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February 20, 2013

Step 5: Use your abundant musical assets as gifts

iTunes includes visualizers. Shown here is a v...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You're far more likely to have a song that is not heard 
than a song that is heard and stolen.
- David Hooper

Digital stuff is "non-rivalrous", which is fancy economist-speak for "me having it doesn't stop you from having it too". It costs no more to make 1 million digital copies than it does to make 1 copy. If people like your music and want it, this makes it a perfect gift because it costs you nothing but is worth something to them ... and isn't it always nice when new friends and neighbours bring a gift to your house-warming?

Don't worry about lost sales. Independent US artist Corey Smith proved that for an independent artist, giving your MP3s away INCREASES sales via iTunes. How did he prove it? Well, in 2008 he was going along OK and had sold over 400,000 tracks on iTunes - tracks that he also gave away on his website. When he took the free tracks down from his website, his iTunes sales decreased and when he put it back up, they went up again. Seth Godin did the same thing with his books. BTW - Corey grossed $4million in 2008 - mostly from the people who turned up to his shows after he gave them his songs to learn. Try it out: if you email him asking for a free track he will reply and give you one!

You can't lose sales you would never have had in the first place.

Gifts are a great way to build relationships (see Step 6) and making a gift of your music does not make it worthless or devalued. The most successful Indie artists give their music away all the time: when someone signs up to your email list, give them a free track to say thanks; when a fan asks for an autograph, give them a photo as well. Better yet, put that photo in your next newsletter ...

The flip side of using your recordings as gifts is that playing "exposure" shows is nonsense. Offering you a gig in return for "exposure" is just venue-speak for "we don't want to help you with your career". Every show you play is an opportunity to impress people, collect emails, sell CDs or merchandise. You don't build relationships by exposing yourself, you build relationships by following up first meetings with generosity and attention. Make the fan who has paid you a compliment by liking your music feel special - give them a digital gift.

Step 5 Exercises

  1. In groups, list as many digital assets as you can think of: Recordings, photos, artwork, blog posts, tweets, Facebook updates, blog comments, videos ...
  2. (Come to the workshop for more)

Exercise to take home

  1. (Come to the workshop for more)
Posted by DrHuge at February 20, 2013 10:39 AM

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