gift disk with a bow

Why giving away your music for free, is a good idea

A lot of people get really hot under their collar about this one.
After all you have sent time and money creating and recording your music so why should you just give it away?
We all know we are living in “noisy” saturated times, with hardly time to listen to music we like and have bought, let alone giving a moment to a new artist we haven’t heard of.
I think Andrew Dubber, the founder of New Music Strategies and Music Think Tank, and lecturer in Music Industries Innovation at Birmingham City University, sums it up really well.
He says
“Music is pretty much unique when it comes to media consumption. You don’t buy a movie ticket because you liked the film so much, and while you might buy a book because you enjoyed reading it so much at the library, typically you’ll purchase first, then consume…

But music is different — and radio proves that. By far the most reliable way to promote music is to have people hear it. Repeatedly, if possible — and for free. After a while, if you’re lucky, people get to know and love the music. Sooner or later, they’re going to want to own it.

That’s the order it has to happen in. It can’t happen in any other order. There’s no point in hoping that people will buy the music, then hear it, then like it. They just won’t. And a 30-second sample is a waste of your time and bandwidth. It’s worse than useless. That’s not enough to get to like your music. Let them hear it, keep it, live with it. And then bring them back as a fan.”

Most music blogs expect a free download of an exclusive track or remix, if they are even going to consider mentioning your latest release.
Be strategic on how and to who you offer your free downloads. I get emails most morning from artists at sound cloud who have sent a track to my email address as an “exclusive download” sent to me and 6,000 other people!
I just hit “delete” immediately, as I know this means they haven’t even bothered to check the kind of music I like, and are basically spamming me.

When the person has done a little research and also sends a friendly note with the link, suggesting why the tune does fall into the kind of music I like or thinks it would be useful for my global downtempo dj sets, I will almost always check it out and comment on the track if I like it, and very possibly buy some more of their tracks. I have discovered some really cool music this way.

* So put up a free download,with nice artwork on your website and facebook page.
* Give away one of your stronger tracks.
* Ask for email addresses in return.
* Try bandcamp for an elegant and free way to do this.