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Picking a Format
There was a time when getting CDs manufactured was the only way. But now that the death of the disc has been foretold, many bands are going straight to digital — which is well and good, but leaves you with nothing to sell at shows or send to radio stations.
"We prefer a physical CD," explains Gabriela DiDonna, promotions director for WPTS-FM at Pitt. "Digital is still hard for us, so even a burned copy is better than a digital submission." WYEP's Cindy Howes agrees: "In this digital age, sending an MP3, ZIP or RAR might seem best. This is not the case at WYEP."
Vinyl is wonderful, but we can't all afford to put it on wax. A hybrid approach — making a small run of CDs for promotional purposes, but pushing downloads as the main medium for your album — might be ideal at this point in history.
Or you could go another route: Local songwriter and provocateur Ali Spagnola released her Power Hour album last year on ... a USB drive in the form of a shot glass. It incorporates the theme of the album (a game in which a shot of beer is taken once per minute for an hour) and is a unique format. It's managed to get Spagnola national attention on websites like Discovery.com, Coolest-Gadgets.com and CoolHunting.com — not places you'd generally get publicity for your album. So think big: Sometimes the medium really is the message.