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« the economics of American Idol - based upon your experiences, does the music industry operate like this or not? | Main | Template for Writing a Music Business Plan »
Monday
Aug032009

Your digital music industry future…

Perhaps with some tweaking, here’s what current wisdom tells you:

  1. Make music.
  2. Give your music away; it’s your best advertisement.
  3. Organize into a business entity.
  4. Go on tour.
  5. Build an audience.
  6. Sell stuff and a bit of music when you can.
  7. Go on tour again.
  8. Sell even more stuff.
  9. And when you stop touring, your revenue stream will slow to a crawl.

As new interactive digital products enter the marketplace (and they are), your digital future will look something like this:

  1. Make music
  2. Give your music away; it’s your best advertisement.
  3. Sell high-margin interactive digital products to fans.
  4. Go on tour if you want; it won’t be necessary to making a living.
  5. The reoccurring revenue never has to stop.

Make money from home…
I’m reminding everyone of this now because some of you are making serious decisions based upon the current wisdom outlined above. New interactive digital products will enable you to generate reoccurring revenue from your bedroom, provided that fans learn about you through your songs. Timeline: 2012 and beyond.

Illegal sharing and your digital future…
Aside from the wildest interactive capabilities that you can imagine, the question that’s on everyone’s mind is: Will illegal sharing crush these products also? The answer is no. The products that will come into the marketplace will capture the personalized (and for example: weighted, scored and ranked over time) digital relationship that you have with each of your fans. Fans will not share (their login credentials to) these highly personalized products.

Preparing for this future…
Artists have been giving away everything from baby pictures, to blog posts, to bedroom videos to sell music. Flip it all around and contemplate a day where ‘everything’ is part of your interactive package, whilst your songs are simply your banner ads.  Hold things back today, to include in your digital tomorrow.

 

about Bruce Warila

Reader Comments (48)

I believe touring will always be an essential part of of a musician's career. Without it, you will reach the inevitable digital plateau.

^^What is the inevitable digital plateau? Sounds ugly.

Also sounds like a flawed assumption, but I'd like to hear more.

August 3 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

Can you please explain a little further exactly what you mean by high-margin interactive digital products? Thanks.

August 3 | Unregistered CommenterPenny

I have a feeling that we've had this conversation before, Bruce, so let me just sum up my chief criticisms for the benefit of everyone else:

1. These 'interactive, personalised products' have yet to enter the market. We don't know what they'll entail nor whether they will be economically feasible to produce for small-scale businesses.

2. We have no idea whether people will actually want to buy these. What if they are completely satisified with their non-personalised, vanilla free option. From what I've read, Cocktail isn't causing much salivation and I can see why. Just because you think it should sell, doesn't mean it will.

3. Anyone trying to predict the digital future three years from now can be sure of just one thing: he'll be way off the mark.

I appreciate that you are trying to paint an optimistic picture, but right now artists need concrete and realistic advice, not pipe-dreams of a golden tomorrow.

Still can't bare the thought of giving away my debut album. I know I need to, but those that purchase tend to value it more, listen to it and recommend it, and those that get it for free don't seem to care about it as much.

August 3 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Penny, Click the link above (right on the word 'they'). Also check out the iPhone apps that some artists are selling as examples of basic (early days) interactive digital applications.

Dave, then sell it also. There are lots of artists that do both.

Krzysztof, You are one cynical dude. Where your imagination ends, my day job begins. I'm sorry that you can't envision something compelling, inexpensive and relatively simple to build.

"Cocktail isn't causing much salivation" How do you know this? Seems like something silly to say.

You know, man has been on the moon; there's something called YouTube where you can watch millions of videos on demand; there's this device called the iPhone where you can download any one of 75,000 interactive applications (one billion have been sold!); 25+ million people tweeted last month (WTF); and people can cook food with microwaves. Imagine that...

Did I mention that people buy billions of dollars worth of television programs from a company called Apple. These are the same television programs that you can watch for free. Those crazy humans...

If you need another guidepost, the interactive game 'RockBand' has sold over $1billion dollars worth of music (that's music sales) in the last 15 months.

I may be early, but I will be on the winning side of this debate.
If I'm writing about, someone is building it. You can bet on that.

-Bruce

August 3 | Registered CommenterBruce Warila

Really great post. To people who don't know what these products are, doubt that they will sell, or are waiting for 2012 and beyond, the good news is you can start NOW. Forget theorizing, get out there and TRY it.

