So You Think You Can Sell Your Music?
Hmm… should I spend my money on the Slurpee, or your shitty band… Original image “Taiwan 7-Eleven” by Augapfel via Flickr… additional text by Kristian H and his copy of Photoshop.
Thinking Creatively, And Smartly, About Selling Your New Music
Hey there fresh little relatively unknown nobody musician/band. How’s it goin’? What’s that you say? Money’s tight? Can’t sell that $10 4-song EP you made last summer?You need to give people a reason to try you out
That’s a shame.
Fact is, you not only shouldn’t expect to, you’re insane if you do.
There’s no need to mention how much the landscape of the music industry is changing. But since Rock ‘n Roll has nothing to do with necessity, let me mention, the landscape of the music industry is changing. Used to be that the hard part was getting you’re music recorded, and getting it reproduced and out to the people. Now, the hard part is getting someone’s attention.
In a world where the internet has upheaved (somebody check that word for me) the whole ecosystem of making/selling/buying/acquiring music, a new act has to do everything it can to be worthy of a potential fan’s attention, because that not-yet-a-fan has millions… millions!… of songs, bands and other entertainment choices available to them, all quite easily.
So what’s a band to do? Treat your music like any brand new product made by a company that knows what it’s doing… let’s get down to it.
The Business Of Being Nobody Yet
Imagine you’ve decided that you’re about to start selling a candy bar you made. It’s made of chocolate, and it’s got some peanut butter in there, and a little bit of, oh I dunno, cookie-ish material. Sounds tasty. Probably is. But let’s look at it with a bit of realism/pessimism: It’s not that special or different, it’s just another choice for people out there.
People out there who already have their favorites. Some of them like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, others dig on Peanut Butter M&Ms, maybe others still are all about them Peanut Butter Twix. The list goes on.
So if somebody walks in to a 7-Eleven, reaches for their $1.19 Twix bar, and sees your new little $1.19 creation on the shelf… what do you think is most likely to happen?
There may be an adventurous few, but chances are they’re gonna rock with somethin’ they already dig on. And shit, Twix just up and added the dark cookie material to their shit… that sounds awesome! I gots to try that new Twix…
The lesson? If you’re both unheard of and, frankly, not that special, then you need to give people a reason to try you out. It doesn’t mean you should be free (although that’s a groovy idea), nor does it necessarily mean you have to be half-priced, but you gotta do something.
It’s like the day quasi-energy soda beverage makers Surge showed up to my high school with a truck of soda, and they just threw that carbonated liver bleach at us by the 6-pack for FREE. All of us were drinking Surge for weeks… and even if some of us ended up not liking it so much, surely others did. And those few others surely went to their friends and said, “You try this Surge stuff? It’s friggin’ delicious!”.
Try a free MP3. Try a free EP. Try a free album. Try an EP for $1. Try an EP for $5 that includes a guitar pick, or a cracker, or a handwritten note that says “Thanks for payin’ $5 for something that’s available for $1″. Or not, I’m just sayin’, be creative, and give people a reason… and a chance… to dig on you.
It’s much easier to take a chance on a band you’ve never heard of when all they’re asking you to pay is only $1, or nothing at all!
Of course, many of you might say things like “Hey, I worked damn hard to make that first EP, I’m not just gonna give it away!”… “If I give my music away, doesn’t that devalue it?”… “I’m already selling a bunch of copies of my EP, I don’t need to do that”…
Well, sure you worked hard. But did you work to get paid, or to build a career? There’s a difference.
Devalue your music? You’re already nobody. It’s worth $0.00 right now.
You’re selling a bunch already? Awesome! How many people would have that EP in their hands if it becomes free when the new album comes out?
The most important thing for a new artist to accomplish is the spread of their work, by any means necessary. The first song won’t make you rich, it’ll just get you started. So let it do it’s jobby job.