I approach the business of my music with the same focus as I would take with any other business venture - short of altering the artistic vision in any way. Certainly my own work is far from mainstream and I'll continue to follow my muse. But beyond that, to me, a business is a business with the discipline of a business plan, including all of the legal aspects, marketing plans, etc., not drudgery at all, but a fun and intellectually stimulating activity in its own right.
Per hit on several good points. I'd also add it's important to have a strategy for a website and social network outposts. Follow chrisbrogan at twitter for an ongoing course and thought provoking tips on social media for business. It's fascinating and applicable to our music efforts. Certainly it takes time and energy, but also has allowed me to connect with people who otherwise would not know of my work.
Re: CD vs. digital, I considered going all download for my upcoming release. To gather some market data I did a survey of the folks on my mailing list, many of whom had bought my album "One Feather Shy", which was released in August, 2008, some the CD and some the download. One of the questions was "In what format do you prefer to buy music?" with options of CD, digital download, vinyl, and other. The results floored me with 69% saying CD! From follow up conversations I determined that folks who are interested in buying non-mainstream music tend to want the physical artifact with the artwork, liner notes, etc. One comment was "download for normal stuff, CDs for special stuff." My decision on the next project is to press the CD and make the download available through services like iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby, same as I did on "One Feather Shy". I announced the new project this weekend. It's called "Breathe", more about that at http://ping.fm/CCe0W.
The concept of delivering songs one-at-a-time is fascinating and something I'll continue to ponder. At this point I'm more project focused, but I'm intrigued by the idea of deliverying a steady diet of material in smaller pieces. I am interested in how folks are doing this with non-mainstream material in a pay-for environment.
genre-indifferent instrumental guitar music