It’s Free!!!

Dave Business, Cracked Up (Blog), Creating, Music/Audio, Opinions, Personal Leave a Comment

If you’ve been following Joe Gilder over at Home Studio Corner the past few months, then you’re aware that he has just finished mixing his latest album.  He’s been documenting the production on his blog and on his podcast.  He’s been quite the resource for those who are interested in mixing as he’s been quite transparent and generous about what he does and how he does it – a lot of it in real-time.

He’s just posted an interesting dilemna that, until recently, has seemed foreign and counter-intuitive: Should Musicians Give Their Music Away?


Well, it’s not pirating and the RIAA doesn’t really have to get involved, so what’s the problem?

(side note: there have been a few recent articles [Guardian Cnet] that have postulated that music pirates actually buy more music than those who don’t pirate)

It’s not an entirely new dilmena and even the mainstream media has gotten into the fray: Reuters

There is a range of opinions on what should be given away … if anything.  At one end of the spectrum, there’s almost what seems like a radical idea – everything created should be open and free to anyone to consume and use as Steve Coleman at M-Base postulates on his blog.

Others such as New Music Strategies and Invisible Oranges suggest a less literally-starving-musician scenario where music is offered for free trusting that consumers will pay for what they like and support artists that they enjoy.

Indie Digest suggests that you give away the option to listen to your music on your site, but still require the consumer to purchase tracks if they want to “take them away”.

The one key see-change point that is made in the Indie Digest and Joe’s article that struck a chord with me is that in this day and age, your music is the marketing tool – not the product.  The product is the artist and the community that he/she creates.  Jonathan Colton and Imogen Heap are fantastic examples of how artists, with the help of the Internet, can create an intimate community that supports them.

Related to this, Sean Young from Key of Grey sent me an interesting theory entitled 1000 True Fans that postulates that an artists needs at least 1000 true fans in order to make a comfortable living – fans that are willing to shell out $100 a year to support you.  That’s not just selling music, but also shows, extras, exclusives… all that kind of stuff.

It’s an interesting new era.  I’m looking forward to hearing what Joe decides!

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