Think about this. For the independent musician, the music you make is essentially your advertising. The product that you are trying to sell is yourself as the artist. You are trying to get consumers to buy into you as an artist, come to shows, buy a t-shirt and buy the premium package of your music, whatever. The music is just an ad to get consumers to buy-in.
Think about what could happen to your outlook on the music industry if you started to think of the music itself as just an advertising message. Would you charge people to listen to or watch an ad? No way, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to see your ads and to be affected by them. Better still, you want people to talk about your ads and to share them with one another. Your ad can go viral if enough people like it, share it and make it part of their Facebook profile. Your ad helps them define who they are – now that’s a buy-in!
Music videos have always been ads for the single, but did you know that in the 60s the single was really just an ad for the album. The Beatles certainly thought that way; they always saw the album as the main game. Having number one singles is just a great way to get people to buy your album and then buy into you as an artist. Artists and record companies will always rather sell albums than singles. Traditionally the single was sold just above cost price but its main aim was to get you to buy more great songs just like this one…on the album. Remember the “Cassingle” (A cassette single that contained 2 or 3 songs) It was a disposable item, sold very cheap so you could take that favourite song with you anywhere you wanted. But if you didn’t want to have to change the tape every 5 minutes…you had to buy the album.
When you think of the music as an ad for the artist you have to question the wisdom of doing anything that gets in the way of getting that advertising message to the masses. Charging for music seems crazy.
Get the music everywhere that it can be seen or heard (like any marketing message) give it away at gigs or on MySpace or via file sharing sites, wherever you can. Hope that your adverting makes an emotional connection with the listener. If it does you will have the opportunity to try to turn them into fans. Why do anything to stop your main advertising message get to the masses?
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