Web 2.0 Strategy - Giving Away Your Music to create more Income Streams
A few weeks back I tweeted an article that I think ALL musicians should read. It was Andrew Dubber's : New Music Strategies - Why give music away for free?
Giving away music for free seems to be a SCARY thing in the music industry these days. Many artists are so in love with what they've created that they couldn't fathom even giving it away for free. The key to wrapping your mind around giving away music is to do it in exchange for something that can benefit you down the road i.e. bribing fans to sign up to your email list with a free mp3.
Andrew Dubber gave a GREAT reason on why giving away your music for free is not a bad thing:
- Don't try to make money from your music, make money BECAUSE of your music
After I posted that tweet I received an AWESOME email that I wanted to share just as a case study of how giving music away for free worked for an independent hip hop group.
My artist management company represents an independent live hip-hop/soul band from Chicago called "Animate Objects." In the past year and a half, the band has won quite a few awards and contests, had a big spread in Billboard, charted on CMJ, was chosen for a bunch of festivals (CMJ, NXNE, etc.), and generally had some success. But all of that was not translating into a solid fanbase. (MySpace friends were in the thousands, but as you know, that site is worthless and those aren't "real" fans.) So we made an easy decision to release the new EP for free in exchange for email addresses.
The EP was made officially available less than a week ago. We have only begun to do some grassroots promo by being very active on Twitter, contacting a few bloggers, emailing college radio stations, posting on some online forums, and sending one email blast to the existing fanbase. We have much more promo to do, but this minimal promo has resulted in us DOUBLING are email list in 6 Days!
Some people might say that we gave up an entire income stream. I disagree - the income stream wasn't there in the first place. Since these economic times are hard, we knew there is no way that people would pay to download an EP. And even if they did, we would never expect this many people to download it so quickly. Giving it away for free is the best decision the band has made in a long time...perhaps in their entire 5-year career.
HERE IS THE INTEGRAL PART OF THIS ALL:
We now have many more fans to which we can promote gigs, peddle merch and offer even more bonus content. Plus, the band didn't have a street team last Thursday; now we have been forced to create one thanks to all the fans who offered to help promote the band.
Dubber goes on to clarify that this is a business strategy - not a business model. Giving stuff away for free is NOT a business model. You'll find it very hard to make money if all you do is give things away. But equally it's very hard to make money UNLESS you give things away.
So as you can see they are not LOSING an income stream with giving away free mp3's, but actually gaining an income stream with a solid email list of fans.
Cyber PR Urban is Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR's new urban division that handles Hip Hop and R&B as well as urban and urban crossover artists. We connect urban artists to Blogs, Podcasters, Internet Radio Stations, Vlogs, Social Networking sites, and Webzines. Cyber PR Urban's Urban Plug newsletter is a free bi-monthly e-zine for musicians & entrepreneurs who want marketing, promotion and PR tips for navigating the new music business. Sign Up here:
www.cyberprurban.com. Check out past articles at: www.cyberprurban.com/blog
Christina Duren started her music career as an intern at Island Def Jam where she spent a year in the Radio and Promotions/Publicity department. At IDJ she worked with Mariah Carey, Rihanna and Ne-Yo. From there she took her first real job at Shore Fire Media working campaigns for The Roots, and Heineken Red Star Soul Tour. Christina now acts as PR Director for Cyber PR and co-founder of Cyber PR Urban.