Download Free Albums – The New Music Marketing Approach

There’s nothing new about giving music away for free – it’s just that nowadays the big boys (Radiohead, Prince, Jamiroquai, Nine Inch Nails, et al) are doing it too. The status quo of the old music consumption system has been eroded, and we are currently in the process of finding a new equilibrium. But are free album downloads the way forward?

What Sort of Person Would Download Free Albums?

The short answer to this is: everyone. In the current environment, it makes sense to provide what people want; give them the music for free. This should be seen as a promotional gambit – in the retail world, it would be called a loss leader, except that in the case of digital music there are no replication costs involved. The only “loss”, therefore, is a notional loss of potential revenue. For a new band, this loss is going to be zero, so there’s no compelling argument against distributing the music for free.

For established acts, this potential loss is certainly not zero – however, Radiohead have proven that a good product offered for a discretionary price with unlimited distribution can be a roaring commercial success (at least from the band’s point of view). This may be damaging to the industry, but not to the music. Wicked Whammy has previously commented on the psychology of online music piracy, where nobody really feels that P2P music sharing is ‘theft’. When dealing with the digital domain, there is truly (to quote the Sex Pistols) an “unlimited supply”.

People generally don’t want to listen to someone that they have never heard, or heard of. This is why Bob Ostertag’s decicion to put 28 years of recorded material on the Internet for free download makes perfect sense. If it’s free there’s no risk for the listener – if they have it they might listen, and if they like it they might want more. Getting people to listen has always been the challenge – getting the right people to listen is the key.

Bring On the Free Album Downloads

It’s always advisable to practise what you preach, so I have made some of Canabrism’s albums available for free download on the Canabrism site. There is an optional PayPay donation button, but I don’t expect this to see much action, and it’s not really vital to the page. The basic premise here is to get as much traffic as possible to this page so that as many people as possible are exposed to Canabrism’s music. Although most people will not like it (such is the nature of all music, but particularly anything non-commercial/mainstream), more people hearing it increases the chances of somebody liking it – and in such incremental steps are fanbases created. Get yourself some Canabrism album action now!

Download Free Albums


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