Here are some examples:
-membership site - sell subscriptions to your 'Virtual VIP Backstage Pass' where you provide members-only access to behind the scenes demos, videos, new songs, photos, etc. I do this today with wordpress and wishlist member plugin.
-Information products - How to Write Metal Songs (or whatever style you are in), Learn Guitar, How to Use Vibrato, How to Sing, How to Play Piano, Learn How to Solo. I know someone who writes songs using a looper pedal - he could teach people how to use the pedal or how to write and perform songs live using the looper pedal. This can be sold as videos, audio,pdfs, etc. I do this today with paypal and make my own files.

August 3 | Unregistered CommenterWill Kriski

I think this is a tight post with some great succinct points considering the loopy over-the-rainbow stuff Bruce usually comes out with. There is concrete and realistic advice here and I think describing it as "pipe dreams" is a little unfair.

1: Give your music away 2: Sell high margin products

whats not to get?

great post bruce!! I always asked myself wether making an own membership page is good or not. I always wanted to know, if it would work, givin each fan a personal gift?

your "personal stuff" idea is great... I think a mp3file has no charisma. love the music, but not connected with the artist!

Let me know, what do you think of following idea: let the fans choose a song. let the fans choose the text. let'em even choose the melody?

A couple of months ago I saw a bandsite (dont remember the band) which presented their new Single. but they wanted more. they wanted their fans to mix the single in their personal taste and upload it online! the fans were able to download sound snippets and mix it with online or with a program. amazing results I can say!

August 4 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

This just sounds like soothing the artists and composers over and over again and make them not raise their voices for a different future, that only a different law could provide.

It's ten years now this business is declining. So this is the brand new idea? A special extra cocktail for every album sold on iTunes? Ridiculous. Or even giving away "everything"? Expose yourself 24 hours a day? Oh no, but wait, keep it back for another three years. But then people will pay loads of money for it.

When will people understand, that such "new" ideas initiated by the four majors are not for the better of the over-all artist? All they do is try to keep control, which is fair enough for their businesses. Unfortunately so, but in many cases music labels don't share the artists' interests. They share their artists' interest in selling units, and not their interest in a better system for earing a living as a musician. It's a competitive business, so of course the big music labels try to rule out whoever they can.

Some more points on this special topic though:

1. High margin products: Well, sure, you never know what technical development future will bring, but for now it would mean some fancy kind of flicking through pictures and other stuff mentioned above. Hard to think a lot of people would be interested in that, if they can get the same with this or that streaming service and checking out the artist's website or google's magnificent new tool (we're talking about 2012, right?). And no talking about the illegal copying yet.

2. iTunes and the 4 majors: It's a complete major thing. Who buys apps? Die-hard fans. Big artists' die-hard fans. Even if the smaller artists will be able to afford the production of such applications, they wouldn't much of them. They don't get the attention.

3. Sure artists can sell some of these very special things you mentioned here, but how much personalised stuff can they really produce? This only works, if you don't produce mass ware. It's got to be highly exclusive if it's digital. Otherwise it will end up being in the illegal distribution networks. So to make a living from music for an artists will actually mean making no music at all. But even for that they will have to wait at least until 2012.

August 4 | Unregistered CommenterThom

@ Carl, I think there will always be a segment of the population that is into remixing and would love to be involved in the creative process. So yes, for these people the idea is fine. However, I believe that a much larger segment simply wants music to be fed to them. That doesn't mean that your idea is not valid, as the remix segment probably contains tens of millions of people. Just look through MTTStats. $472,000,000 worth of acoustic guitars were sold last year. That's a lot of people that are hoping to participate in the creative culture of music.

@ Thom, I am not sure about your "ideas initiated by the four major" quote. You can Google my name and find over 100 patent claims that we filed in 2001-2002 that directly pertains to the product ideas (and far beyond) mentioned here. I have never spoken to a major label about this.

Here's my vision in a nutshell...

1) Music will be much easier to find - even with zero promotion - in the future. I work with companies like Music Xray on making this a reality. More progress will be made on this front over the next year. Other startups and related projects are coming.

2) The MP3 will not be the last digital product this industry makes (period). Packaged (meaning anything you can imagine) tied to personalization (scoring, points, history, personal contributions, digital-social relationships, etc) will be 'eventually' tied to these products. These products could be sold via subscriptions, possibly monetized through advertising, or simple sold as one-off units.

