#086: Chris Anderson – all about FREE

Giving away music for free: does it help or hinder an artist’s career? There are those who believe that giving away music devalues it and makes it disposable. Others believe that free music is an essential marketing tool that artists can use to expand their reach and build their fan base. Both Schools of thought offer valid points. We’ve invited Chris Anderson, Author of the book FREE: The Future of a Radical Price to discuss his views on the subject. His book explores the way businesses and content creators are using ‘Free’ as a way to expand their reach.  The interview just scratches the surface of the ideas covered in Chris’ book, so I encourage you to check out the book which you can find at the links below, and yes, the audio book version is free.

You can download the free audio book from iTunes here.

Get the paperback version from Amazon here.

  • http://www.strangerepublik.com Rob Phas

    Great interview, I was really loooking forward to it. Though, I would advise critics of the Free concept to check out the book before making any judgements. Chris’s analysis is probably the best out there on the subject.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t learn about the abridged audiobook version until I sat through the 7 hour unabridged audiobook :( But despite being ridiculously long, the book was a very fascinating listen.

    I’m already a huge supporter of free as a price and I offer all of my music (the bits version) for free with no strings attached. Maybe someday I will implement some kind of freemium model with physical products, but the digital incarnation will always be free.

    And to the musicians who are still resisting Free: Whether you’re giving it away or not, your music’s ALREADY FREE. If it’s in digital form, you can’t stop it from being downloaded for free. If you can’t accept this, then just stay off the internet completely. I’m not saying you have to give away your music; by all means sell the digital version if you want to. I’m just saying that at some point you need to accept the reality that anything digital can now be obtained for free. And will be. The world has changed and you’re about 12 years late.

  • http://www.scottandrew.com scottandrew

    I saw Chris Anderson speak when he came by my workplace last summer. I wrote about it briefly here:

    http://www.scottandrew.com/wordpress/archives/2009/07/free.html

    I think the point about psychology/emotion still stands. The value of art to someone who doesn’t care is zero, regardless of how you price it. You always start at zero.

  • http://www.robertleeking.com Robert Lee King

    Man, I was expecting bad but this was beneath even my lowest possible expectations. “I mean, and um, you know, you know, and and..” very articulate Mr. Anderson. NOT!

    A man who earns his living with words should be able to speak at least reasonably well. I find it sad that his one citation for the entire Free model was for as he said “One Word, Ok Go”. That video like most uTube videos sold absolutely no product. True, it garnered the band a great deal of attention but it also marked them forever as a novelty. A cross they will have to bare for the rest of their careers or risk the loss of the few real fans they have gained.

    The biggest falacy of his thinking is that digital costs nothing. WRONG. Like the magazine he works for, without paid advertisers and other per click models, the internet would have a price tag just as anything else in life does.

    Digital content costs a great deal to produce in the first place. True that content doesn’t cost more to reproduce, for the producer but, for the party serving that content, it costs in storage, bandwidth and aquisition.

    Demoware, shareware and trialware are not even in the same ballpark. For one, all three methods of delivery are crippled in some way and all three expire. Digital music and other entertainment media is not crippled and does not expire. Once given away, it’s in the wild and cannot be reasonably charged for ever again. All 3 trial models are try before you buy sales tools, free is just that, free.

    The internet by the way is a great deal older than 12 years, actually more than 26 years in point of fact. It was initially conceived and designed more than 40 years ago.

    As for the comment above mine, true, if it’s in digital form it can likely be downloaded for free from the internet. Even so, that doesn’t make that theft any less wrong than walking into your neighborhood retailer and grabbing a cd off the shelf and tucking it into your shirt. It’s still stealing, still morally reprehensible and still very much, illegal.

    The sole difference is the shoplifter fears the store owner/operator and what they will do when/if they get caught lifting a bit of content without paying for it. On the internet, that same person fears no rebuke and doesn’t consider, even though its the exact same act, downloading for sale content without paying for it, as stealing.

    By all means, give your content away. As indies, that’s one of the few ways we can compete with all the major artists out there who are in fact the ones being downloaded so freely every day. But don’t expect even for a second that your gift will make you an equal to the flavor of the moment. It won’t.

