Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Blaze D.I.Y. Trails To Success

The new music business paradigm allows artists to take control of their careers if they have the desire and drive. One act that has followed this path successfully is Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Billboard took aninstructive a look inside this model that I believe will be used by others.

"…a label might make things easier. But CYHSY is
already generating press attention and raves from influencers
like triple-A KEXP Seattle and pitchforkmedia.com without the
help of a label. Likewise, it is actually selling records sans
record company. Armed with a torrent of online hype and not
much else — no marketing, no distribution and almost no
touring — the band has managed to sell close to 5,000 copies
of the album in a month."

The band signed with an overseas label, but in the US they’re going direct to retail via ADA with their latest album after a Jan. 16th pre-release in the mp3 format via InSound. The financial rewards of self-release are striking: "…a substantial part of the band’s profits come
from album sales, not touring. Worldwide the band claims sales
of more than 200,000 units of the first album, for a gross of
more than $2 million."

band was earning more than $7 an album on a CD with a
developing artist list price of $11.98. This time out, it has
to settle for a more modest take of $6 on the sale of every
album…with a higher list price of $13.98. But the
band is investing more in retail price and positioning
programs. And it is still substantially greater than the $2
average the typical young band makes…"

It should be noted that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah has employed a manager, major booking agency Ada_2 and a mainstream publicist.  Their distributor ADA is owned by the Warner Music Group. But they still remain in control of their career, their music and their relationship with their fans.

Not every musician or their team is equipped to manage or bankroll the path that has worked so well for CYHSA, and platinum manistream success via D.I.Y is unlikely.  But their success is an example of the small to medium sized artist driven careers that we”ll be seeing many more of. The cornerstone of these successes – in addition to music that actually matters to their fans – will be inexpensive new media that allows artists to connect directly with their fans and empowers fans to spread the word to others.

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  1. Since it’s been pretty public how much the band is raking in per cd I’d like someone to post an estimated breakdown of what they think these guys are making a year. I mean, let’s be honest, who actually makes a living playing music and how much of a living is that really? These guys must be raking in some serious dough especially on the road. If they start shaving and wearing some new shirts, the indie kids are gonna get angry. waaaah.

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