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100 K downloads mixtape project for close to zero $

“Few weeks ago, while eating italian food in a swiss restaurant, Dj mehdi told me about his idea to releasean unofficial remix mixtape right before the release of the official one on Edbanger/Because music. The idea was to release all the remixes that didn’t make the cut. (copyright and clearances issues reasons mainly) Few days later the mixtape got leaked and the stats are now impressives : 30 K downloads zip format albums / 20 K indivuduals tracks download / 70 K qualified plays (more than 30 sec) from more than 60 countries… Targeting this kind of audience would had cost almost 25 K Euros 10 years ago Vs. close to zero today. Here’s a little “BBB behind the scene release” Itw with Mehdi: Why was it important to start the original leak from your own website ?

Well, first I have to say that I was so disappointed by the fact that some labels (majors for the most part) wouldn’t let me use the tracks they asked me to remix in the first place, I had to find a way to convey them all to the wider audience possible. A ‘Black Mixtape’ (as there are ‘Black Albums’) of all the songs I wasn’t able to use seemed a good option. I also saw this as a good promo idea for a record which we had almost zero money to spend on marketing for. Then, I realized that if you piled up all my Myspace friends, Ed Banger followers on Twitter, fans on Facebook, plus subscribers to the the Ed Banger newsletter, you had a much bigger number than copies we were actually expecting to sell of this compilation. To this number, I guess you have to add all the blogs and personal pages that posted the info and/or download link to the mixtape, whom we encouraged a lot. It was like a ‘50 Cent reverse plan’: we deliberately wanted the record to leak the most possible, in order to provoke the most awareness.

Back to the production of this mixtape now, do you have an approx idea for total cost of the production and distribution ?

There is no easy answer to this question: all the music was already produced, and production costs were supported by the original labels. I mixed the mixtape in my own studio, using a Pioneer CDJ 1000 and Logic Audio on my Mac laptop, so that was virtually free. And there was no proper ‘mastering’, except for the one I did using my own plug-ins. I guess the mixing/compiling/mastering were close to zero money. Only time consumed. Ed Banger’s art director, So-Me, draw the cover, which was actually a derivative from the official record cover. It was probably the only new cost affected to the release, because the hosting and downloading links had been offered by Fairtilizer, again, for free, as was the promotion spreading of all the social platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Myspace mainly.

You been in the music production business for more than 15 years. 10 years ago what would had been way to make a mixtape release ?

The means of home-studio production were already in place 10 years ago. But the ability to spread the word AND the music all in one move was simply impossible. You’d have to organize the manufacturing of the CD, first, then to raise awareness about it, using regular promo outlets like press ads, or radio appearances (which were rather sparse for a mixtape release), and last but not least, take the CD’s to the audience, whether it was distributing it “the old fashioned way”, in record stores or via mail distribution, or just plain have street teams giving it away in concerts or main squares. Now multiply that to the number of countries you’re trying to reach and you get a decent budget you’d might rather save for your kids education, or for a good bag of weed.
Production costs ? About 3000 Euros.
Manufacturing cost ? 3 to 5000 Euros, depending on the numbers.
Promo agency and shipping fees ? For, say, 5 markets (France, UK, Germany, USA andBenelux), 10000 Euros. For Japan, even more.

I am hearing more and more artists asking bloggers and music media to not rehost their music so they can keep up with the stats. Do you feel it is a fair request ?

No, I don’t think so. It’s 2010, trying to block kids from blogging your music seems counter-productive to me. The more I get blogged, the best it is. If you want to keep up with your stats, you better find a way to host your music from one single place on the internet, a place opened enough for bloggers to be able to use it on their own platforms.

You have some buzz in an emerging country but no way to monetize it, would you give away your music for free ?

Me? Of course. My record label? I’m not sure, and I would respect that.

How do you feel about the constant growth of remixes ?

Remix is the new demo, go, have fun, knock yourself out.

We heard you had download issues with the Uffie remix. do you think that shorter copyright would stimulate creativity ? compulsive licences ?

I used a sample that couldn’t be cleared, so Ed Banger had to retain the remix from being out there. It was sad, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It didn’t killed my creativity at all, because I leaked it myself 2 weeks after the official release anyway.

Internet seems to shorten attentions, do you feel that today an artist should release materials more often than 5 years ago ?

Back in the sixties, The Beatles used to release two albums a year. Sorry, they used to release two CLASSIC albums EVERY year.

What about the future of the music object ? Who knows, really? Mehdi.

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