So my vision is simple - make it far easier to find artists - enable them to sell digital stuff for far more money than an MP3 sells for now.

I don't have any control over whether anyone will 'fall in love' with an artist, and I can't pretend to imagine all the interesting, engaging, planned, and/or thoughtful stuff that people will lash into these packages.

As for timelines and adoption. I could be way off on my time estimates, but I can tell you this: all this stuff will be accessible to every artist. The roll-your-own packages will come as surely as creating web pages came to the masses. Anyone will be able to do it and many will.

Don't limit yourself to the "flicking through pictures" road map. Let me take the opposite end of the spectrum. Try sitting on your front porch (the Sunday morning Summer Sessions with Thom and Friends) and collaborating with 300 fans that have 'earned' the right to participate (via messaging). Could this be part of an interactive application? I guess we will find out..

-Bruce

August 4 | Registered CommenterBruce Warila

What about bands who actually enjoy touring? Maybe those types create music as fuel for their touring engine?

re #3: bull. shit. "digital interactive whatevers" are just as easy to copy as mp3 files, whether they're "personalized" or not.

Unless you want to invest in DRM, and then YOU become "THEM"

which makes me laugh

August 4 | Unregistered Commenterlaughing

@ laughing - you sound pretty sure of yourself.

I guessed you missed that important part of the app where a user enters his or her login credentials and then personalized stuff is either pulled off and/or written to the server. No DRM needed.

Share away laughing boy. It won't matter.

Critics and naysayers should also read this recent (August 4th) article on Wired titled "The Album Is Dead, Long Live the App".

August 4 | Registered CommenterBruce Warila

The reality is that only a fraction of the music buying public actually go to shows. While those that do tend to spend more on music products, they only account for a fraction of the overall market. Reaching a career sustainable number of fans digitally is a totally viable business model.

August 4 | Unregistered CommenterElectrikBill

If Bruce's ideas are so "off the mark" then where are the alternative solutions from his detractors?Step to the plate. Let's put a lid on the typical internet nay saying, and produce an intelligent and fruitful debate on how we can improve our industry. Otherwise sit back and let real thinkers and innovators try their best to improve this fragile situation.

August 4 | Unregistered CommenterHeron Demarco

How to make money: Sell high-margin stuff, but nobody knows what it is.

Freakin' genius.

A

August 4 | Unregistered CommenterAlan

Alan, I guess you failed to click any of links provided in the post on within the comment thread?

August 4 | Registered CommenterBruce Warila

"interactive, personalised products" sounds like total bullshit to me...could you be more vague?

Email me or call me directly and I will give you a private briefing.
My contact details, including my phone number, are on my own blog.

Honestly, if you feel that you are that in the dark, then call me directly and I will take the time to explain it all to you.

This is a genuine offer. No bullshit.

-Bruce

August 4 | Registered CommenterBruce Warila

I just got off of a 50 day tour with a band that is quite successful in their genre. I can tell you that touring is not pointless, but at the same time the results can be somewhat recreated. What I mean by this is that on tour we made many contacts and fans.... but not enough for the money we spent. That money (gas, merch, personal budgets, equipment, etc) could have been spent differently to achieve the same success.......

That is my 2 cents. This is not my first US tour either.

August 4 | Unregistered CommenterObjektiv One

Do gimmicks sell records? That's the real proposal here.

First: @ Bruce who was @ Alan - There is only one related link, to 'Project Cocktail', on 'interactive album art'.

Here's an idea - how about an album with more than 2 decent songs on it? People selling albums seem to have more than a few good songs.

When I was a kid bands were releasing albums like Schools Out which featured disposable knickers wrapped around the LP housed in a school desk. But that didn't cost more. That just helped sell the music. And I can't see interactive album covers doing anything more than that. Schools Out sold because it was an incredible album, not because of the cover. Let's be honest. If it only had 2 decent songs sales would have been dismal despite the cover.

Other than that? Name one successful music interactive app. Come on. Time is wasting... Nothing? OK, then name one music app! I can.

There have been a few dating back to the early 90s. I remember the Residents had Freak Show. Peter Gabriel won a lot of acclaim for his interactive efforts. But did they sell? If they did you might have remembered them. (A shame too as they were pretty good.)