    As for Chris Anderson, well, you don’t ask a poor man how to become rich. You don’t ask a mechanic about your health concerns. You don’t ask a painter how to write a novel and you most assuredly don’t ask a pundit who is not a salesman, how to sell anything.

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/rmarler Ronnie

    I read Chris’ original article in Wired March 2008 edition and thought it was a fascinating idea back then. So I will likely listen to the free audio book. I did notice that a link to the paid abridged version is missing on this post.

    I have been giving free offerings on my web site for a couple years now. I am sure it has not helped sell any CDs. But obscurity is worse than not selling CDs…. Problem is that I suffer from both.

  • http://www.scottandrew.com scottandrew

    I think a lot of musicians still miss the point: free is not a business model — it’s a tactic, part of a mix of actions to accomplish a goal.

    Goal: get 500 people on the mailing list
    Strategy: create an incentive to sign up and leverage existing members
    Tactics that involve “free”:
    - offer free track to new signups
    - offer *different* free track every month to current members in exchange for getting friends to sign up
    - offer free demo CD to sign-ups at shows
    - etc.

    The trouble starts when your goal is “make a living making music,” which for some people translates to “make living selling only full-length CDs because that’s all I want to do and I’m an artist and also Twitter is stupid.”

    But for any of it to work you kind of have to accept the fact that no one has to pay for music who doesn’t want to, ever again. We can argue about right vs. wrong forever, it doesn’t change the reality. Music is cheap/free these days because it’s no longer scarce. Forget stealing, I can just pop over to MySpace and listen to the entire album, for free, put there by the label!

    I think the reason some musicians don’t see positive results from “free” is actually because they’re lacking in other areas. They don’t play shows, or their shows aren’t very good, or they’re still pushing a years-old album, or they’re not working on songwriting, or their website is an eyesore, etc.

  • http://www.davekingmusic.com Dave

    I haven’t heard the episode yet, but stumbled upon the free e-book offer. However, not being an itunes user, is there any other way to get the e-book for free?

  • http://kevinbreuner.com Kevin Breuner
  • http://www.davekingmusic.com Dave

    Hey Kevin,

    Thanks for the link. However, after listening to the show, I’m not sure that I’m interested in the E-Book. He came across as being very arrogant to me and that’s a turn off.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.robertleeking.com Robert Lee King

    Okay, if you all really think Free is such a great model then I would advise you all to spend the time and watch the presentation by Martin Atkins at the link below. Martin walks the walk and talks the talk from experience unlike Mr. Anderson and other pundits out there.

    Martin Atkins Tour:Smart

  • http://lucasmiller.net Lucas Miller

    First, have to say, that I just discovered these podcasts (don’t know how I missed ‘em) and they’re great. Thanks! I’ll be perusing the back issues for several months, I’m sure. Great to have some input from fellow artists who are contemplating the same stuff I am and trying to sort it all out.

    I agree that Mr. Anderson was a rather poor speaker but the meat of his argument was good food for thought. I wondered as well about how he seemed to overlook the production costs and was surprised that they really weren’t brought up. My recordings generally cost about $12-15K and I think that’s a pretty good midline unless you’re going to do it all yourself from engineering, production to mixing.

    If you give it all away for free how do you recoup that investment?? I’ve been making music professionally for 15 years so I don’t need more gigs. I would have liked to have heard more success stories from other musicians who’ve given their work away and seen results. I’d also like to talk about other sources of revenue that building a name for yourself can generate (licensing fees, online play, etc.). I recognize that this is what all of us are scratching our heads over, from indies to major labels.

    I think there are certainly situations where giving it away can work as a PART of your plan (love the line about obscurity being the greatest enemy) but there must be a way to generate dollars directly from sales of the recordings or artists will have to curb back on production value or release nothing at all. There was little discussion of how that would work. I’m not sure Mr. Anderson was that aware of the independent musician’s particular situation.

    I’m giving away a few songs that folks don’t buy my CD’s for but, if they want the hits, they’re going to have to buy them (or download illegally). I do believe that, when you give it all away, a large number of people are going to view it as having less value. I live in Austin where it seems everyone has a CD they’re trying to peddle. When they give them away I, for one, get a sense of desperation and am unlikely to give it a listen.

