Apple's Digital Album Plan Sounds Familiar | PCWorld

Apple is reported to be working with major music labels on a plan to boost digital album sales. The concept, though, seems eerily similar to past industry efforts.
I guess this is a continuation of "is it better to give it away.." thread, I wanted to start fresh though rather than continue down that path.

Anyway, my metalband is planning our first album recording this fall, but I am not sure how to market it afterwards. We have a self-produced demo that I pressed 200 copies of on CD, but have only sold a few to friends and sent some off for free (promo). It is also available on iTunes, where it has sold a few but not a lot.
This time around we will also produce it ourselves, but I plan to spend some fairly considerable $$$ on getting one of the best mixing engineers to mix it and would rather not spend a lot on physical copies that will probably end up collecting dust like the rest have until now.

The question is, being unknown, should i steer away from physical copies completely and just go for iTunes downloads, or give the whole thing away for free as downloads?
Mixing and mastering will probably set us back around 6-7 grand so it would of course be nice to have some possibility of recouping at least some of that input. The paradox being of course that we are still pretty unknown.

So I guess the question is if we make this an investment in our name to get the best possible sounding recording, which hopefully yields great reviews/buzz&hype, and maybe rather try to get paid on the next album instead?

I am also a bit intrigued by Apple's "Cocktail" project, that might also be an option.. (read about it here if you haven't already: Apple's Digital Album Plan Sounds Familiar - PC World)

Of course, promotion-wise and for sales at shows it would be better to have at least some amount of physical copies available...waddayathink ?

- Rune