In today’s music world, indie artists often have all the power. The responsibility and freedom is all in the artists’ hands. They have full power over the creative process, with all the new recording technology available at an affordable price these days. With all the new advertising options available to anyone with a budget, indie artists have the power over the marketing process. And now, with solutions like CD Baby and TuneCore, indie artists are taking their music’s profitability into their own hands. When you have an amazing product, after putting in so much time, effort, practice and creativity into your music, why not sell? Music is one of the most booming industries out. Everyone has bought someone’s music, so why wouldn’t they want to buy yours?
Firstly, they would. And secondly, you can definitely sell. If you have a strong base of loyal fans, you shouldn’t feel bad for wanting to sell CDs, MP3s and merch. In an idealistic setting, you’d have your core fans supporting you financially, spreading the word to others about your amazing music. You’d (hopefully) be doing shows, and creating a consistent amount of music in your career, feeding the fans with just the right amount of material so that you can have a slow and steady brand-awareness growth process.
Now, how about we play devil’s advocate here for a second? What if you ran your music career with intent to make zero profit in your beginning stages? Let’s pretend you have taken a more-aggressive approach in terms of your brand awareness and a less-aggressive approach in terms of your financial growth. Imagine if every show you played didn’t pay you, but instead gave you more exposure to an audience that didn’t know you? Imagine if you made your song available for ‘free download’ on SoundCloud instead of linking it to your iTunes?
What would we suggest? Both! One of our clients recently came to us with the results of trying out both ways; selling and giving away music. He found out that the free approach definitely got him more exposure in the long run, while the paid approach made him look more professional. Try different approaches in your own journey and see what fits best with your goals. If you’re an artist who is more-so in it for the music and not the fame, you’d probably want to avoid iTunes and the like. If you are an established indie artist or band with a fairly big fan-base, you’re probably already successfully selling merch and allocating funds to a particular use. Try different platforms and ideas! You might want to sell certain songs or albums, while giving others away. You might want to make songs available for iTunes and the like (to impress the major players), while still having a free download for the same song in SoundCloud. In the end, if you have all the rights to your work, you have the all the right to try anything until you can make it work!
So, in your journey, what has worked for you? Share your thoughts and ideas, you might give someone else in our community a good tip!