setting price CD

Setting the price of your CD: Six Things to Consider

The right price for your CD is the price that people are willing to buy in an instant. But it gets tricky because, of course, apart from that the price should also be enough to cover your expenses and pay royalties/ shares once all the CDs are sold.

And oh, some profit left for you maybe? Just maybe. But the thing is, unless you’re a big artist, it’s not likely that you’ll recoup all your expenses on the first 1,000 discs sold.

There are so many things to consider when setting the price for your CD.

Here are some of them:


DVD Replication Price Page

Did you let a professional CD replication company (like Unified) press your CDs? If so, how much did you spend for your CDs?

A minimum of 500 CDs with full color CD packaging and wrap would usually cost $1.5 at Unified Manufacturing. If you did the DIY route and did everything on your own, you had spent more or less the same amount (but professional quality not assured).

Compute everything including the fee you pay your designer for CD artwork layout, coffee during meetings, etc.


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It’s incorrect math (and a bit of a skewed expectation) to recoup all expenses in recording the album by selling the first 1,000 CDs.

Your recorded music is a long-term investment and ROI should not be relied upon the CD sales, but to your whole career in the long term.

However, if you’ve spend a lot in recording, then considering to price your album a few cents higher is advisable as long as it won’t affect the sellability of the CDs. But if recording was so cheap it’s almost free, then you have the choice to set a lower price.


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Do you have investors? Did you cover songs? If so, how will the pie be shared?

All these payables should be factored in as well. You do not want to have debt to these people just because you set the price too low.


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The “normal range” is between $5- $15. Anything lower or higher than that means risk.

Selling too low might mean selling many but with very low profit, selling too high might mean people will be less willing to buy your CD. Do some research about other artists that are similar to you.

If you’re friends with them, contact them and ask them about their sales and how they set prices. Of course you have to know if their album is similar to yours (number of tracks, kind of CD packaging, etc).


Assessing Value for Money in Supplier Negotiations - Business Negotiation Academy

What is the worth of your CD? How many tracks do you have? Do you have small freebies attached to it?

Do you have a really cool CD packaging?

If you will sell your CD at a higher price, will they all say “it’s worth it”? If you think your CD is “worth it” , then set a higher price!


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CDs during gigs can be slightly higher because when people see you perform, it’s easier to convince them to buy your CD.  Same as during street performances, mall shows, etc.

People will be hypnotized to buy your stuff so why not sell it at a slightly higher price, right? The more intimate you can get with your audience, the higher the price tag.

But if you’re selling it online, then go easy on the price.



If you want to sell more and if  people to feel they have more value for their money, then sell CDs with your merch. Price it cheaper than their individual prices combined, of course.


Actually, put free anything. People love the word free. Just make sure you’re still earning.


One of the best ways to make your CD more valuable is by making the CD packaging really beautiful.

So you can figure out the best price for your CDs, make sure you know the role of selling CDs are in your finances as well as your career in general.

You can even give away your CDs for free if that is part of your big picture marketing-wise.


James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD, custom vinyl records and merch company in LA.

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