By Curtis Campbell–
Several local artists are releasing digital copies of their albums, pointing out that with the decline in sales of vinyl records and CDs, digital albums are proving a far more cost-effective venture.
Stein, an up-and-coming dancehall artist who recently released his debut album, All Or Nothing, said he would not have been able to release an independent album, had he not gone the digital route.
“I went digital because music is not selling physically again. Only in Europe and Japan you will find people purchasing physical copies of records. Otherwise, you will have to sell it on iTunes, Amazon or other outlets,” Stein told The Sunday Gleaner.
The artist disclosed that All Or Nothing is available on more than 400 digital online outlets globally, and is selling units comfortably without a rigid marketing machinery behind it.
“You have to keep up with what is going on these days. Vinyl and CDs that couldn’t be burnt offered more security and revenue for artists, but nowadays it’s people who literally want to support a particular artist who will purchase his album. Otherwise, they just listen to your music from YouTube free,” the Shell Dung The Party artist said.
Stein believes with digital production and marketing, young artists are better able to gain an income through music sales.
“A young artist like me, who is not signed to a major company, can put out an album, because my album was released on my own label, New Plane records. It would cost more to print CDs as an independent artist. Since the release of my album, I have been collecting my statements and it’s looking positive,” the deejay said.
Stein also highlighted what he believes to be unfortunate disadvantages of digital albums.
“The disadvantage is that when somebody purchases your album digitally they can share it with others. But with vinyl they couldn’t do that and people weren’t quick to lend out their vinyl because they were sensitive. Digital also makes people value music less because of easy access,” he said.
Some out of the loop
According to Stein, digital releases also keep those who are not Internet savvy out of the loop.
“A man cudda just walk to the record shop and buy an album or a single, but a nuh everybody know how to use Internet and buy music on iTunes. Mi love music ’til mi girl leave mi because of my dedication, suh mi haffi research and learn all the methods available,” Stein said.
Chuck Fenda, who recently released his Jah Elements album online, shared a similar view.
Fenda told The Sunday Gleaner: “Everybody is moving towards that now. Technology is running things people downloading albums on iPads and phones, and it’s less expensive,” he said.
The Warning singer said he also released a limited tangible representation of Jah Elements for fans who were not keen on the digital purchasing.
“People in Europe prefer the hard copy. They want to look on the pictures and read about the music, so wi still print some tangible copies of Jah Elements,” he said.
Chuck Fenda also said technology provides a medium for him to get feedback from his fans through media like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The artist is gearing up to perform and promote Jah Elements at several shows in the festive season both locally and internationally.
“Yu a guh find some people download the thing digitally and burn it illegally. But the real fans a guh buy the original thing online and support the artiste,” Chuck Fenda said.