USB Duplicating, Tomorrow’s Trend is Here Today
From vinyl record to 8-track tape to cassette to CD to MP3 to USB, that has been the transition music distribution has gone through. Now, that we have entered the latest transition of recording music, USB flash drives. The Indie artists, always the first to try anything new, have started duplicating their music on USB drives for sale to the consumer. Naturally, there will be experimentation before a standard or a few standards emerge.

1. Artists must decide how to market their music. If they decide to use gig sticks, thumb drives or the USB flash drive, then they may also want to create a packaging theme as well. Are you selling your gig sticks at your performances? If so, you may want to add business card packaging so artwork and brand imaging can be included in your USB sales. You and your band may want to add some limited or unlimited access to your digital music in the future along with that sale.
2. Another thing to consider is will you be producing videos, so that your USB flash drive will be holding high-resolution audio and video files? If so, you’ll need to buy USB drives with ample space for storage. The duplication of such files also requires additional time to produce. This time consumption is another factor to consider.
3. You have the option of developing long-term relationships with your fans. If they purchase a large capacity USB drive with some portion of your potential lifetime music catalog loaded on it, you can promise to email future recordings to those same fans depending on what you sell. If the sale you make includes future digital recording of new releases, you now have future sales already lined up. If you wind up selling lifetime memberships, price them appropriately. Obviously, this price is much higher than the cost of a single album or 13 songs. It’s some discount on what the cost of 10 albums might be. You’ll have to make the best calculation based on the consumer and your past music releases. How prolific a creator is you?
4. USB music can sell for anywhere from $25 to hundreds of dollars. It depends on you, the artist, and your fans. The custom USB you produce may be so unique in concept that the consumer must have one for their collection. Thumb drives can have all sorts of artistic attachments that uniquely identify you as the artist: cassettes with the USB pulling out from inside the cassette; business cards with the USB flipping up from the card; and USBs that come with exterior housing you can print your logo or name on; and USBs with extensions you can print on as well. The storage space on most USB flash drives is from 1 gigabyte to 128 gigabytes.

A professional will use a USB cloning or duplicating machine. These machines can duplicate as many as 63 or more Flash drives at once. Now, the lone artist cloning one USB at a time, will take hundreds of hours adding up to days or weeks if they are attempting to fill orders for thousands of USBs. The professional that has invested in the right duplicating machines can do the same task in a few hours, less than a day or two.

As usual someone will get the bright idea, why don’t I do this myself. I have a computer and I know how to duplicate music by myself with my computer. How much time do you have to duplicate thousands of USB flash drives? Will it take a week, two weeks, a month? Don’t you have something better to do with your time? Like make music. Make music and let the professional duplicator produce your music copies for your fans and make your money the way it’s always been done.