    Not sure I’m offering much here but the show got my wheels turning and that’s a good thing and I just appreciate your thoughtful and ambitious series; I’ve done some podcasting and I know it takes a ton off time and commitment. So again, THANKS!

  • http://kevinbreuner.com Kevin Breuner

    Lucas,

    Chris does address that in his book, as he does not overlook that. In fact, I’m pretty sure that he addressed that in the interview. I know that everyone brings preconceived ideas about free music to this interview (not saying that’s what happened here) that makes it hard to really hear what he is saying. I think it’s worth giving a second listen.

    The main idea I take away from it is this – In the past, artist used to complain about how they had hundreds of CDs sitting in the basement. The fact that the CDs cost $1-$3 a piece (depending on the type of packaging you choose), kept artists from being generous and trying to create a little more buzz by giving some away. So, instead of people hearing the music, they kept boxes of CDs in the basement in hopes that some magical thing would happen to make people seek out their music. Now that you can give out samples of your music for free digitally, you’re able to get a broader audience that hasn’t heard your music to engage at no extra cost. Remember, the album recording cost is the same whether you sell 0, 100, or 1,000 copies. The way you are going to be able to build a consistent income stream is by having a large number of people listening to your music and anticipating your next releases. What Chris talks a lot about it how using a free component, you can create a much larger pool of listeners interested in what you are doing.

    A long term career cannot be built on emailing the same 50 people over and over again and expecting the same friends and family to come out to every show. You must be expanding your reach and allowing for new people to encounter your music. I’m not saying you must give music away, but it’s worth considering using it in ways to get larger numbers of people in your sphere of musical influence.

  • http://www.myspace.com/markshilansky Mark Shilansky

    Definitely listen to the free audio book… unabridged if you can… If you consider the whole history of “free,” Chris’s points make a whole lot of sense; gets one thinking about how our industry sits in the history of commerce. He also outlines the negatives (when one product is devalued and another one doesn’t immediately step in to take its place); I don’t necessarily think he’s ADVOCATING for free, as much as discussing ways to operate in this new world in which it is a reality.

  • http://www.lucasmiller.net Lucas Miler

    I will give that audiobook a listen (I figured out yesterday that, collectively, I spend 23 days of every year driving–audiobooks turn that into productive/educational time). I may have well missed the discussion of the production costs as I was listening to that particular podcast whilst cookin’ up dinner.

    I can clearly see the case for a new artist to extend their reach by giving away free music but what about the artist whose discs aren’t lingering in the proverbial basement? Do you think that freebies are also sampled by the folks that hire artists and make industry decisions or is this really just to connect with more fans?

  • http://www.gregchako.com Greg Chako

    I find it pertinent that, for the most part, the only people who talk this way
    are not actually musicians (or even artists) themselves struggling to earn a
    living in order to continue their art.

    Some of the premises assumed here are false in my opinion. What Rob`t Lee King
    mentions about digital content not being free to the producer of that content is true.
    Also, obscurity is not necessarily more important than dollars to artists who are secure
    in their own ego.

    It seems the only way for an artist to earn a living is selling their services or
    the fruits of their work, most commonly in the form of a recording, a painting,
    etc…. When will artists get a break? It looks like things are getting worse and worse.
    I agree with Milton Babbitt that the only remaining refuge for the serious artist is the University.

  • http://www.jerrylbunlimited.com Jerryl

    I was listening and the bottom line is nothing is guaranteed whether you give your music away free digitally or not. Action speaks a lot louder than words. If someone, for example, gets your cd single or mp3 for free, doesn’t guarantee they’ll buy your album, go to your gig or become a fan….etc. On the other hand you put your best foot forward and you do what you can or will and see what happens. If you find something doesn’t work…do something else but you don’t give up. You don’t worry about the end result but you enjoy the process and sharing something no one can take away from you in the long run. And for godsake if you’re independant, stay that way…don’t go major!!!

  • http://www.jaredmatthewkessler.com Jared

    I haven’t listened to this yet, but I think it’s important to realize…

    Musicians pay money to press cd’s, go into a studio, master products, and can pay upwards of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars just to put out most if any kind of music. So if you charge no money, it’s not actually free it’s actually negative free.

    So basically in order for a musician to offer something free, he would actually have to charge money to break even – that is truly free. Zero dollars, not negative zero. So in fact he would have to charge money to offer things for free.

