Sunday, April 27, 2008

Why You Must and How to Implement a Free Song Strategy

By Bruce Warila

I read most of the music business blogs out there, and I read a lot of comments that readers post on many of these blogs. I believe it’s a common misconception that new-music-business bloggers generally advise artists to give away all their music for free. So, I am declaring my position here, along with guidelines for implementing a Free Song Strategy.

General Comments on Making Songs Available for Free

The day you enable fans to download your songs without paying for them - will NOT be the day you experience a massive spike in traffic. In fact, nothing will change. Those that really wanted to obtain your music for free already did so.

More than 50% of the population will buy your songs if they like your music. Digital music revenue is growing not shrinking. There is no survey or statistical evidence that demonstrates that FANS that share/borrow/demo/steal music will NEVER buy music from the artists they like.

When people get older they have less time to share/borrow/demo/steal music; instead they opt for uniformity and convenience; this is when you will convert the other 50% of the population into purchasers.

There is a lot of dribble out there about the growth of BitTorrent/file sharing and the percentage of demonstration (stolen) music within MP3 players - ignore this. There are bigger picture concerns that labels and artists should be focused on. The only thing these surveys tell me is that a lot of people are test-driving a lot of music.

You are NOT training an entire generation of music consumers that music should be free. You are declaring to the world that you may try my music prior to buying it. However, you should also be declaring that your music is available for purchase on every digital music store on earth. “PLEASE BUY AFTER YOU TRY” should be your message.

It is EXTREMELY difficult to run a profitable business when you are relying upon selling $.99 cent downloads that are sold by stores that take a cut of your revenue; irregardless of your size and popularity. MP3 downloads will NOT be the last digital product this industry creates. If you focus on seizing every bit of download revenue you can obtain, you will be hurting your chances to increase your popularity; which will hurt your chances of selling high-margin digital products when they arrive. Focus on popularity not on selling $.99 cent MP3s.

Reasons Why You Must Make Some Music Available For Free
For a lot people - the MP3 player is their radio, and this is a rapidly growing segment of the population. If you want to be on this radio - you have to make free songs available for download. You cannot expect people to buy your music until they are fans of your music.

Falling in love with songs is a complex process; although widgets help, it rarely happens by listening to songs played through a widget that is tied to the Internet. In a recent post I use this equation: Listeners * Frequency * Conversion Rate = Fans. If you have a few minutes, you should read this post.

Read the rest here...

No comments: