Should I Release My Album For Free?
Question: Should I release my album for free?
No, you should not release your album for free. If you want people to take you seriously as a musician, you need to draw the line and stop giving away so much free music.
It's possible to occasionally give out a song or two to gain new fans, but giving away a full album will only cheapen the music you make. People will start to see it as being disposable, and not music they have to wait for or will cherish.
I put to you this:
If people hear a few of your songs and don't want to buy your album, they won't need to download it for free either – Tweet This.
If they like any sample songs they've heard of yours and want to hear more, they should be willing to buy your music and help fund your music career. If they hear a couple of your sample tracks and don't take a particular interest in you, giving away your album for free won't do much to change that person's opinion. Therefore, don't cheapen the value of your album in everyone else's eyes by giving it to them for free.
The Problem With Releasing Your Album For Free
Many people give their music out for free in the hope that more people will listen to them and take them more seriously. A lot of the time however, doing this will actually make people think of your music as something that's cheap and that they don't have to pay for. Then when it comes to you releasing a paid product, the fans you have will all be in the habit of downloading, leading to not many if any sales at all. This will lead to you giving your album out for free again, and the cycle continuing.
The answer to this is simple:
Don't start giving out a load of music for free in the first place! If you make an album, sell it for the price it deserves to be sold for. Would you see someone like Madonna or Kanye West giving out their album for free? No, you wouldn't. That's because they realize that albums are there for paying fans only.
You may give out a few smaller songs to build up a buzz, but if someone doesn't know if they like you enough to buy your album after these free songs, they won't need to have your full album then either.
If you want to give out some of your music for free, you should do so in the form of an EP (Check out this guide on how to make a EP album if that sounds good to you). A EP in general is shorter then an album, and is made intentionally for the purpose of promotion.
Should I Release My Album For Free – Conclusion
Your album isn't meant to be used as a promotional tool; if you can't get people to listen to your music with a single or two, you need to market your music more, not give more of it out for free. You put hard earned money and time into making your album, and it's because of this that you should be financially rewarded for your efforts. So don't give out your music for free, instead sell it for the price it deserves to be sold at.
P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!
I’ve just finished recording a Christmas album *Idol Carols*: There is one original cantata and one original instrumental on it: The rest of the album is traditional Christmas tunes with a beat and extra accompaniment. – I really don’t think that anyone is going to pay for my take on tunes they hear every year, and the 2 original tracks are extra Christmas gifts.
The way I see it is that; because of the season, the context of producing for free in this case, and the extra exposure I’ll get as a result, giving it away in this case is the right thing to do – this time only.
I mean if I sell it a few niche buyers will purchase, they’ll soon forget the name Sharron-Idol next year when Christmas is over and the Christmas albums are retired to the storage bins, and I’ll eventually make a few $. – If, in this case only, I give it away free, then everyone gets the chance to listen to my music, and people remember the name Sharron-Idol who gave them a Christmas present.
So in terms of Seasonal generosity, the nature of the album, and the spirit of the season; I think giving it away this once will be a good idea.
There’s nothing wrong with giving those kind of songs away for free here and there, was more talking about giving away whole albums for free Sharron. But thanks for sharing your view. 🙂
I see what your saying, I do agree with some points that you have made but I think that giving your music away for free is great for your fans, there is ways to make money from advertising banners for example, you can place advertising on the album download page and the more people visit it then the more you make. Its great for people who are are too young to actually buy the album, say teens aged 12-16 they are not able to get a credit card but they can still listen to your music. Its also a good way for getting your music out there and I believe the real money is on live shows, where you sell tickets. The way I see it is, that if you dont give your album away for free then people will just use services such as spotify or youtube mp3 downloading services or torrent sites and they will some how get your music for free, the harder you make it for your fans to listen to your music then the more annoyed they will get.
Hi Jason. The thing with advertising banners, is they don’t make much at all. You’ll need at least 1000+ visitors a day to make even a small amount, anything less won’t cover the general costs you need to run your music career.
In all honesty, it’ll be hard for the average musician to generate 1000+ views to their download page every day, especially when you bare in mind it’ll need to be new people all the time that would still be likely to click your adverts. Giving away music for free doesn’t make that many more people want to download your songs, there’s so much free music out there these days you could offer people a free download and they wouldn’t even bother. And a good percentage that do download don’t even end up listening to your songs the whole way through more then once.
Free music doesn’t mean more success. You will start doing better once you give people a REASON to listen to your music and prove it’s worth paying attention to. When you do that, people will want your songs whether they’re paid or free.
Don’t get me wrong though, you should still give fans some music away without them having to exchange money. That said, you should exchange it for their email address, for them tweeting about it, and the like. An exchange process should always take place so they value the music they do get.
Either way, giving away a full album of material is too much. A single maybe, a 4 track EP at most. But a whole album? That’s just wasting a load of your money in terms of studio time, and you’ll often get very little results back in terms of new fans and exposure.
Thank you for your comment.
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