  • http://www.michaelmucklow.com Michael Mucklow

    As Greg mentions above, the only ones offering this advice of giving our music away are those who are not in the “same boat”. Plus, you’ll notice they’re not giving away their talent/skill – gotta pay for the book! (Yes, I know the audio version is free).

    I think we musicians, particularly during this time of industry upheaval, are going to (perhaps already do) find ourselves in a similar position to those who lived before records and the recording industry even existed. So very few were compensated monetarily for their talents. But I think back then music was better understood as having purpose, whereas due to the industry music just became nothing but fodder for the sake of dollars.

    The indie artists, who are typically much more in touch with their gift, will most likely be the ones who return music to having a true purpose in peoples lives, albeit without “fair” compensation. We ought to get used to the idea that what the industry produced was only a huge illusion (of fame and fortune); and we seem to be drawn to that.

    Should I give my music away? When the moment calls for it; and I have done so. Otherwise, no.

  • http://kevinbreuner.com Kevin Breuner

    The one reoccurring comment I see (that I think needs rethinking), is that distributing mp3′s doesn’t cost anything, but producing the music did. Unfortunately, the consumer does not care how much it cost. Not because they don’t care about the music, but they have no idea what it cost to make an album. Consumers are conditioned to buy music on set price points. They don’t buy the latest pop superstar album at a higher price because the album cost them 3 million to make. They don’t get a discount because someone made an album for $200. They have no idea, so you shouldn’t assume that the random fan knows that it cost you a lot to produce the music. For all they know, the actual pressing of CDs was the total cost of making a record.

    So – Stop making assumptions and engage with your fans in a meaningful way, make great music they love and there will be plenty of income streams for you to continue making money from your music career.

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/tedwzychlinski Ted W.Zychlinski

    Great conversation,and I especially like Mr.Mucklows’comment about music
    having purpose.Those of us who put our heart and soul into our music fully
    understand it’s value,though many others may not for a variety of reasons,
    but if the purpose is strictly for profit,then most likely WE”RE the ones
    who need to re-evaluate!When we perform,we always explain our cds are for sale,but if money is a problem,then they may pay whatever they like including free.While we’re NOT getting rich,we have never suffered for it
    and are always amazed at the money collected as well as the deep “thanks”
    we receive from those who truly cannot afford it!They will not forget us and peoples lives have been touched.Nothing like music with a purpose!

  • http://www.viralgigs.com Andy Rogers

    I’m with ScottAndrew on this one “I think a lot of musicians still miss the point: free is not a business model — it’s a tactic, part of a mix of actions to accomplish a goal.”

    Giving away free downloads is the entry point for virtually all the folks on my mailing list (thousands of permission based opt in subscribers). It’s the gateway to the marketing funnel, which for me has led to more live shows invitations than I can accept as well as direct digital sales on a sales page that even has a “name your own price” option (most buyers freely choose the most expensive option).

    Bottom line. I’ve been with a label in the past and am now indie, I love the ‘free effect’. For me it is the foundation to a scientific business model that predictably generates live gigs and music sales.

    BTW – I do this fulltime

  • Mike

    Kevin,

    The reason that you keep seeing the theme of production costs is that for us who make music, it’s actually a BIG issue. You’re right, the consumer doesn’t have a clue and probably doesn’t care what it costs.. but I do! It’s coming out of my pocket. And how long can it keep coming out of my pocket if I don’t start seeing a return? Most songs cost at least $500 for me to produce, and that’s cheap… I paid $1300 bucks just for real strings on one of my tunes. That’s over 1300 PAID downloads before I break even just for the strings! Oh, yeah… I also had to pay a bass player, keyboard player etc. And I’m supposed to do this WHY? So people can love my art while I go broke giving everything away for free? You know what the main reason is I can’t record more tunes right now? NOT ENOUGH MONEY! But hey, I guess I should just dig myself deeper into a hole to give the consumer what they want and all for free. Take a clue from the newspaper industry… they made the same mistake the music industry made… they thought they could do the online stuff for free. Well, guess what? It’s not working. You can’t pay employees on FREE. And now many are trying to figure out how to turn this boat around before it sinks, cause you can’t survive on FREE… you go out of business. Yeah, this may be “art” but you know what? You still have to eat. I’d rather not have to have supper at a soup kitchen!

