Monday, 16 February 2009

Music For Free Or Pay What You Want?


Should an Artist or Band give away their music? There seems to be more evidence to support the argument that if a band gives away its music over the internet, they will make more money in the long run via merchandise and physical CD sales at their live performances. Also a recent experiment carried out by Benjamin Taylor (son of James Taylor & Carly Simon) showed that, people are likely to pay more, if they can pay what they want at Live Gigs. They are more willing to support the artist, if they are caught up "in the moment" of the concert and will still want to own a physical CD, even if they have downloaded the tracks in the past. Of course you will always get someone wanting a free CD, but this will be outweighed by the fans who have loved the show and want to meet the band and continue the growth of their relationship with that artist.

Live Music is resurgent and is one of the few ways the songwriter or musician can start to earn a living in this file sharing climate. In that respect it makes sense for an artist to use the internet to distribute their music as far and wide as possible and to build a loyal fan base via the many outlets available over the web. Building a close relationship with true fans is seen as key to success in this modern music industry. Although physical CD's will still be available over the internet they are becoming less important.

My own opinion is that there is still a massive market for music which is evolving almost daily and at times is difficult to keep track of. There is still a place for musicians to sell their physical CD's over the internet, you only need to see the success of CDBaby which since its inception in 1998, has paid out $98million to independent artists through CD sales, with a growth of 2% in 2008. In contrast major labels suffered a fall in CD sales of 14% in the same period. Its horses for courses, I believe a balance can be struck between giving away mp3's for free and making CD's available to people who want to support and own the artists work in a physical format.

On a personal note I am happy to have joined the rock band Big W and look forward to working with them in the near future....


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