Should I Give My Music Away For Free?


Written by Mary Woodcock

17 September 2014

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This is a question that definitely props up every second of everyday, from both perspectives of the industry. It’s SO relevant in today’s market, and proves to be crazily subjective! That’s why we think it’s an important topic to cover, to help people with the formation of their own opinion. Will giving your music away for free pay-off in the end? Do we have a choice? What other alternatives are there? The industry has changed massively, and it may be time to bite the bullet and change with it, or even better, innovate with it.

 The Argument

It seems that – when briefly looking at both sides of this argument – it’s a case of; music should be free because musicians make enough money from other sources, more people will listen to the music increasing the chances of popularity, the idea of free music promotes more of an organic sense of creativity rather than a ‘for the money’, the list of pros goes on. On the cons side; it’s not fair for the artists who put the time and effort into creating, it will psychologically devalue the music and create a more disposable attitude toward it, it’s ok for big time musicians but what about the independent creators that are just starting out who desperately need the income? Again, this list is ongoing.  

 Hmmm… 

I think the reason this topic has become extremely subjective, is because it’s something that is inevitably happening and is bringing traditional senses out of kilter. “The times they are a changin’” and I think its time to change with it. We have to face it, adapt, and move with it, and the quicker we realise this, the more ahead of the game we will be. If you are someone who believes in only selling music, then maybe the best thing is to put your first few bits out for free, build some traction, and then put the value to your music, some pretty simple business knowledge really. There is a part of me that still believes that putting a price on music makes it feel more valuable. If you’re giving away too much of your music for free, it could find itself becoming quite disposable. Easy come easy go.

 

 Crowd Fund, Impact, Create 

So let’s look at an alternative that incorporates a bit of both, crowd funding. Crowd funding is a way of saying, “here’s my music for free, if you want to help out and keep this thing going then you can make a direct impact.”  What’s also good about this is that it makes the fan feel as if they are having a direct impact on the music, and they also have a better idea of what exactly they are buying into. Check out PledgeMusic and companies of the like.

 

 The Inevitable Future 

For the future, streaming is looking like the ultimatum of music consumption, let’s face it, it’s a much better alternative to buying music, clogging up your hard drive, and it’s free! Whom are we kidding here? Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Check out this report if you would like to enlighten your consciousness a little more on the subject.

So just to summarize a little, I think it’s a matter of knowing the market you’re in and changing and adapting with it. In the now having your music free at first, then putting value to it seems like a good idea. There’s no way of changing the future. I don’t think it’s anything to fear. The music is becoming something more exciting than ever; we now have no limits as to what we can create and whom we can connect it to! I hope this article helps you on your journey to forming your own opinion!

 

Check out this article for even more information!


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