Monday, March 01, 2010

Why should anyone pay to hear your band's new album?

Originally published in Ipswich 24 Magazine February 2010 edition.

When a new band forms there’s tons of fun to be had choosing a name, having photos taken and of course writing brand new songs – works of musical craft that wouldn’t have existed in the universe if you and your friends had created them. When those new songs are trimmed and polished it’s time to commit them to disc. Now it’s the time for your new band to enter the mystical realm that is the recording studio. After some considerable time spent (and significant expenditure laid out) your band leaves the studio proudly beaming because you’ve done it; you’ve created something for the ages.

But once you’ve recorded these songs what do you need to do to start trying to recoup some money from them? MySpace is great for getting your songs heard but it’s not directly going to make you any cash. iTunes and Amazon MP3 are also great but unless you’re an established act your sales are going to be low. So what do you do?

Some bands are now treating their MP3s as promotional material in much the same way as they do flyers - the logic being that the more people that hear your songs then the more people you’ll have at your shows. It’s a theory I can see the logic of – my own band (ZEEB?) have just released our third album and while we’ve sold a respectable number of CD copies so far it’s amazing just how many more people know our songs. We’re not professional musicians (ha!) so it stands to reason that we’re more excited that people know our songs than we are about epic CD sales.

So what are you going to do with your new recordings? Are you going to try and sell them on a CD for a tenner or are you going to give them away for free? Personally I’m enjoying selling a few copies of the new ZEEB album to folk who want the full artwork package (it was designed in Indonesia by Tremor), but I’m at peace with the fact that most people will copy their friend’s album and download our songs from file sharing sites for free.

Of course now this means you must visit

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