I can appreciate all that, but the paradigm has changed (for the worst, most musicians might say). Want to earn money as a musician? Pack your instrument, and get on the road. Simply, no longer are the days when recouping CD expenses happen by selling CDs. Mind you, it helps, but the significant chunk of money is to be made performing....that is unless you've chosen not to perform.
I don't think it works this way. You do not choose
to perform and get money for that decision, you have to pray and beg people for letting you perform by doing a huge load of promotional work NOBODY pays you for. Getting gigs that pay you more than your fuel cost over here is a very major pain in the a**. I recently got a inquiry from an "event management company boss" who wanted to book us (german-scottish band, airlines involved for gigging) for a pub gig, generic "irish evening" as you find them in every pub over the year here. After I sent them an email stating our wages and travel expenses, he replied that they only cover the travel expenses and if we don't play for that money he will have to find someone else (read this in a threatening manner). That is how things are over here.
I'm in the very comfortable position that my three bands bring me about 30-35 gigs per year, and most of them a paid well enough to cover a part of my overall expenses over the year. This costs us hours and hours of unpaid phone calls, writing unpaid letters and years of playing almost-unpaid gigs and unpaid public relations in general to build up the connections. And this is just regular income that I need to make a living, not to recoup CD expenses.
Did I mention that an average band expects about 20% of their total CD amount to be given away free of charge for promotional reasons?
You only seem to see the customer's side of the medal. But there are two sides. If I would sell one of my CDs for 8€ I'd be giving it away free of charge. That's a fact.
And just for the fun of it, because you opened that can of worms in your latest edit, here are the roughly estimated costs for a 1000 unit CD production in a four-musician trad band setting:
recording, mixing, mastering at a professional studio: 4000€
artwork design and photographer: 1500€
cd pressing, printing, packaging in a freaking expensive digipak (because customers demand for it): 1500€
GEMA (german IMRO, SUISA; call it whatever you want): depends, between 100€ and 1000€
fuel, accomodation, misc. expenses: 400€
So, after substracting 200 CDs that go away free of charge for promotional reasons we have 7500-8400€ for 800 CDs. Go figure.