To say they bands should invest in interactive products because multimillion dollar games like RockHero work indicates a lack of thought. Bands are in the music biz, not the gaming biz. If a band is big enough to throw tens of millions at their album then they'd be smart enough to keep the money and avoid a very dangerous gamble. Sure you can spend less but if they're selling a game for $50 that had >$20mil thrown at it, what do you need to spend to compete? And if the band has a brilliant interactive game idea then that's a game not an interactive album and you'd market it that way or fail.

So if you're a new band looking to market yourself how will an expensive product get you to your market? And if you're an established band how will gambling on interactive media increase your profits? I can't see that much thought has been put to these fundamental questions.

However there is a spark of an idea here. Part of the appeal of a band that markets its brand well is that the music and band aesthetic are united. Fans want a more immersive experience of the music and the healthy sales of music DVDs attest to this.

But how can interactivity be used for a more immersive experience when most people just want to listen to good music? I think the money and thought would be better invested in the live show, a far safer bet. Someone will come up with a good idea but until then I'd suggest bands spend the extra money on writing good songs.

So do gimmicks sell records? Well they have in the past. Biting heads off animals. Socks down the lycra. Look at the the whole Kiss phenomenon. Of course you still need the songs or it's one hit and you're out.

Rob

August 4 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Nothing against your views, but it sounds like a porn sell to me. Really how many doggy styles can you sell, and for how long? :-)) I wish you u make your money back.

Thanks Rob (i think)..

Follow the comment thread and look for the other link to the other Wired article from today.

Whew... I thought this crowd would have more imagination.

The Rockband example was just to prove that people are interested in the intersection of interactivity and music. That's all (sigh).

Just for more laughs, let's pretend you could take your entire online presence (music, text, video, blog posts, online social interactions, messaging, artwork, images, mixes, stems, games, puzzles, maps, animal sounds, location-GPS-based things, applets, digital ticketing, imaginative apps, etc, etc, etc,) and wrap them into multi-device capable 'package', and then you could assign dynamic permissions to every item in the package (permissions that magically changed as the relationship (financial and otherwise) progressed or deepened over time), and then you could either choose ad-supported or not (pay per copy), and it could all be created and maintained by you (not a developer) for less than $100. a year - would this be something you could imagine?

August 4 | Registered CommenterBruce Warila

Just the location based thing is compelling enough to me. For $20 bucks per year, female fans can track me down in every city I visit. Bring it on. If I can track ticketing and paid downloads - show me your phone to prove it - I will buy the first beer.

August 4 | Unregistered CommenterGPS

Egomaniacs, you are all forgetting that this type of thing does not have to be all about YOU. Think about the end-user contributions from images to fan mail - yes fan mail. Think about the interactions between fans. Think about the social wall that is part of this thing. Put your self-centered worlds away for a minute and think about how fans will contribute to this stuff. Imaginary or not, this is probably the future.

I plan to put a wide screen on stage to let fans send direct messages while I am on stage. It would be great to track and control this somehow depending on fan commitment. kind of like a membership has it's privileges thing. Please keep us informed as you create this application.

August 4 | Unregistered CommenterNova

Hmm, seems to me that there's two types of fan these days .. over 40's although online are not overly tech savvy - ok lets accept for arguments sake that generalisation.

So to try and 'sell' them on value added interactive products will not be easy. Certainly anyone under 30 its a real possability.

To me, by a musician is all about writing songs - great songs - and performing them.

If you want to get out of the grind of continual touring to develop fans to subsequently sell merch and cd's then look at other markets.

Try writing for others, try networking - effectively and hard - and get your songs and skills into movies, advertising, tv etc.

Be diverse, I guess im saying ... and dont expect all your income to come from one stream.

oh yea ... and write really really good songs

:o)

August 5 | Unregistered Commentermike

Some of the ideas in this article may be vague and the reader may not get it. But that's why you are reading articles like this and not writing them. This article is not proposing something new, it is simply reporting on what the very large companies are currently doing. There is a chance this could fail, but then again their is a chance anything could fail.

Basically the article is saying SELL EVERYTHING not just your music and do so in a consumer friendly package. This package would be high margin by definition because you would be able to sell it vs not selling your music cause nobody is buying. The music simply isn't enough anymore, the sooner people figure that out the better.

One final note. Touring is and always will be a necessary part of getting new fans. It is not enough to give your music away for free or sell high margin digital products. You must also play live to build your fan base. There are a lot of people that will see you play and become a fan for life. I can think of at least 15 bands that this has been the case for me. The situation usually goes like this. I went to see the headlining act and ended up liking the opening act better. So do not underestimate the value of touring.

