“How do I sell music online?” is one of the most important questions to answer in the modern music industry. However, one method of getting your music to fans doesn’t involve much selling at all – you might want to try giving it away for free. Keep reading to find out why this isn’t such a crazy idea.
Many of the recent changes in the music industry have been controversial, especially for Indie musicians. The popularity of streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, and others has led to increased music distribution, but many musicians believe they are not being fairly paid for their art. Royalties received from some sites are very small compared to the number of times the song has played, which has angered many musicians. Our solution? Give your music away for free, and you might actually make more money.
How is this possible? Well, all your music won’t be free to everyone forever. Artists who are just starting out or Indie musicians might not be well known yet, and it is unlikely that someone who has never heard of you or your music will buy it. Offering a free download of a song, EP, or even a full album will allow people to get to know your music and want to hear more. And once they’re a fan, they’ll be willing to pay to hear it. Offering something for free is a great way to reach a lot of people and gain more fans, which translates to more people buying your stuff.
Another way to make money from free music is by assigning it a Creative Commons license. Creative Commons means others can copy your music for free, but only for non-commercial uses. This means they can’t sell your music and make money from it, but they can use it for their own purposes. Fans can listen to it, or make remixes or covers, so it allows them to engage with your music. This creates a closer connection with you, the artist, and increases the chance someone will buy your music, concert tickets, or merchandise.
Sometimes simply asking people to give you money for your music works better than telling them to pay for it. The most successful music Kickstarter yet was begun by Amanda Palmer, a musician and author of “The Art of Asking”. She asked people to give donations to fund her tour, and they did. She raised millions, but no one was ever required to pay anything. When Radiohead released their 2007 album “In Rainbows”, they allowed people to choose the price they paid for it, and many people paid good money. Economic studies show that people like to appear charitable, so allowing people to donate money if they want to can be a very successful venture.
So if you’re trying to figure out “How do I sell music online?”, putting free music online might actually help you. You’ll gain fans that can connect with you and will appreciate what you have to offer. To find out more about Indie music, news, and trends in the industry, follow our blog.