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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Beware: The Internet's Dark Side

Yes, the internet has a down side for bands and musicians. Over time, I have thought of the internet as a wicked promotion tool for getting your music out there. I still think that it is, however, it has its down side.

Online is a really hard market to be honest, because it's all too easy for people to sit and listen to your music whenever they want. Sure they love it - but something needs to happen to make them go that step further and PURCHASE it. But then, why are they going to purchase it when they can log on, listen to their favourite tunes whenever they want without having to part with a cent?

Perfect example, is that earlier today the band got an email that said "ooh I LOVE your music, I have favourited it, and come on every day JUST so I can listen to it, can't wait to hear more!".

Now, that kind of annoys me (remember, I am thinking as a manager/promoter/business person - not as a musician). I'm sitting here thinking to myself - well, these guys have spent a lot of time and money creating and recording these songs and you're too cheap to do anything but favourite it and listen for free!

Seriously, how is that supposed to motivate a musician? I know there are a ton of musicians out there that won't agree with me, and that don't give a damn about the money. That's fine if you don't wish music to be your fulltime career. But if you DO want it to be your fulltime career then you need to treat it like a business, because that's what it is. If you ran a different type of business and provided services for free, or gave away products - I can tell you now, that business wouldn't last very long.

I think musicians deserve to be paid for their efforts and contributions to the artistic community. But I also think that there are too many platforms that allow the exploitation of musicians and what they create. For example: MySpace - do you know the developers make millions of dollars??! What do the artists that provide the music for the community get? ZIP.

It's made me think twice about the internet and exactly how much music to have available. If you're a big, well-known band that can afford to tour - then it's a different story, I think having your songs up for people to listen to can only aid your cause, because if you're touring, chances are you will gain new fans who will pay to come to your shows. But when you're a band that is just starting out and trying to get known, can you expect to make money online from it and tour? That, my friend, is my million dollar question.

5 comments:

breakfree74 said...

I am inclinde to AGREE with your comments made here, one way of defeating the type of *ahem* fans that come along and practice such habits as your new friend is to only provide samples of songs online as opposed to the whole tracks, that way if they want to hear the full song/s that badly then they can and should pay for the priviledge. This would be my advice to any band/artist just starting out that does actually want to make enough money to cover their costs.

People tend to not realise just how much EFFORT, TIME and MONEY does go into making a decent recording, not to mention the other stresses (like dealing with dodgy band-mates or people who promise you the world but then fail to deliver....we've all had these experiences surely ?).

Anyway i hope my lil tidbit is of some use!

cheers
Richard

Rokchic said...

Hi Richard,
Thanks for your input - I happen to think your suggestion of putting only samples of the songs up certainly has some merit!
There is much discussion over issues like this on the internet - some people suggest giving away a free mp3 from your site, others (like you and I) think that music is worth something.
There's a lot of pro's and cons for both, but at the end of the day we all have to do what's right for us. I personally might just take on board your suggestion and work with that. Especially with the upcoming second album. I will let you know how it all goes!
Thanks for reading
Cheers
Rokchic

Gigdoggy said...

Hey ! Mruff to you !
Ok so euuu this isnt an easy topic. I think that making it online and concentrating on that is pure folly. From my stand point the net must only be used as a promotion tool. Sure you can sell stuff, mp3s, merch etc. and hope to make some cash at the end of the month, but ppl aren't buying music anymore, they just massively consume it. And more technology is aiding their consumption, less they'll be inclined to buy. Its a vicious circle. So i personally don't think its a good idea to put snipets of songs. That just tends to frustrate me. so where is the party at if its not in the record stores? Well touring for sure, dont think im telling you anything you dont already know. It's a transition phase we are all living now and bands have to be incredibly creative in their business approach
to make a living. Just m two cents

Danny said...

Breakfree is right - if you look at many bands on MySpace particularly, they only have a snippet of their song(s) up. If someone wants to hear the full version, make them go to iTunes or buy your CD/EP/album direct.

Also, you may want to try putting up demo songs that may not end up on the album. Class them as B-sides and such, and try attract people's interest by thinking "Wow, if this is what their B-sides sound like, I better check out the album!".

Acoustic versions of tracks can offer a new slant and act as a teaser for the full band version of the song.

It's not easy, but with some craetive thinking you can definitely make money online.

Good luck!

Rokchic said...

@ Gigdoggy Thanks for your input, so you're pretty much saying that touring is where it's at, and not in the selling of music (be it online or off)? I tend to agree that touring is where the money lies - along with the selling of merch at the shows etc. But for new bands,it's a cost to tour, so that's where the online promo helps out - getting people to love ya music enough to come along and check out the live show. Have checked out your site and i think it'll be most helpful to bands indeed... great stuff you're doing there! :)

@ Danny - ah yes, I love this idea about the 'B-side' track! I won't say too much because ironically the next post I'm working on has to do with exactly that!! lol But great to see that great minds think alike - Breakfree has also mentioned a similar suggestion.