Stop Selling Music!
Todd Simpson
May 16 2020, 07:51 PM
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Posts: 20.381
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA


QUESTION: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE IDEA OF “STOP SELLING MUSIC”?

This remains a controversial topic for some reason. Sadly, as a rule, in our modern world, “People” e.g big P, people, as in most folks, the preponderance of people, the bulk of consumers, etc. DON”T BUY MUSIC ANYMORE. It’s a very sad thing. The market has simply shrunk dramatically from what it used to be. Regular folks, that used to buy CDs etc. have slowed down and or stopped. While it’s true that big artists will still sell cds and even vinyl. Also, small bands still sell cds online and at gigs. It does still happen. The bad news is that it happens at some a small rate, relative to a bands audience, that it’s become problematic. While it’s true that I BUY MUSIC and many people here on GMC buy music, and have friends who buy music. We are not the majority anymore. Consumers have shifted to seeing Music as something that is like Wifi or Water. It’s just expected to be there. Many people have at least one streaming service like spotify. This may be their primary music expenditure. So they are spending money on music, but they are renting it, not buying it. So the question becomes, how do we move forward in the music business where the business is no longer about people buying music?

The Music Industry itself has struggled to deal with this question as sales started slide way back when MP3’s started to take over. CDs were a big part of how the music industry and artists were monetized. Each one would cost 10 to 15 bucks each! Today that sounds almost crazy to many young consumers who grew up with their phone/spotify/youtube being their primary way to enjoy music. So how does an artist cope?

First, it’s important to set a goal for any give bit of music. Whether it’s a single or e.p. Or album. What is your goal for the target audience? If you are still audience building, and have a small audience, having a goal of “sales” is perhaps not the best idea. The audience are expecting free music by and large, especially for smaller acts. While making music costs money, sharing it with your audience is not the best way to recoup those costs. Instead, think of your music as “MERCH”. Yet another promotional item to help folks connect with what you are trying to do. When you release new music, it’s a chance to connect with fans. With this in mind, its’ perhaps better to release songs/singles at several points during the year and then releasing all these songs as an e.p. Album at the end of year. This is a bit more optimized in terms of approach as opposed to releasing on album per year. Here’s why.

If your audience is still small, each song is a chance to connect with them and maybe connect with new people. So putting out each song as a single is a new chance to connect. Then combining all the tracks at the end of year year on a e.p. / album is another chance to connect. This is why we are seeing an increase in single song releases and decrease in album releases. By many estimates, about TEN PERCENT of people listen to albums. Leaving 90 percent of listeners more attracted to building their own playlists on spotify or what not. So, instead of putting out an album and trying to pimp that for several months, put out one song at a time. Share it on all the streaming services possible. Push it through social media and music blogs and then do it again on your next song when the first song dies down a bit. Then towards the end of the year, combine all these tracks in to one product. An E.P. / Album and maybe make some physical copies of this to either hand out, send out, and even sell. Some people will want to buy it to support you as an artist. To add value to the physical release it’s a good idea to put something on the CD that isn’t just music. In addition to bonus tracks, add something else. Maybe a second disk with videos/interviews/behind the scenes bits, or a usb thumb drive with these bits. Maybe project files and mastering presets used on your release. Maybe even the midi used for your drum tracks and other parts. People who make music see value in getting under the hood of music that they like. I myself have paid extra to get the Ola Englund “special edition” of his albums which contain his drum midi and mastering chain, etc. He was providing extra value way back when. If you are going to sell physical music items, adding value to the plastic they are on is always a good idea.


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Steve Gilfield
May 16 2020, 09:29 PM
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The market is a cruel cruel thing.

As Pink Floyd said "welcome my son, to the machine"



https://www.facebook.com/mostafa.abdelghfar...63820649010492/

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This post has been edited by Steve Gilfield: May 16 2020, 09:32 PM
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Todd Simpson
May 17 2020, 01:05 AM
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From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Well said smile.gif Sadly true. The good news is that the market being as splintered as it is actually can favor the little guy in certain aspects. It's so fractured that niche audiences are a very real thing and more economically viable than in previous times due to reach made possible by social media. A small number of ardent fans can sustain a band even if those fans are spread over the entire globe. The trick is to locate those people and get them all on board with what one is doing.


