Beyond Free - How to make Money When It is Free
It doesn't matter
what kind of music you make. New Rules by Bob Lefsetz
Forget everything you know prior to this date. About radio, labels and arena tours. That system was built for a different era. You build your own audience. There's an established niche for every genre. From folk to metal. Don't worry about playing to everybody, just play to somebody. The last thirty years, the MTV era, has been about giving people what they want, which is just like what they're already consuming. Major labels and major media, most especially radio, had control of a narrow sieve and if you didn't fit, you couldn't play. That is not true today. Those powers mean ever less. You can reach your audience easily online.
You've just got to start. You've got to be good. Learn how to use Pro Tools/Logic. Fans are your best friends. Play live as much as you can without losing money. Have something to sell at gigs. Social networking is for fans. Stardom is on your own terms. Recordings, once you've got traction. You want an album for the gig. Once you've gained huge success, release a steady stream of music. YouTube, your fans will post clips. Imperfections work for you. Don't sell out to anyone unless you're in it for the short haul.
Keven Kelly - Better Than Free - Patronage: It is my
belief that audiences WANT to pay creators. Fans like to reward artists, musicians, authors and the like
with the tokens of their appreciation, because it allows them to connect.
But they will only pay if it is very easy to do, a reasonable amount, and they feel certain the money will directly benefit the creators. Radiohead's recent high-profile experiment in letting fans pay them whatever they wished for a free copy is an excellent illustration of the power of patronage.
Marty Winsch told the story of his client Corey Smith by Bob Lefsetz
Corey Smith was a high school teacher. Playing gigs on the weekend. Marty was booking a venue. Was there any way to make headway, for Corey to support his wife and two kids playing music? Absolutely said Marty. But first they had to release the equity in Marty's recordings. They had to make them free on his site. To everybody. And it was this giving away of the music that was Corey Smith's tour support. They didn't need a nickel from a label or a fat cat. Because once people heard Corey's music, they had to see him live.Which they did. In 2007, Corey Smith grossed $1.7 million. This year, not even half a decade into Marty's management of the act, Corey's going to gross $4.2 million. Free music built the base. Fan rabidity blew the act up.You can buy the tracks on iTunes. They've sold 420,000 so far. When they experimented last summer, and took the free tracks down from Corey's site, iTunes sales went DOWN! So, they put the free tracks back up. Actually, people e-mail Marty every day, asking for a track. AND HE JUST E-MAILS THE SONG BACK! Not everybody's ready to commit right up front. The free music allows people to try Corey out. Marty Winsch Mountain Entertainment [p] 864-962-8220
They don't want radio play. They gave a station in a city sixty tickets to give away, but only on the condition that they DIDN'T play the songs. Marty wants people to experience Corey Smith live. That's where it happens. And Marty wants it to be easy. So therefore, he sells FIVE DOLLAR TICKETS! Yes, he rewards fans. Tickets are CHEAPER on the on sale date. And let me ask you, how many people are going to tell their friends they scored such a deal? And maybe drag them along with! That's your marketing. Your fan base. It isn't about hiring a PR firm or using Twitter. Actually, Marty pooh-poohs most technology. He says you've got be wary that the technology doesn't get ahead of, doesn't overwhelm the act. He doesn't use Google Analytics to find out where each and every fan is. Marty goes on feel. He, and his uber agent Cass Scripps just go into a new territory, and although the first gig might be soft, the one after that never is. Because Corey delivers. Actually, that's important. Marty has tried releasing the equity, giving away the music of other acts. But they haven't succeeded. Because they're just not good enough. If you're truly good, you don't need anybody else's money, your recordings can be your tour support, they can put bodies in the seats, you can build a career. But Diarmuid exclaimed, you're leaving so much money on the table! But this slow growth plan makes fans, keeps them connected, keeps them coming to the show. Explode it and you might make a killing overnight, but then what are you going to do tomorrow?
Nobody could criticize what Marty had to say. They just marveled and were envious. Because Marty had exactly what they wanted, a gold mine. And it was based purely on music. No corporate sponsorship, nothing the talking heads tell you is necessary to succeed in this business today.Are you as good as Corey Smith? Probably not. Which is why you keep complaining that everything you do doesn't deliver results. If you've got something truly great are you willing to manage it? Willing to say no instead of yes? Yes when everybody else says no? Whenever anybody e-mails Marty and asks if they can meet Corey, Marty always says YES! He tells them when to show up for the meet and greet. This is the new paradigm. Eliminating the gulf between the act and fan. Trusting your audience. That if you're damn good, they'll give you all their money. You don't have to play by the old rules. You don't need any money. You just need good music. And good management.