Yesterday we came across a pretty talented artist and when we looked for his music online, it was only available on YouTube and Soundcloud. When we asked him about the streaming plaforms, he appeared to know of the importance of having his music available all streaming services, except that he wants to give his music away for FREE. Below you will read 5 reasons this is a TERRIBLE idea.
5. No one will appreciate your charity because you’re not a celebrity.
Sometimes musicians think that giving their songs away for free will help them tremendously in becoming famous and reach new ears faster. Wrong. Wrong. And wrong again. That only works if you’re ALREADY famous! As the whole industry is used with A-list singers selling their product all the time, when one of them adopts a new approach, it is shocking and it creates press value. It becomes a hot topic for the media: “a famous artist is giving his project away for free!”. But when YOU do it… what does it become? nothing really. It boils down to: an unknown artist is giving his unknown music away for FREE. Would that make a positive impression on you? Hell to the no.
4. Consumers will devaluate your music because they can get it anytime.
Ask any profitable brand about how they created their own demand on the market, and they’ll say: scarcity creates value. Here’s the Google breakdown to it: “The more the scarcity of an item increases, the more the item increases in value, and the greater the urge to own it. Whenever choice is limited or threatened, the human need to maintain a share of the limited commodity makes us crave it even more. Scarcity increases the value of any product or service.” Now what do you think happens when you are blasting all over social media that you’ve giving your music away for free? NO ONE IS GOING TO WANT IT! Point. Blank. Period.
3. You will be seen as desperate by the professionals.
Sum points 4 and 5 and you get 3: why should I try to profit off someone’s music when he’s giving it away for free? that’s just stupid business. No sane investor will EVER put his/her money behind an artist that obviously doesn’t know the fundamentals of business practices. Would you ever possibly imagine Ferrari going around giving away million-dollar cars to random people just in the HOPE they’ll appreciate it, tell their friends about it, and later possibly go back to actually buy one? Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Well that is exactly what you’re doing when you’re giving your music away for free: you stink like desperation and you’re hugely decreasing any possible advancement for your career.
2. You are training your audience to expect free sh*t all the time.
There’s no nice way to put this the right way. The way you treat your music will reflect the way your fans will treat YOU. Disregard the value of your own music and everyone else will follow in your steps. Why would anyone want to buy your next album when they got the previous one for free? Thing is, this is just common sense. But somehow, artists lose it all when it comes to THEIR MUSIC! just because you can’t hold it in your hands, it does NOT mean it doesn’t have REAL VALUE. It does! If you had to write down the hours you invested in choosing the beat, writing the lyrics, recording in the studio, redoing certain parts, shooting a music video, creating a cover artwork, uploading it online, and promoting it, your song should most likely sell at a minimum of $500 a piece. That is how business works. End value – Input value = Profit.
1. You will never get your money’s value back.
And 99% of the cases, you did not pay only in time invested that you’ll never get back. You’ve also PAID real cash for all of it! The recording, mixing, mastering, promoting, that’s all expenses on your back that you must at the very minimum, RECOUP! With inflation and millions of new songs uploaded worldwide daily, your product’s value decreases very fast BUT the effort and money you invested stays the same! So cut the charity crap, the fake promo illusions, the naive hope, and get your money back for your music as soon as you release it! Unless you make this a priority, you will never be able to earn a satisfying income for your basic necessities.