  • http://www.musicmarketing.com David Hooper

    Glad to see this here. This is a great book!!

  • waj

    Giving music for free over the Internet can be a good strategy if you have not spent thousands of dollars in album production and you need to get back your initial investment. I feel that there are two categories of musicians: electronic musicians who have home studios and do everything with virtual instruments, so album production will cost them few hundreds of dollars.
    In my case and other acoustic artists playing jazz, classical…, albums can cost a lot of money to be given away for free. Albums can also be a secondary product to enhance touring, but touring is not an easy process either. People need to change their idea that music is free and that it can be obtained for free on the Internet. As professional musicians making a living at music, you need to keep an incoming stream of money going to further you r music and pay your bills, but the actual business model for doing a record is inconsistent with the Internet age.

  • http://myspace.com/flutedude Chris

    Free samples are great, but at some point you have to decide that what you do has value or doesn’t. You also have to decide if your trying to “make it’ or trying to do something artistically different that will never get you to the big time no matter how many downloads you give away. Now if we can just get Mr. Anderson to convince the people who sell musical instruments, PA’s, amplifiers, microphones, guitar cords, mike cords, mixers and recording equipment to buy into this FREE thing I’ll get on board with his concept.

  • http://kevinbreuner.com Kevin Breuner

    Mike,

    I know it’s tough as my band is getting ready to go into the studio again and the funding is a pain. No one is saying you can’t charge for music, but what I am saying is that music buyers are not sold music based on what someone spent to produce it. Therefore, making the argument that fans must support you because making music is expensive will fall on deaf ears. The key is that you must be fostering a close relationship with enough of your fan base that they will care and go out of their way to buy music, t-shirts and go to shows. Just putting music on the shelf for sale is not enough. Throwing free into the mix allows you to start bringing more people into the fold so you have a larger pool of people listening. The larger number of people listening, the larger the number of people you can convert to dedicated fans.

  • http://electricgypsy.info independentmusician

    It is smart to allow free downloads of your music, especially from your own website (or, if need be, via YouTube, Facebook, etc.) where you are able to interact with the potential fans & customers. Don’t give away too many free CD’s (or vinyl records) because that would be too expensive. The train of thought that free downloads “devalues” your music is bunk. Even the RIAA labels secretly know this. (They are often guilty of flooding the p2p networks themselves because they know downloaders have an interest in music and actually often buy when they find tunes they like.) A free download does not equal a lost sale

  • http://www.jerrylbunlimited.com Jerryl

    Free is a good idea to at least help build a fan base for your shows and mailing list. But yes you have to consider what you will give for free and what you will sell. Incentives!!! If you’re just in it, like any other business, to make money then that’s what it’s gonna be about. You have to put the people who you want to listen and buy your music FIRST if you want to be successful. The cost of your musical project is irrelevant to the public. What they want to hear from you is relevant!! Like I said b4, there’s no guarantees, but you do your best with what you have and press on!!!

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/waltert3 Walter Thompson III (Walter T3)

    I have to agree with Waj here in that the business model for making records is at times inconsistent with the internet age especially for the indie artist. I have given away free product many times to expand my audience and influence within and outside of my marketing genre. In many cases this worked for me even though it was tough to take it on the chin financially. My biggest problem as an eclectronic record producer is the wait time between projects due to lack of funds. This reality has prompted me to produce long MP3s to release into the market to keep the promotional and financial ball rolling and come back later to assemble a CD when I have enough material for a complete project. With this model I have found previously released tracks, originally released as MP3 singles, to have been helpful in the promotion and selling of a complete CD project that had to initially be shelved. But at best, this is a tedious and less than ideal road to navigate.

