“Free” Thinker: Bandzoogle’s Chris Vinson
As part of a week long exploration
into the meaning and value of "free", Hypebot asked some of the music
industry's most forward thinkers the value and future of free music.
Here Chris Vinson, the CEO and founder of music web site creation and artist empowerment site Bandzoogle shares his experiences with "free".
"Even before the MP3 era, 'free' was a part of band promotion. Our band would open for bigger acts just for the exposure, hand out free CDs to the crowd, or send free stuff to college stations in return for airplay.
Some artists believe that a free MP3 will shut out any possible revenue from that song. This really isn't the case. An MP3 is just one form of their music.
The most successful bands on Bandzoogle use MP3s as a way to hook casual visitors and turn them into fans. Once you have a fan, it's a lot easier to 'upsell' them on other forms of same music — a $0.99 acoustic version, a CD, a live show, etc. But without that easy first step, there is a big chasm to cross.
I think the key is to have a overall strategy, and include 'free' as that easy first step."