I had an email from a musician today who said he was struggling a little with the idea of giving away mp3s. It’s a really common issue, and so I thought I’d share my response.
1) You’re not giving away music, you’re giving away RECORDINGS of your music;
2) Don’t try to make money from your music, make money BECAUSE of your music;
3) Economics works differently for bits than it does for atoms.
Jamendo is a site on which artists can give their music away to audiences for free, under a Creative Commons licence (which can, of course, include prohibitions against people using that music in a commercial context elsewhere). Fans can make a donation if they wish, but there is no requirement to do so.
Fans get free music via mp3 download, or complete albums via BitTorrent or eMule — and artists get access to a whole community of people that might otherwise never have found them.
Do you need help giving your music away for free? Is Jamendo a solution looking for a problem? How is this useful to you? As usual, let’s have your review of this site in the comments.
A while back, I gave some thought to the question “How can I sell my music online?” and concluded that a good mix seemed to be getting it as many places as you possibly can using a digital aggregator like CD Baby or maybe a no-frills option like TuneCore – while simultaneously making it available to purchase from your website.
Well, it’s all very well to say “I’m going to sell my music from my website” – but the actual process of setting up an online payment and fulfillment system is something else again. The process of integrating e-commerce into your website can be confusing and frustrating – particularly if what you have to sell are digital files rather than physical products.
Because when people make their purchase, they want their mp3s right then and there. And that means setting up automated, coded systems – which can be a little more challenging than sticking CDs in envelopes…
I’ve had this question in a number of forms. The most common one is the artist who doesn’t really sell many CDs through retail, but every time they perform live, they go through 20, 50 or even 100 CDs over the merchandise table. The question is – if I make the leap to mp3, who’s going to buy that to take home as a souvenir?
A similar question is the one about music as a gift. The simple fact is that it’s quite difficult to gift wrap an mp3. CDs have long been a great present to buy. Simple, personal, and always well received. Buying someone downloaded music doesn’t have the same give-ability.
I’ve even heard this question as ‘I’m essentially a busker. But I make decent money selling my CD wherever I play. Should I change what I do?’. These are all essentially the same questions: when the physical characteristic of the recorded medium is the main point of the purchase (ie: tangible souvenir, presentable item), how can digital files replace physical products?
Its aim is to provide useful resources, advice and strategies for innovation and success in the independent music sector in a rapidly changing technological environment.
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