Artists are giving away way too much free music. The belief that giving away free music will result in future sales are too far-fetch. Also with the advancement of new distribution models cutting down the dollar value on music (Cloud/Subscription models), we are entering a stage where the public is becoming too accustomed to free music. Sure illegal downloads are here and will continue to be here, but artists must not fall into the trap of allowing their fans to dance to the tune of music is a free commodity.
Yes, there are some high profitable outlets for making money with music outside of the music sales, but a lot of those slots are reserved for big name artists with established fan-bases already. I hear a lot of people speaking on brand association becoming new revenue sources for artists, but not for the average indie artists, and plus that is nothing new anyway. In fact, I won’t be surprised if brands begin cutting back their budgets on these associations beginning early 2012. There’s just too much money being spent on an un-guaranteed model. The best option for indie artists is to build organic relationships with their fans. There are many options and models of doing this. Of course, I personally vouch for Music Assistant Now, the best choice in social media marketing for artists. And I know there are many obstacles to overcome with building organic personal fan-bases….IE: time, costs, lack of knowledge, resources, innovation, etc. This is why what I am about to present works so great. It will produce additional revenue; all the while maintain your building an organic fan-base.
Firstly, limit the amount of music you offer for free. Decrease the level of free music and offer alternative products/services for sale. Products or services may be music related like teaching how to play an instrument, or outside of music like selling apparel. You may have a hobby that you can profitize off of, consider it. You can be as creative as you want, just offer something else in exchange of just your free music. The benefits of creating side products and/or services for sale are:
1. You maintain the dollar value of your music
2. Profits from selling side products
3. You condition fans to make purchases from you
4. You develop more control over your music
5. You build that organic relationship with fans who have now become consumers
I will explain these benefits in detail in pt.2 of this post.
Remember in this new world of the music industry you have more control over your career. Don’t be afraid to try new options. Be free…be bold….but PLEASE stop giving away all of that music for free.