The Future Church - A Church Communications Podcast
Church Media + Communications
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EP076 - Physical Copy Vs Digital

James: So Jo our church is just releasing a brand new album. So today we're gonna talk a little bit about whether or not we should be making CD's or only digital. And you're gonna share some insights that you've kind of learned along the way.

Joanna: Yeah our church does song writing and some album recording I know more and more lots of churches are doing that simply just because the cost of doing it has gone down so much. In the old days you know before digital everybody had to pay experts thousands and thousands thousands of dollars to build an album and do some proper production but now more and more churches find it accessible it's still not cheap but it's way cheaper than it used to be.

James: In the same way that video photography. Everything is way more affordable. Everything can be done on a laptop. Even with the music recording and it can take one skilled person with knowledge of the software and the skill sets to be able to do it now as opposed to needing a whole studio a whole thing and that was the same for editing to, you used to need an editing studio and editing bay in order to work with footage. Now you can do it on your laptop sitting at home on your bed kind of thing.

Joanna: And of course like as with film and same with music the more experienced the people doing it the better the quality of the equipment of course you're going to get a better product and so even for us we've been learning over time. But if people want to know about songwriting and the process of that or people want to know even how we've come to the album art we're gonna link it in the show notes but contact me happy to talk more about songwriting, recording, and production album stuff. If people are really interested we can do some episodes about it in the future. There's lots to say about that. But today I just really wanted to touch on this is an illustration of the digital versus print world and how we kind of are dancing between the two. So I come into the office today to record this podcast. And James I pass you for the very first time in your hands a physical copy of Resurrection Sound the new C4 Worship CD and what did you say about it?

James: I basically said "oh now I just need to go find a C.D. player in order to play it". And then my secondary joke which I should have had first was "oh now I do need to go back in time and get a C.D. player". But I thought of the second so it wasn't as funny. But it's true like I actually don't have a C.D. player anymore.

Joanna: Well do you have one in your car? That's the only place I have one.

James: I don't.

Joanna: Yeah. So it's the same thing I have you know I've a brother who's even in his 40s and so he's older than me and the first thing he says when I gave him a CD last summer from a previous album he's like "what am I supposed to do with this?" So there are definitely people who have no interest anymore in a physical copy of a C.D. you know tapes records actually records are still kind of trending as a secondary thing. But I just want to touch on this is as an example of the digital world has allowed things to be so much more accessible to people and we see that as a good thing for us and for a lot of other churches we view making music as another form of communication about what God is doing. Telling the story encouraging people in everything that God is doing in and around our church. So we're writing songs out of that and then we want people to have them and share them because we think it's going to impact their life in some way and it's communicating great news about Jesus. But of course the number one way people are doing that typically is digitally like it's Spotify it's Apple Music and iTunes all that kind of stuff. Secondarily we do print some physical copies as I just gave you today and I'm gonna take it back as you've nowhere you have nowhere to play the thing but I just wanted to touch on that because I've been in this world myself and as we've learned at our that the first day we release something like this is the or the album release night or whatever it is is gonna be the the day the night that we sell the most physical copies. And in terms of digital if we want people to buy it and not just stream it off of something like Spotify the presale stuff is where we're going to get digital purchases actually people paying money to us for the album. Once it's out in the world streaming nobody's going to buy it anymore. And I find that usually the physical copies are just bought by people like on that event on that day. Often people use it as gifts to friends and family and it is I mean as someone who works on the artwork for I love personally seeing the art of an album because people put a ton of time and thought into why it looks the way it looks. And so we still do it but I've been learning even from some of the bigger named worship groups that travel all over maybe not going to see what they are but friends of mine who are very aware and connected to those worlds talk about. They'll go and do a stadium tour or an album tour and they sell almost zero, almost zero CD's at these concerts but they're selling thousands of dollars in like other merchandise.

James: And they're well-known names that you would think would have physical sales.

Joanna: If the big worship communities can't sell CD's and who are we as a small church writing music to think that people would buy your CD in any large quantity and the same with digital sales people are buying tickets to shows people are buying t-shirts and other kinds of merch hoodies and stickers and all that kind of stuff but they're not really buying the CD's anymore. After that initial push. So it's just something for us to think about today if you're a church or you're involved in a church that does album so I'd love to hear from you. I'd be curious to know what you've learned in the process. If you're interested in getting into it yeah message me anytime I'd love to share some of our process with you. But just it's an interesting illustration of the shift we've been seeing from print to digital and I just thought people would find it kind of interesting.

James: And so what is the best place for people to message you if they do have those questions?

Joanna: Go on Instagram you can find me on Instagram at Joanna LaFleur and we'll tag it in the show notes.