  • http://www.stvitus.co.uk phil_hp

    Production costs are killing me so I guess it’s just as well I’m not expecting to make a living out of music – however much I’d love to. I have to admire the bit of Chris Anderson’s tactic which isn’t free. In my own humble way I’m doing a similar thing. All of my music is there on my website for those who want to listen to streaming, low res mp3′s. Like Mr Anderson’s book though, the hi res CD in a hand made box set with original artwork (some by professional artist friends of mine) becomes something worth owning and paying for. It helps make a bigger distinction between what you’re paying for and what you’re not.Just one of those “tactics” referred to by others I thought I’d share…

  • http://www.publicsymphony.com dobs

    We offer ‘pay what you like’ for downloading mp3′s our award-winning album from our website publicsymphony.com (which is enabled cheaply by bandzoogle). Most people do take it for free but a handful pay more than iTunes. I like the idea above and may modify the text to say that it is for sale, but those who have money problems can pay what they can afford down to free.

  • NatCal

    Thanks for tackling a tough issue. I think the best comment from you Chris, is that we need to think like entrepreneurs. We are responsible for it all now – get creative in business, not just creative with your art.

  • http://www.besharah.ca besharah

    Giving away music for free plays into the unfortunate notion that offerings from artists are “fluff” and are therefore unworthy of having a value. Artists in all media need to remind ourselves (because society won’t) that we create what we do to make the world a more humane place. Art is a vital commodity! If we keep buying into freebie-chic, we may as well hold a neon sign over our heads that blinks out “I’m an endangered species”. Doing this to promote a phantom fan base only perpetuates the whole sick thing and nobody learns anything about how true reciprocity and decency works. It also feeds into that other phenom of our times – that everyone is looking for a “deal”. So many people are so dumbed-down from deal shopping, they couldn’t see quality if it smacked them upside the head. The spoils of the deal are that mediocrity now abounds and that’s the stuff you have to sieve through find a few musical jewels, if you’re a music buyer. If you’re a music seller (more accurate these days than “artist or musician”), you better pray for mega business smarts along with that artistic talent. Since those two skills are more often than not mutually exclusive, what we’re saying is that as an indie artist, instead of a record label eating you up and spitting you out, you now have to be willing to cannibalize your own body parts in the quest for success. Keep going on this way and watch this illusory business tactic keep on Trumping future production of good music – because FREE is the best deal of all, right? If you’re a barnacle. I realize that digital download piracy is easy to do and hard to monitor at this point, but the anti-dote is surely not to give it away for free. Would any other professional, in any other field other than the arts be having this conversation? Not on their bill-by-the-minute lives, they wouldn’t. What the heck is wrong with us they we think this might be a good plan?

  • Noriegus

    Weighing free or not free, having your facebook, twitt and myspace perfection, a slick website, mailing list, your street team, yada yada, alot of the DIY stuff is just feel good dead ends to 99% of the music on CDbaby or anywhere on the net. Nothing against CDbaby, they do needed legwork for you at a very acceptable price. But the bottom line, the reason good acts have to spend SOOO much time with polishing their internet presence…is to try and weed thru the mediocrity. It has nothing to do with their artistry, it has to do with having to compete with the unessessary. Forgive my spelling. Bless anyone who wants to express themselves in whatever form they want, thank god for that. But the saturation of the web with mediocrity (at best) kills the real talent. The mediocrity is not garbage, that is mean, but it is not marketable, the songs dont stick and it is not pro caliber yet it is thrown into that arena.

    I dont really understand why folks who want a creative outlet dont paint or just write manually or something else. Maybe its a rock star fantasy. Getting the people together, getting equipment, getting rehersals going, staying together, actually being able to carry a beat, that is one percent of the battle, hell maybe that is 0 percent. It comes down to the songs. I get tired of hit and miss, trying to find new acts. You sound like Pearl Jam….no you dont.. and u sure as heck dont write to that degree either. Seriously it is an epidemic, pandemic, whatever u call it. It comes down to the songs. I would be willing to pay way more for filters, even modest filters like Pandora uses, to create more exposure to the potential greats.

    Im not an artist, I just use this to find new things to listen to and buy. If you are truly a great songwriter, u are going to get yours sooner than later. ANd giving away free stuff, having the best facebook in town, hoping the local paper will review a CD, all that stuff, wont matter. Look at KYUSS, they played parties in the desert,in their hometown (not a metropolis) and got signed to a major label, who released songs they had already written (in other words they got signed for who they were, not for what the label thought they could be). they have been broken up for 10 or so years….Metallica is still trying to bite their sound after 15 years. If u are good, honestly good, it will find a way, but it sure would be easier if u got your due on the net.