August 5 | Unregistered Commenterjeff

"The music simply isn't enough anymore."
A very disheartening comment but one I disagree with.
I heard the Kings of Leon, I loved the Kings of Leon, I bought the Kings of Leon.
I've never seen any of their videos, been to their website or (alas) seen them live. The music is, for me, where it's at, full stop. Same with Dylan, Flaming Lips, White Stripes etc.
I know they (and every other 'big' band) have huge marketing budgets to make sure I hear them in the first place, but if the music was crap it wouldn't matter how much was spent.
It takes me enough time and sweat to write and record my music, then promote it live and on the net. I really don't have time to make iphone apps or video games.

Just a thought.

August 5 | Unregistered Commenterdaznez

^^Daznez, you also don't have time to silkscreen T-Shirts or manufacture CDs, either, right? And that's why you contract out.

You'll be contracting out to make iPhone apps, too. Nobody expects you to learn C and buy a Dev Kit from Apple. Just like nobody expects you to build your own amplifiers.

August 5 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

Great article. Lot's of changes are happening; we really have no choice but to adapt to the new concept.
I still think that touring/playing live shows has the biggest impact on making new fans. Once a musician/artist/band finds a way to consistantly create income streams online than that would be the perfect scenario.
And of course; if the band could get in exchange for giving away free music get a free van and hotel rooms, that would be a pretty fair deal. :P (I had to throw some sarcasm into it)

;)
JVB

August 5 | Unregistered CommenterJVB

Justin - very good point.
But I still don't care about Kings of Leon's super new app/ gadget/ thingy.
I want to listen to the music (on CD preferably) and see them live. Same as any band I may come across.
The future is uncertain and daunting, but i'll keep reading and learning (and writing better songs.)

August 5 | Unregistered Commenterdaznez

@ daznez

I wrote this post. I work on the underlying technology. But, I feel the same way about music consumption as you do. I rarely have to see a live performance to fall in love with a song, and I don't need much else (new tech) to become and/or stay a fan.

I do however, want to be able to walk into my home, listen to music, and flip through images, fan-generated content and other artwork - via the flick of my fingers or through a clicker. I am not really interested (although many are) in the active social features these applications will also offer, but I would enjoy grazing on a pile of relevant widescreen images from the comfort of my couch. Then again (now that I am thinking about it) perhaps the fan images will draw me into the social features of application...

Anyhow, I would encourage everyone to think beyond handheld devices. There will undoubtedly be high definition versions of these apps to consider also.

August 5 | Registered CommenterBruce Warila

whatever happened to the song?

August 6 | Unregistered Commentertodd

what about licensing.. thats a viable source of income for any musician/producer etc

August 7 | Unregistered Commenterm

@ Bruce:
Agreed, and there will be millions (hopefully) of people who will also want to do the same - I do scan through the artwork/ lyrics/ credits of the albums that I buy, so it's not that far removed.
From your article and the following comments I got the impression that we're all trying to find new ways to break our music to potential fans, using things with 'added value.'
For me as a fan though, the music (and some nice artwork,) is enough. They don't have to give me fluffy toys or a back massage, it starts to come off as a bit desperate.

August 7 | Unregistered Commenterdaznez

I think its important to give music away because I think it will convert some folks into fans and is a great way to reward your "followers" if they have signed up to get updates from you.

As far as touring - for me personally I have to sing for people. I would so much rather share an experience with fans on the road then record in the studio. I think that live experience cant be recreated and while its a bit of work and its tough to stay in the black so to speak its the main reason I got into music in the first place.

As a music consumer I find it so frustrating to love an artists recordings and then go to a concert that lacks the same creativity and limit pushing that they might try on their records.

I think I'm beginning to ramble here but my point is that I think you need to do both (or at least I need to) and that they should support and bounce off each other.

As far as getting people to come out and see you when you tour that is all in the comminity and connections you make. While it would be great to have a hit song or placement on TV that connects to someone and brings them out to support you if you dont have those things its far easier to do that live then over a CD or computer.

I completely agree with your last point Bruce that you need to hold some stuff back to release later. Its on of the faults of being creative that you want to release and share everything you just created and get approval/oppinions but in case you have a little writers block or something like that its good to leave yourself some content to release later on.

