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Simon HarrisI’ve gone on record as saying that in almost all circumstances, I’m generally opposed to the 30-second sample. 30-seconds is not enough time to learn to like a song. It might be enough to recognise one, but that’s about it.

As a rule of thumb, if you want people to like your music, you have to let them hear it. And that means give them the whole track. I still maintain that this is far and away the best way to build an audience for your music.

But I was lucky enough to bump into a musician friend of mine who hops between London and Birmingham (making the most of the strengths of both places for musicians) and he played me a sample track that takes a slightly different approach.

It’s a smart one and not one I’d considered.

Simon Harris has an album coming out called 81 Oakfield. It’s a really nice sounding album. How do I know? I’ve heard the whole thing in 3 minutes flat.

What Simon gave me was a compilation of snippets from the album that are seamlessly mixed into one single song-length track that gives a flavour of the record without giving away any individual tracks.

[audio:http://newmusicstrategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/01-album-sampler.mp3]

It’s an interesting way of solving a problem (if you’re one of those people that considers having people download your music for free a ‘problem’). It gives a sense of the album, uses relatively little bandwidth, and does the offline equivalent of skipping through the disc to see if there are any nasty surprises, or if the album lives up to expectation as a whole package.

I’m not 100% convinced that it’s “the answer” (or even that there is one), but all the same – I’m impressed. Nice one, Simon.

Visit Simon’s MySpace page.