nobody knows who you are, then it means very little. I always say marketing has 2 simple elements to it: i) give people what they want, and ii) tell them that you have it! Sometimes knowing marketing from a book (I am doing my doctorate in marketing communications for music) is different to actually getting down and doing it on the street...
  7. It's a tough and competitive world out there! Especially over Christmas, there is a lot of competition. My album was up against old Christmas favourites like Mariah Carey, Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion, and Michael Buble's new Christmas CD, which was everywhere. I was swallowed up by the big names. But I take solace from the fact that the big names were once small names too. You just gotta start somewhere...
  8. I am building up my bullet-proof vest. Every time I release something new and get it out there, I am becoming more used to the hard graft involved, and I am better able to handle the disappointments and deal with the hard knocks. If the Rolling Stones go out on tour every time they release a new album (and they are a 50-year-old brand in 2012), then what the hell is my excuse?
  9. If I could, I would do it all again! I have no regrets about releasing my music for all the world to hear. It is my calling. It is my telos. I will release more albums in 2012 and beyond...
  10. I still love music and the music industry. I can sometimes get so discouraged by the toughness of this industry. But I have to remember what Seth Godin said: "Hey, if it was easy, everybody would be a rock star!" The truth is, I really love singing, and I really love music. That is never gonna change, no matter how much I fail. As my friend Obita always says too: "You cannot change your design. It is who you are." I just love that!