August 9 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie Gelman

i recently wrote an article on my website. It was about the website spotify.com and the future of music and i do believe that music will eventually be free and the money will be made though advertisements. you can read my blog entry here! http://theobserverpodcast.com/?p=274

August 10 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Rogers

Great post Bruce! In terms of giving music away, I think you need to go into more detail about this because there are many ways to give music away that an artists can profit from. At VerveLife, we create digital music promotions for brands where we offer free music downloads to consumers through custom branded digital microsites. These enable artists to use the brand platform as a new way to distribute music to, say, millions of burger king consumers. Partnering with brands has made bands like Colplay (who partnered with Apple) the kings of digital music. You can give music away for free, but still profit if you do it the right way. Check it out www.vervelife.com

August 10 | Unregistered Commentervervelife

the thing is, face to face, eye to eye, cheek to cheek REALLY makes a difference. ITS all DNA and chemistry that really makes a difference in the beginning. So , I LIKE all of this stuff but bands /artists need that instant feedback of watching an audience leave so that they can desperately play the HIT in an effort to get everyone to come back so they can get shagged........

where is the shagging in all of this anymore????


bestestest

Martin Atkins

August 15 | Unregistered Commentermartin atkins

I am a songwriter/producer and have the usual online outlets(Myspace, itunes,Cdbaby etc). I have to agree that as rewarding as it is , playing small live gigs is a very slow way to garner support. There is not a musician alive that does not love it when an audience reacts positively to a song/set/show. However, I have over 500 records in my collection yet there is only 8 of these bands I have ever seen live. The reality is that big bands tour to make money cause they make bugger all from CD sales. The bottom line is that independent music producers will never make a living from selling thier music to the public unless you write that one in a million song. So just keep on writing, put it out there, and keep your fingers crossed. One great song will do it!

August 26 | Unregistered CommenterRobbie T

This is a great article, i like "writing a music business plan" even more. The only bummer with this plan is "Timeline: 2012 and beyond"...we all know the world end Dec 21st, 2012. I guess we will have 11 3/4 months to live large.

September 17 | Unregistered CommenterPhil M

This revised model, which isn't a new concept, makes a lot more sense to a broader spectrum of musicians.

For a few years the pitch was that if you don't make music that can be performed live, you're doomed. Under the old model there was a pretty broad spectrum of music that becomes impossible to make a living from in the future - from electronic "dance" music through to orchestral and electro-acoustic studio bound compositions.

Sure "dance" oriented music can be club & DJ centric, but there's still a *lot* of music that is not in a rock or band format that is almost impossible or impractical to tour in the traditional sense (on a realistic budget).

....and don't get me started on the slew of small-time local "promotors" who run little more than pay-for-play scams ripping off young bands.

Being a musician is not just about "songs". Sure pop music is, and I guess that is the biggest market. But music isn't just about lowest common denominator. For a while it seemed that musical horizons were being narrowed and not broadened. I'm still not convinced that we're heading towards a change of direction on that front.

ac

January 8 | Unregistered Commenterac

I see it as many different business plans working with different bands or to many plans working all at once within the one band over any given time, vague i know :D

We do what we do digitially; website, blog, forum, networks, services incl engine optimize and each individual band will then go their own way.

Bands must first put the foundations in and in the 21st century this means giving in to new technologies, new practices almost on a daily basis.

As i put above, digitally means contacting any domain of music; fans, film. Market yourself with your digital presence and you will even find 'organic'[people who search for something and stumble opon your site] listeners.

January 8 | Unregistered CommenterMartinT

It's interesting that one day someone decided that music should be free and that the song is the least important part of a MUSICIAN'S career. Your song simply as your banner add? I don't buy that. Paul Simon, Radiohead and John Mayer won't be remembered for their merch. Writing good songs is the most important element. Without that, you're just a gimmick underneath the glass ceiling of the "indie" scene.

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterD. Pharikat

D.

I don't think anyone anywhere decided that songs are the least important part of anyone's career; it's the MP3 that doesn't have (or transmit) much value.

I think if you had a better understanding of the types of digital music products that will be released over the next 24 months (Apple has one coming on Jan 27, 2010), you could see the point of giving away songs (MP3s) for free. I did not have physical merch exclusively in mind when I wrote the post; I was thinking mostly digital. Finally, "free" doesn't matter anyways. People buy and people steal no matter what the price is. Just ask Radiohead.

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterBruce Warila

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