QUOTE (Steve Gilfield @ May 16 2020, 04:29 PM) *
The market is a cruel cruel thing.

As Pink Floyd said "welcome my son, to the machine"



https://www.facebook.com/mostafa.abdelghfar...63820649010492/

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


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Steve Gilfield
May 17 2020, 07:50 PM
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Posts: 29
Joined: 28-March 20
From: Cyprus
QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ May 17 2020, 12:05 AM) *
Well said smile.gif Sadly true. The good news is that the market being as splintered as it is actually can favor the little guy in certain aspects. It's so fractured that niche audiences are a very real thing and more economically viable than in previous times due to reach made possible by social media. A small number of ardent fans can sustain a band even if those fans are spread over the entire globe. The trick is to locate those people and get them all on board with what one is doing.


I get what the youtuber says, bu I also get the opposition.

I have seen many situations where musicians agree to play for peanuts, or even left unpaid (low attendance, low sales of drinks etc).
The club/pub owners can do such things because, in my opinion, musicians let them.
If a band refuses to play for a small fee, the owner can find another band who's more than willing to jump in.

Musicians should start respecting their-selves more, and demand what hey deserve. If all of them act like that, the marketplace will change.

But unfortunately, this only works in theory only. If you know the prisoners dilemma, people will not act in a way that will benefit both parties, but they will act selfishly. Therefore, even if all musicians agree on a minimum fee, let's say €100, there will always be that one person/band who is going to price himself at a lower price, just to get the gig.

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Todd Simpson
May 18 2020, 11:48 PM
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From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Bingo! There is no chance at all IMHO that every musician will join together and demand better pay from venues. As you say, there is always a new hungry band that will pay for nothing or even pay to play. As such, playing live really does depend on bringing a large audience with you. Even then, promoters are always trying to lower the guarantee for a given band, even if that band has a large following.

For smaller bands, gigs are rarely a money making proposition. They usually cost money and are really just about trying to make a connection with the audience so that the audience will by some merch!

People should still release music imho, but at the smaller band level, trying to sell it is almost pointless Especially these days. It's just another loss leader that serves as a way to connect with possible fans. If they like it, and feel that the band speaks to them, they might buy some merch.

I wish things were different. But, things are what they are. As musicians we just have to adapt to the new normal and try to keep making music and keep moving forward smile.gif



QUOTE (Steve Gilfield @ May 17 2020, 02:50 PM) *
I get what the youtuber says, bu I also get the opposition.

I have seen many situations where musicians agree to play for peanuts, or even left unpaid (low attendance, low sales of drinks etc).
The club/pub owners can do such things because, in my opinion, musicians let them.
If a band refuses to play for a small fee, the owner can find another band who's more than willing to jump in.

Musicians should start respecting their-selves more, and demand what hey deserve. If all of them act like that, the marketplace will change.

But unfortunately, this only works in theory only. If you know the prisoners dilemma, people will not act in a way that will benefit both parties, but they will act selfishly. Therefore, even if all musicians agree on a minimum fee, let's say €100, there will always be that one person/band who is going to price himself at a lower price, just to get the gig.

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klasaine
May 19 2020, 03:48 AM
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It's cut-throat out there.
I used to do a duo gig at wine bar twice a month with another guitarist. We got paid $150.00 to split between the two of us and a $50.00 bar/food tab (also to split). One of our "friends", a colleague, told the owner that he could bring a trio in for the same money. I hate motherfuckers like that.

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Todd Simpson
May 19 2020, 08:59 PM
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It really is. It's even worse now that all the venues have been shut down for months and musicians have not been able to Gig!! They are desperate to play at all, anywhere, for any money or for free at this point. Just to play a gig and maybe sell some merch. It's going to be really tough for a while. Tougher than it was before the virus and it was already tough to start with.

Sorry to hear about your "friend" undercutting you for the gig. A trio splitting at $150 payout is really getting desperate. Folks will do anything for a paying gig these days.



QUOTE (klasaine @ May 18 2020, 10:48 PM) *
It's cut-throat out there.
I used to do a duo gig at wine bar twice a month with another guitarist. We got paid $150.00 to split between the two of us and a $50.00 bar/food tab (also to split). One of our "friends", a colleague, told the owner that he could bring a trio in for the same money. I hate motherfuckers like that.

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