You are living in one of the most radical movements in consumerism in modern history at the moment. More things are available for cheaper and with lots more variety and choice than ever ever before. Books that 10 years ago cost £20 odd now cost less than £5 thanks to Amazon. Thanks to Spotify you can hear pretty much any band, anytime, anywhere, for free 🙂
As a band we have been following a policy of making our music available totally for free. Not only that but as soon as our promo EP Backstage Pass was released we actually gave out our CD at gigs.
Each CD had cost us around £1.75 to print and produce and we were happy to give it out for no money in return. When Facebook hit the mainstream we made new friends and mailed a couple of dozen CDs out to friends and fans in the US and worldwide, postage on us too. We were THAT confident that our stuff was so amazing 😉
Not only that but after a while we started selling both our physical CD and downloads on iTunes. But how is that possible? How can you sell and give something away for free?
And does that mean that we (and all artists) should not make money from our music? What about the bigger picture? Are you stealing from an artist when you download their stuff that is for sale somewhere else? This is a debate that is now roughly 10 years old. Music piracy has now become a household term.
Artists should give away their music for free
Andrew Dubber argues why artists should give away their music for free and he simply sums up his philosophy as such
Make money because of your music, not from it
And really, that is all there is to it, you can follow the link on his name and get into more detail if you want.
The old music retail model is dying pretty fast, a music store was paid for storing a cd, truckers were paid for driving the cds to the store, a factory was paid for printing and producing them and many other middle people depended on the physical sales of music.
The digital world killed all of that off.
Basic Economics – Demand Vs Supply
What does that mean for us poor people in DonkeyBox then? Well selling music will always follow the rules of selling anything. That old rule of basic economics that you learnt back in school. It is all about demand and supply. We first need to build a tangible fanbase, connect to people and let them reward us for our art.
In economic terms this means that there first needs to be demand for our material.
It is perfectly normal now to both sell and give your things for free. Some people simply want to reward the artist by buying their products. Bands now have to diversify into selling a range of merchandise and generate revenue that way. A live gig is a music product, so is a t-shirt, toy and yes…you heard it right…a physical CD!
It is just that the nature of the music product has now changed, that’s all. So, in summary we think it is perfectly normal to give our music for free and also have it for sale at the same time.
What are your takes on all this?
How do you reward your favourite artist? Do you buy their products? Do you still buy CDs or go to gigs? Do you feel guilty if you don’t buy anything from any artist? Let us know!