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Become Rich By Giving Your Music Away For Free
In an age of cyber technology and advanced collaboration, savvy independent music companies and artists benefit from harnessing the power of file sharing, social networking, and online collaboration. Sorry to burst your bubble, but record companies just aren’t looking for artists right now. They’re too busy running around like cockroaches when the lights come on, suing anyone they can accuse of piracy, and trying to figure out how they’re going to continue to screw an artist out of millions of dollars using emerging technologies. This mess puts you in a very strong position, my friend. Believe me, no fan in their right mind is going to choose a record label over the artist’s deplorable Bad Boy Entertainment, but the days of the label overshadowing the artists are over. Fans aren’t dumb, they want to connect with artists on a personal level and feel like they’re partners in the artists’ success. In some ways, the input, suggestions, tastes and opinions of fans have a direct impact on the success or failure of an artist or band. For the life of me, I could not understand how an artist’s ego becomes so inflated that they start to ignore, alienate, or respect the people who bought them the big house, the shiny jewelry, and the fancy car.
When cassette tapes were still king, street vendors would rip off every song that was played on popular radio. Many have complained that this takes money out of the artist’s pocket and is the worst thing to happen to music since William Hung. I personally witnessed an irrational rap star beat a street vendor half to death with his own cassette box because somewhere in his pea brain he justified his behavior by saying that the little money the vendor made from bootlegging prevented him from graduating. . If! What kind of jackass was that? The rapper didn’t realize that consumers bought the bootleg version of the album, eventually getting tired of the poorly duplicated copy and finally going out and buying the real thing. Additionally, even if they didn’t buy your album, they would become new fans who could potentially buy concert tickets, t-shirts, and future albums, a stronger revenue stream.
In today’s music game it’s all about diversification, how many revenue streams can you generate outside of music sales? Name an artist on the planet and I can guarantee you that with enough internet searches you can find their music online without purchasing it. Why fight the tide of progress and end up drowning when you can easily surf the waves to the shores of financial success.
The internet is full of great music selling places like iTunes, ReverbNation, CDBaby and the like; however, these places are either filled with tons of bigger name artists who actually have marketing budgets. Because you are broken and disenfranchised, you choose a different path. Here’s an idea, give away your music for free. Heck, who doesn’t love freebies? I guarantee the more music you sell, the more people will buy from you. By giving your fans and potential fans a discount, you earn their trust and loyalty to your brand. Together with you, they know what to expect, and if your music is “hot”, expect tons of it to be sold if you give it space for free.
Still not sure? Look at this. In Mike Masnick’s 2010 article The Future of Music Business Models (and Those Already There), Mike explains how Nine Inch Nails musician and experimenter Trent Reznor made $750,000.00 in less than two days by gave away his music on his website. Reznor offered fans a $300 Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition album package. It was advertised as a limited pressing of only 2,500. This package included DVD videos, vinyls, photos, and of course, her album—you know, the one she gives as a special gift. Because Reznor built his relationship with his fans by giving them a chance to sample his music for free, he was able to turn consumers into customers by offering music packages not available anywhere else in the world.
Don’t focus so hard on making a few pennies that you let the dollar slip away. The music industry is about long-term stability, community, and limitless artistic expression. You will never be truly successful until you build a following that would rather starve than be without your music. Use your current pool of resources to come up with smart ways to turn your consumers into customers. For example, sell your music, then sell your fans an opportunity to come hang out with you in the studio or even record a song on your album. Sell custom t-shirts and hats, video tutorials, books, documentaries, or any goods and services that your fans would appreciate, enjoy, and most importantly, buy. In this new music paradigm, it’s more about selling the brand than the music, so why not give it all up?
As always, learn the business you’re in… at peace
2011 by Sahpreem A. King
Music Business Guru™ http://www.gottagesigned.com
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