Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Crew

Hey guys, long time no type.

Today I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine who's going to be helping out with the discussions and postings over here: Mr. Alex Day (nerimon). As I'm sure none of you know who this Alex person is, let me tell you a few things about him...

Alex is a musician. Alex plays in the band Chameleon Circuit, but also writes and records solo projects. Alex is a writer. He's working on his first novel now. Alex is also a huge help around DFTBA where he is currently an unpaid volunteer writing our weekly newsletter.

One of his many additional helpful duties will be working with me to keep up the post count here, and to keep you informed about upcoming fun things at DFTBA Records. Please subscribe via RSS to keep informed about sales, new releases/merch and fun polls about future DFTBA things.

Alex is the fourth volunteer to join the DFTBA team. You may already know Caitlin (MimsieSky) and Todd (Toddly00), who host our weekly DFTBA Radio Hour podcast. And Valerie (valerie2776), who helped me build the DFTBA Wiki that everyone seems to be getting into.

Please leave Alex a warm welcome (and a hello to our other volunteers) in the comments section below, because who doesn't love affirmations and attention?

Til next time, love,

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cracked and Busted

So, our manufacturing plant is on the East coast, and they have to mail me boxes full of our CDs when they're ready. This inevitably leads to a few cases cracking.

When Alex and I were packing up the Chameleon Circuit CDs, we started putting the cracked cases off to the side rather then mail them out to customers, even though the CDs and booklets were fine, it was just the plastic that had cracked.

But now I have a whole stack of these cracked-case CDs. Rather than throw them away or recycle them, would you guys be interested in discounted CDs with cracked cases being made available?

To reiterate, the CDs and booklets themselves are fine, but the plastic jewel cases break easily. Might be a great way to get some great albums at a great price. (Stop using "great" three times per sentence, Alan - Editor)

But if no one's interested in the busted cases, then I won't bother listing them.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

T-Shirt Preferences

Today we started selling a new t-shirt referencing a joke John made a few days ago in his vlogbrothers video, and one that the nerdfighters picked up right away. Because this joke has "gone viral", and many people asked for it in the comments section, we wanted to get a t-shirt out asap for it.

Rather than print a set number of shirts up front and wait two weeks for them to be shipped to me, we decided to leave the shirt up for sale for 48 hours. At the end of the 48 hours, we'll take the shirts down and then print however many shirts are ordered.
This is a bit different from how we did it the first time (having a limited print run and selling until we sold out).

There are a few positives and negatives to both.


Printing a set number of shirts up front and selling them when they're ready means they ship immediately. But when we printed 200 shirts, they sold out in 6 hours. So a lot of people who wanted them couldn't buy them.


Allowing orders for 48 hours and then printing whatever is ordered ensures everyone who wants one gets one. But it also means we have to make you guys wait two weeks before I can start shipping them. To help with this wait, I had the idea to include an immediate download of a Chewie for Prez song, which John and Hank both thought was a good idea.

Due to printing costs and the non-infinite room available at my house, we can't keep five sizes of shirts in continuous stock.

So, which option do you prefer for future t-shirt designs?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Real Time

So many companies/projects/YouTubers love the “I’m working on something big, but I can’t tell you about it just yet” routine. Eff that. Today, DFTBA Records is launching this new blog, which we’ll use to keep you as up to date as possible about what we’re working on.

Some posts may be about releases that are weeks or months away though, so if you are of the impatient variety, maybe it would be best if you don’t subscribe to our shiny new RSS feed. Also, life changes things in real time, so nothing previewed or discussed here about future projects is set in stone/guaranteed.

We have an insane release schedule for the next 35 days. Four new titles will be released between now and August 15th, giving us a total of ten titles available for sale. We know this is a lot. We know you can’t afford all of them right now. After Aug 15th, we plan to relax on the new releases to then focus on tours, t-shirts and posters, streetteam missions and other giveaways. With DFTBA Records being a two-man team (myself and Hank Green) currently, we just can’t do it all at once.

We decided to focus on releases first; to have a strong offering once summer rolled around and there was weather and time for tours. Tom Milsom is about to hit the States for a month long tour, he’ll be playing songs from his upcoming studio album Painfully Mainstream, along with a few cuts from our recently released EP, Taking Leave. And Driftless Pony Club will embark on a month long tour of the West Coast shortly after their new EP “drops”.

Last week DFTBA Records tested the t-shirt market, and boy did you guys respond. Six hours after Hank’s video went up, in which he mentioned the shirt briefly, we had sold out of the 200 copies we printed. Our plan at this point is to print one new design each month, limiting them to 300 or so.

The limit is done for two reasons. First, t-shirts are expensive to order up front and stock and store at my house. Second, limited runs create demand. If the t-shirt were infinitely available, there would be no rush to order, and inevitably, that would lead to people who would have ordered putting it off and just never getting around to it.

And last, we have the giveaways, contests and streetteam missions. We still have a brand new iPod to give away. Our last contest winner won a pair of custom Chameleon Circuit chucks. If you have prize or giveaway ideas, please let me know about them in the comments section. Companies should exist to serve their customers, so if there’s something you want, that we’re not providing, let us know and we’ll see if we can make it happen.

I know I say this often, but only because I really really mean it: thank you. Without you guys supporting our artists via video comments, album purchases, attending live shows, none of this would be possible. We know this above anything else, and aim to never forget it.

We charge as little as we can to keep the project running and our artists paid. We offer free shipping when we can. Bundle deals when it makes sense. Etc. And we constantly shop around for the best prices on packaging materials and manufacturing fees, while maximizing the royalties we pay to artists, so we can be as responsible with the money we earn as possible. Stable longevity is our goal, so that we can continue to offer opportunities to new artists in the future, and of course, continue to provide you guys with music that doesn’t forget to be awesome.

Thanks for the support, and I’ll be sure to check back in here again real soon.

-Alan Lastufka, President of DFTBA Records LLC.