From the story –
While the many layers of complex contracts, discounts and placement programs can make it tough to know exactly how much of your dollar a band gets from a retail outlet, there's one reassuring certainty. When you buy your album directly from the band, it actually sees significantly more money.
That's because in this scenario – say, when you buy it from a band at a show – the musicians function as the retail store. Which means they pay the wholesale cost for the album, and you pay the retail to them. "So they're purchasing from the label and the money that goes back to the label is paid back to them in their royalty share," Barger explains. "But all of the markup that would normally go to the retail store goes to the band when you purchase it at a show."
Even if you subtract a fee from the venue, that can mean an extra five or six dollars per sale. Which can add up.
Plus, there's a bonus. The San Francisco-based musician John Vanderslice calls sales via digital or brick and mortar outlets "essential" but "unknowable transaction[s] to me." Handing over a copy of an LP to a fan at a show, though, is his favorite "It's a totally exciting and very pure thrill that will never die with me. Like half of the fun of playing a live show for me is going to the merch table and talking to people and signing stuff. ... It feels really great to hand-deliver that to a fan."
The story doesn’t mention if you purchase a CD or a download directly from the band’s website, but I suspect the same basic situation applies.
The few times that I do get to go to shows, I like to buy something from the band if I have any cash on hand. I know that merchandise sales are hugely important to bands on the road and I like to support them in any way that I can.
For me when it comes to buying music, I am definitely a brick and mortar man. In fact I think it is safe to say that at least 75% of my music purchases occur at Guestroom Records in Norman. I’m really not a fan of downloading music. Part of this is because my internet/computer at home leaves a lot to be desired, but more than that I like having the physical CD to hold and the liner notes to read. I also like have stacks of really kick ass CDs in my house! So when it comes time for me to make my purchases, I much prefer to give my money to a local business and to be honest Guestroom Records is the best record store that I have even seen. That’s not to say that I won’t pick something up at a Borders, Wal-Mart, Hastings, or Vintage Stock, because from time to time I do (it actually kind of amazing the out of print gems you can find used at Hastings) but at the end of the day, Guestroom gets the vast majority of my business.