Jan 28


So many artists, record labels, and management companies are struggling to adapt with the industry online.  The ones who have not adapted have collapsed in on themselves, but those adapting are trying to stay afloat in what we can call the new music economy (coined by Greg Rollett of genyrockstars.com).

One of the biggest “issues” that music companies are having in the new music economy is piracy and unauthorized copying.  As Andrew Dubber of New Music Strategies bluntly puts it:

The single most effective way to stop people from copying your music is to stop making music. If that’s not an option (and why would it be?) then accepting that this is the world in which we live is a good start towards successfully negotiating the new media environment.

This is the only way selling music works:
Fans will Hear—> Like—> Buy your music

I could explain this in my own words, but instead I’ll paste in this reference from a blog post by Andrew Dubber to explain it.  This explains exactly why you need to quit worrying about piracy to survive in the new music economy:

Music is pretty much unique when it comes to media consumption. You don’t buy a movie ticket because you liked the film so much, and while you might buy a book because you enjoyed reading it so much at the library, typically you’ll purchase first, then consume…

But music is different - and radio proves that. By far the most reliable way to promote music is to have people hear it. Repeatedly, if possible - and for free. After a while, if you’re lucky, people get to know and love the music. Sooner or later, they’re going to want to own it…

But either way - whether it’s a pop tune, a heavily political punk album, or an experimental, avant-garde suite - the key is very simple: people have to hear music, then they will grow to like it, and then finally, if you’re lucky, they will engage in an economic relationship in order to consume (not just buy and listen to) that music…

That’s the order it has to happen in. It can’t happen in any other order. There’s no point in hoping that people will buy the music, then hear it, then like it. They just won’t.

This is not, I trust you’ll agree, rocket science. It’s perfectly obvious, straightforward and practical. And yet it’s the one mistake that most people make when promoting music online.

Nobody really wants to buy a piece of music they don’t know - let alone one they haven’t heard. Especially if it’s by someone who lies outside their usual frame of reference.

And a 30-second sample is a waste of your time and bandwidth. It’s worse than useless. That’s not enough to get to like your music. Let them hear it, keep it, live with it. And then bring them back as a fan…

The simplest way to promote music and build an economic relationship with a consumer is to let them hear it. Let them hear it repeatedly, without restriction. Let them grow to love your music and hear it as a part of their collection. Then they will want you to have their money.

This is not just a truism about music online - it’s also just how capitalism works. You provide value, then you are rewarded with money.

You don’t get the money first - and you don’t get to decide what value is.

Anyone who is going to like (and consequently buy) your music needs to hear it first.  And they aren’t going to buy it in hopes that they like it.  Let your fans hear your songs (give some away - it will only help), then try to turn them into customers.  Not the other way around.

Read Andrew Dubber’s entire blog post here….