There’s been more and more debate on the pros and cons of music being free. The comments from a recent hypebot article and this recent post all are trying to make sense of free. Chris Anderson (the Long Tail guy) is even putting out a new book about the future of Free and Seth Godin recently challenged the idea of too much free.
The main complaint I’ve seen so far is that a good quality recording still costs a good chunk of change. Giving away the music means not making your recording investment back. Who made the rule saying you have to make it back from selling the music itself? I know a band in my town who made a decent sounding album for about $4000. They made all that back on ticket sales from the CD release party.
In today’s world, if you’re an independent artist and have people who put your music on the torrents, that’s a small sign of success. The fact that people care enough about your music to want to share it is huge. There’s soooooooooooooo much music out there that’s so easily accessible. Even in niche genres, there’s abundance. The net has made music from all over the world available with a few clicks. Free music is all about expanding your audience without a million dollar marketing budget.
A peer-to-peer system that seemed like free (you pay $2-3/month) that would pay artists depending on popularity is an idea that might actually work, but it’s not here yet. In the mean time, it’s all about adaptation.
- Reconsider putting out an album and instead put out 3ps on regular basis (download the New Rockstar Philosophy Book to find out more… it’s free).
- Start putting more attention on merch at your shows and even on your website.
- Work together with other local artists and form a collective (more in the New Rockstar Philosophy Book)
- Don’t press thousands of CDs at once and instead create 50-100 burned discs inside creative hand-made packages for sale at shows only. Make new ones as needed.
- Give away your music for free in exhange for contact information. If you have a direct relationship, you can let them know about new music, new merch, new shows, etc…down the road.
- Cut costs where you can. If that means you have to move back into your parents in order to save enough to go on tour next fall, then so be it.
Any creator of digital content today (filmmakers, authors, musicians, etc.. ) has to re-think how they approach things. The world changes, but there is opportunity in change. You just have to seek it out.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YQqS6xhyQw&feature=related]
Take Control of Your Music