Why do we as musicians want to give our music away for free? The business term is Marketing. Music is what we do and our music is our offering to the world. Our music is what we hope that people will want to listen to and ultimately buy from us. Our goal is to make the most amount of money from our music. To do that, our music has to be heard by as many people as possible.
If you’re an independent musician like I am and you’re not under contract with a label or a marketing agent then this is a beautiful time for us. With the Internet breaking down the traditional distribution structure of new music, new avenues have been opened up to those of us with original music. More and more people are turning to the Internet to download their music of choice. Just this month, iTunes announced that they were now the top music retailer in the U.S. http://www.macworld.com/article/132825/2008/04/itunes.html What this means to us as independent musicians is that the biggest purchasing audience in the United States is buying music from their computer.
So why put our music on MySpace.com, garageband.com or imeem.com? It’s to get our proverbial “Foot In The Door”. What’s really great is that you can do it for absolutely free. We can get our foot in the door of the online music world by putting a few tracks out there for free and it costs us nothing to do so. This can serve a lot of purposes when it comes to marketing your band and your music. I know I love it when I’m at a gig and fans will ask me where they can get some of our music and I can direct them to my bands MySpace page. My band “In Stereo” has a few excellent original songs we recorded in my home studio that we play live. We don’t have enough tracks to put out a CD but we still want people to have a copy of what we’ve recorded. We’ve accomplished that by putting our songs up on MySpace. By letting people download the songs we now get more people at our shows asking to hear our original music. So we’ve accomplished two of our marketing goals by putting our songs on MySpace for free.
- We have more people coming to our live shows which means we get re-booked and paid more.
- We are creating a market to justify recording more original music and finish a complete album.
The ultimate goal of any live performing musician is to have enough fans coming to see you that you’re guaranteed a good paycheck every time you play. So a great way to build up your fan base is to give them a few free tunes. You can gauge the interest in your music by keeping track of the number of times your music is listened to and downloaded. When it reaches a good level, you can sign up to have your music sold through iTunes. It’s an easy process to get your music sold through iTunes and I will detail it in a future article.
So keep writing, recording, gigging and give a few tunes away to get those fans!!