As a musician I’ve been pretty annoyed with the quality and limitations of some of the services that are offered to musicians and bands theses days.  Certain sites will sell and distribute your albums  … but for a 30-40% commission or a ridiculous yearly contract fee, and without giving you easy access to your data in order to figure out where and how you should focus your efforts in marketing yourself and your music.  Those same sites won’t let you also sell your related merch along side you music, so you either need to setup and manage your own website to do that, or go to another 3rd party site that will charge another massive commission to list those items.  You need to find yet another place to go to actually produce the physical copies of your albums, and they usually have minimum runs, setup fees etc, so you end up with 1000 copies of an album that you really only needed a couple hundred of in today’s mostly digital marketplace.  etc  …  so on and so forth.  I like being an indie musician, but I don’t like getting nickle-and-dimed to death or being taken advantage of and seen as somebody elses cash cow.

I started Willful Wreckords, LLC as an umbrella for producing my own music when I was in the band 10 Gray Tuesdays, as well as for doing some freelance work mixing and mastering albums and doing audio restoration.  I’m a engineer and computer scientist by day, so I’ve always ended up doing a lot of the IT and tech management responsibilities for bands that I’ve been involved with anyway.  Formalizing it into an LLC was the logical next step.  I enjoy doing the technical work with music production and distribution as well as making music itself.  And like many indie musicians and artists, I don’t do it for the money as my day job pays the bills, but I’d like to at least not lose money while I’m at it.

I’ve been working pretty hard to make the new WWRKDS site and the company an example of a different way of doing things that actually has the artists best interest and needs in mind, and slowly but surely things are coming together to make this vision a reality.  My end goal is to have all of these new features I’ve been working on available to our affiliate and sponsored artists to use, with sponsored artists being able to use everything for free, and affiliates able to use the tools and sell their own items with no up front costs and a very low commission rate.   I’m thinking only 3-5%, just to help keep the site infrastructure maintained and cover the PayPal and merchant account transaction fees, but I haven’t yet finalized on a number.

My vision:

  1. Integrated and managed distribution to CDBaby, iTunes, spotify, rumblefish, pandora, etc
    • We handle account setup + management, royalty tracking, creation of physical discs to send to wearhouses, etc
  2. Ability to buy wholesale + small batch physical copies of your audio discs for resale at your shows etc.
    • No minimum runs, no setup fees just a reasonably priced per-disc rate.  Order what you need, when you need it.
  3. Ability to create and print your own coupon code / download cards to give out or sell.
  4. Integrated royalty tracking across all of your digital and physical sales
  5. Integrated capability to book gigs, sell tickets, sell T-Shirts, Stickers or other related merch along side your music
    • Once you’ve been signed up as an administrator for one of our vendor accounts you can create, submit, and manage as many custom listings as you want.  We do have to approve your listing before final publishing in order to make sure that there is nothing illegal or overly offensive though.
    • When an order comes through for your items you will be notified and your account will be credited with funds once you let us know that the item has shipped.  For digital downloadable items (non-music) the transaction is fully automated by our site, but you will still receive notification.
  6. Have us publish and distribute your next album and we will do a basic album mastering run FREE OF CHARGE!
    • We’ve got to do all of the metadata and tracking work anyway to setup your distribution accounts, so while we’re at it we might as well …
      1. Check for volume consistency between tracks
      2. Check / Correct for digital errors
      3. Perform checks on EQ, and Perceived Loudness, track gaps & spacing
      4. Assign and embed UPC and ISRC codes, Album artwork, etc
    • With most indie projects being home studio based, it really is important to have someone “double-check” your work before you finalize it.
  7. Ability to get detailed sale information and reports as to where, when and how well your music is selling across the distributor network.
    • We’ve built an automated system that logs in and tracks all of our account sales daily and allows us to have the in house data to analyze and plot sales by song/album/artists/provider over time. We have all of this data in house already and are currently (slowly but surely) working on creating UI’s and visualization front end tools to mine it.
  8. Integration and management of twitter, facebook and other social sites


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