  • http://www.courageousrue.com SiouxDude

    I agree that realizing “free” as a marketing tool versus a means to an end, i.e., symbolizing the value of the work being given a way or a path to some financial support, requires the artist have to think a bit more about what they’re doing. I’m okay with this.

    In addition to being a musician, I’m also an actor. I do countless performances that have little to no cost for the price of admission and hardly ever get paid to perform. In my town of Chicago, you can have a fantastic, crowded house and the actors, i.e. content producers, don’t see a dime from that. Does that mean there’s no value in what they do? No. Most of us are using these “free” performances to build our resumes up to something bigger which at that point it would require the production to compensate the actor. I see this concept with music as no different. Using free music as a way to build up the audience to the point of paying seems like a good avenue to try. It’s incredibly arduous but can be rewarding.

    Some of us are in no position to be able to give away their stuff. Chris mentioned that a number of times in the podcast. Do what’s right for you. The hardest part is that most of us have no clue as to what “right” is for us. So, discounting this approach wholeheartedly would be a mistake to make as it may not apply to your situation.

  • Pingback: An Infinite Freeway For Music Business?

  • http://queeniemusic.com Kimberly Steele

    I’m a guitar/piano/singing/home recording music creator, but I’m also a horror writer. Therefore I feel entitled to speak both as a writer and a recording artist. I’m a big advocate of free, having given away plenty of songs under the name Queenie as well as my entire first novel, a free audiobook called Forever Fifteen. Frankly, I’d be NOWHERE if I hadn’t been generous to a fault in “giving myself away” in exchange for the exposure it brought.

    You don’t seek a label deal for my obscure weirdo style of music, which is gothic ethereal, like Enya doing the Crouching Tiger soundtrack. What you must seek is a dedicated core of fans who are less like fans and more like friends. If they’re friends, it’s easy to be generous. Never be cheap with your friends.

    Forever Fifteen’s “risky” free release brought me movie interest from both coasts. It also created one of the most rabid-for-a-sequel group of fans since Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. Finally, in the long tail of Forever Fifteen’s success, I’m starting to get genuine agent and publisher interest from HUMAN BEINGS I ACTUALLY LIKE. With the demise of publishing in 2008, would a first time author who had essentially written a very dirty Twilight had those things happen? Probably not. That’s the cost of free, that you reach the people you never would have known or cared about you. I’m sticking with it.

  • http://www.davidsony.com/ Dave Yeager

    I must say that for now I agree with Scott Andrew. Although I haven’t read or listened to Chris Anderson’s book, I agree with Scott’s point about it being a sharp tactic to be used creatively. Not only that, but I would suggest that people listen, like and then buy music – in that order. Sound like radio? This is a very interesting article=> http://www.musicthinktank.com/blog/3-timeless-steps-to-music-business-success.html

    On that note, we all need to find and test out our own methods based on our very individual goals and circumstances. If you can sell your CD’s on the internet to peeps who don’t know you online then all the power to you! In my humble opinion – and for my purposes – the internet will never replace live shows. It complements and makes the connection at live shows easier to organize and maintain. I apologize if this point is (probably) moot and understood. I’m definitely not saying I have any answers. Only possibilities to test out for myself.

    Right now all these fascinating discussions are based on hypothesis. But I’m excited by the concept and believe in myself. If it doesn’t work out? Well, I’ve already made my peace with that. I’ll adjust one way or another — but to think that just because you invested tons of time and money into your music that you deserve to have a return on your investment? That’ s what is called a bubble. And bubbles will burst eventually. I lived through a few myself :-) I’ve written songs about it LOL

    I must admit Robert Lee King makes some strong points that resonate. I will check out his suggested link as I also practice the fine art of skepticism.

    Good luck to everyone!! My sincere best wishes for everyone’s success and happiness.

