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« Thomas McAlevey CEO of Radical.FM Speaks with The Music Biz Weekly Podcast | Main | Crosstalk cancellation, or "Why Dr. Edgar Choueiri is my new hero" PART 1 »
Thursday
Jul072011

CALL TO INDIE ARTISTS: STOP GIVING AWAY YOUR MUSIC FOR FREE Part 1.5

Due to numerous comments, I realize some readers are missing the point of the post. Sure the title grabs your attention, but it is the substance of the article that further explains the thought process behind Call To Indie Artists: Stop Giving Your Music Away For Free.

“Firstly, limit the amount of music you offer for free.”

The article is written in response to the present FREE model.  YES music given as a promotional tool can be very effective.  I didn’t think this was something that needed to be exemplified.  Though we are still learning the magnitude of its effectiveness,  it has been proven effective enough to give it a try.  Now let me remind everyone at one point in time, personal emailing was a charged service.  It is almost insane to pay for that very same service now.  Sorry, but I’m against songs following the same path.  If the creators have accepted free as a normal, then fans (MORE FANS) will definitely follow suit.  We know fans began downloading free music a long time ago, but with the advancing of new music discovery outlets, fans now are more  willing to pay for music…..because they believe in the artists that they are supporting.  If the industry just willingly accepts free as the main model, then we would have cut off a major life line to many artists.  Artists who can’t afford to follow in the steps of what major artists are doing, or even what some successful indie artists are doing.

Bottom line is if giving away free music works for you, then so be it.  But there are many other artists out there who are looking to generate money off of their music and the plan of just giving away their music for free does not and will not produce successful results.

Also there are many artists out there who are experiencing the immediate results of giving away their music for free.  There is always the test of time that will yield more realistic results.

As always thanks for reading and continue to share your thoughts.  With discussions like this, we all add to a better music industry.

 

About the Author:

Taurean Casey Co-founder of Music Assistant Now
www.MusicAssistantNow.com
Facebook.com/MusicAssistantNow
taurean@musicassistantnow.com

Reader Comments (4)

Hey,

I'm sure you have the best of intentions, but I disagree with most of your post... My response might seem a bit blunt, but it's not meant that way :-)

"Now let me remind everyone at one point in time, personal emailing was a charged service. It is almost insane to pay for that very same service now. Sorry, but I’m against songs following the same path."

Email became free, because hosting and bandwith became less expensive, while others figured out business models that worked better (generated more money!) than the old models. Not a bad path to follow in my opinion.

"We know fans began downloading free music a long time ago, but with the advancing of new music discovery outlets, fans now are more willing to pay for music….."

This is an important fact and probably underlines the irrelevance (sorry) of your point.

"because they believe in the artists that they are supporting."

No. It's because the service is great. People don't sign up to Spotify to support artists, they sign up because it's a great service and gets them the music they want to hear, when they want to hear it. I thoroughly believe part of the reason why music's business model is broken is because people keep expecting consumers to buy the product they want to sell, instead of focusing on what consumers want you to sell. There are many ways to make money. Even if you are giving part of your product (ie. your music) away for free.

After all, these music discovery services you mention all apply freemium models also.

"If the industry just willingly accepts free as the main model, then we would have cut off a major life line to many artists."

Lol. Selling copies of music is not the only way to make money with your music.

"But there are many other artists out there who are looking to generate money off of their music and the plan of just giving away their music for free does not and will not produce successful results."

You fail to explain why not. If your music is good and you let people spread it, more people will hear it. Then you can start planning tours, connect with your fans and listen to what they really want. This creates new business opportunities that go way beyond selling copies and can bring in a lot more money at the same time. Also, if you're able to generate a lot of attention by yourself, then opportunities for sponsorship and other deals with brands open up.

The only artists for which the freemium model does not work is for artists with poor music or an unwillingness or inability to be creative about their business model.

July 13 | Unregistered CommenterBas Grasmayer

Hello Bas,
Your comments are warranted and appreciated. Lets Begin:

I don't think it matters how or why email became free. The point Im making is that it was once a charged service that now is accepted as a free service. Also in regards to your reasoning, we can say since the recording costs are now lower, the price of a song should be lower. Lower ok, but to the tune of free scares me.

I also believe you lack true understanding of a true indie artist operating in the music industry (not just the recent music industry). The sponsorship deals and tours that you speak of are far less likely for the true indie artist. That’s not to say that they have not or can not or never will make money through those means, but it is not as definite as you and many others speak, and there for it is in the true indie artist’s best interest to focus on what core model will make them money....and yes that is the selling of recorded music.

There are many new models that many people have accepted as “this is how you need to operate in today’s music climate.” These models have been some of the best promotional ideas I’ve ever seen, but does it translate into income and even further, what are the effects of these promotional ideas? There aren’t many people asking questions like this and that’s whats alarming.

July 13 | Registered CommenterTaurean Casey

Also in regards to your reasoning, we can say since the recording costs are now lower, the price of a song should be lower.

You're conflating two unrelated things.

Email became free because it became subsidized. Google can provide Gmail for free because of the money it gets from AdSense. Same thing with Hotmail and Yahoo. These companies make money from other services, and email is just a carrot to lure potential customers into their pool of paid services.

Music is becoming free (or nearly free) for a different reason: marginal costs -- the cost of making copies -- are almost zero. It costs very little to make a perfect copy of a song these days. It really doesn't matter if you spend $10 or $10K on creating the song, the asking price for the copy is linked to the amount it costs to create the copy.

As I like to say, a recorded song is not like a loaf of bread. It takes money, materials, effort and time to make each new loaf. On the other hand, a copy of a digitally-distributed song can be made in seconds at nearly zero time and cost.

That's why the revenues from "music" are shifting to items that aren't easily copied (merchandise, wearables, limited-edition stuff, etc.), items that cannot be copied (concert experiences), and licensing (sync rights and commissioned work).

July 13 | Unregistered Commenterscottandrew

@scottandrew

If we substitute Google or Yahoo with artists and change emails to songs, isnt that the same thing...with the concept being:
As Google I can make more money off of my other products like Adsense
As an artist I can make more off of my other products like merch.

July 13 | Registered CommenterTaurean Casey

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