Order Accutane Medication
Online Order Accutane Without Prescription
Purchase Accutane Pills
Buying Without a Prescription Accutane Online
Buy Accutane Without a Prescription Online
Take Accutane Daily Dose
Purchase Cheapest Accutane
Purchase no Prescription Amoxil
Buy Amoxil Without a Prescription
Buy Amoxil Medicine
Alternative Order Amoxil
Buy Alternative Amoxil
Buy Amoxil Overnight Delivery
Take Amoxil Free Delivery
Order Bactrim Medication
Order Bactrim Sale
Purchase Bactrim Tabs
Purchasing Bactrim Pharmacy Without Prescription
Take no Prescription Bactrim
Purchase Cheap Bactrim
Get Bactrim Legally
Order Cipro no RX
Order no Prescription Cipro
Buy Cipro no Prescription
Buy Tablets Cipro Online
Get no Prescription Cipro
Online Order Cipro Without Prescription
Generic Buying Cipro
Take Clomid Medication
Buy Clomid Tabs
Buy Clomid Cheapest
Take Clomid Cheap
Purchase Generic Clomid
Buying Clomid Legally
Pills Buying Clomid
Buy Diflucan Cheapest
Buy Generic Diflucan
Buy Without a Prescription Diflucan
Generic Order Diflucan
Tablets Order Diflucan
Buy Cheap Diflucan
Order Cheapest Diflucan
Alternative Order Flagyl
Buy Flagyl Without a Prescription Online
Buy Without a Prescription Flagyl
Buy Tablets Flagyl
Buying Flagyl Legally
Buy Flagyl Pills
Buy Flagyl Tabs
Buy Glucophage Affordable
Order Glucophage USA
Buy Glucophage Mail Order
Buy Glucophage Medication
Purchase no Prescription Glucophage
Buy Cheapest Glucophage
Online Order Glucophage Without Prescription
Purchase Online Without a Prescription Inderal
Buy Cheap Inderal
Buy Alternative Inderal
Drug Buying Inderal
Purchasing Inderal Pharmacy Without Prescription
Buy Inderal no Prescription
Take Inderal Medication
Purchase Lasix no Prescription
Buy Lasix Mail Order
Online Buy Lasix Without a Prescription
Order Generic Lasix
Purchase Online Without Prescription Lasix
Buy no Prescription Lasix Online
Buy Lasix no Prescription
Purchase Levaquin Drug
Buying Levaquin Legally
Pills Buying Levaquin
Generic Purchase Levaquin
Tablets Order Levaquin
Buy Levaquin Pills
Buy Levaquin Tablets
Buy Lexapro USA
Buy Lexapro no Prescription
Buying Lexapro Overnight Delivery
Buying Lexapro Next Day Delivery
Purchase Online Without a Prescription Lexapro
Buy Generic Lexapro
Buy Without a Prescription Lexapro
Purchase Generic Nexium
Online Buy Nexium Without a Prescription
Order Nexium Without Prescription Online
Order Nexium no RX
Drug Buying Nexium
Pills Buying Nexium
Take Nexium Drug
Drug Buying Nolvadex
Online Buying Nolvadex
Buying Nolvadex Free Delivery
Buy Nolvadex Overnight Delivery
Buy Alternative Nolvadex
Order Nolvadex no Prescription
Purchase Nolvadex no Prescription
Pills Buying Periactin
Purchase Periactin Generic
Buy Periactin Canada
Take Periactin Without Prescription
Buy Cheap Periactin
Online Buying Periactin
Legally Purchase Periactin
Generic Order Plavix
Take Plavix Medication
Purchase Plavix no Prescription
Generic Purchase Plavix
Buy Plavix Without a Prescription Online
Take no Prescription Plavix
Purchase Plavix Without a Prescription
Purchase Cheapest Propecia
Purchase Pills Propecia
Buying Propecia Free Delivery
Purchase Online Without a Prescription Propecia
Online Order Propecia Without Prescription
Drug Buying Propecia
Buy Tablets Propecia
Buy Strattera Affordable
Purchase Strattera Medication
Buy Strattera Without a Prescription
Order no Prescription Strattera
Buy Online Without a Prescription Strattera
Take Strattera Medication
Purchase Online Without a Prescription Strattera
Buy Sumycin Tablets
Take no Prescription Sumycin
Purchase Sumycin Pills
Buy Sumycin Mail Order
Order Cheapest Sumycin
Order Generic Sumycin
Online Buying Sumycin
Drug Buying Zithromax
Cheapest Buying Zithromax
Buy Zithromax Overnight Delivery
Buy Online Without a Prescription Zithromax
Buy Tablets Zithromax
Buy Zithromax Canada
Online Buying Zithromax