Music Think Tank

Call To Indie Artists: Stop Giving Your Music Away

Images Free stuff is enticing. However, free is a controversial topic especially in music. Do you believe in giving away music for free? On Music Think Tank, Taurean Casey believes that artists are giving away way too much free music. Join the debate.

“The belief that giving away free music

will result in future sales are too far-fetch.”

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  1. That article is almost as poorly thought out as it is poorly written. It’s even more mind blowing when you take into account that the author is selling a service that charges $500/mo to send out emails for your band.

  2. I don’t believe telling indie artists to sell their music is a poor thought.
    Also the costs of the email package that you speak of consists of more than just sending out emails.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. indie artists need to extricate themselves from the debate over the cost of music, and to look at what artists have done throughout history to fund their creativity. That is to say: Whatever it takes. Gustav Mahler had a day job for crying out loud. Jay-Z hustled.
    No one is entitled to income for art. Stop grousing and find the most efficient way to stay afloat and then get back to the work of creation.

  4. I would like to read the debate…links arent working though.
    My personal opinion is this…a lot of peole have stopped buying “just the music” as a physical product i.e CD’s and that trend is starting to turn towards the digital realm as well.
    I see nothing wrong with artist giving away the music for free..they just have to add value else where i.e, the live show, band packs, the over all experience.
    People are tired of mediocracy within the music being sold…especially at the commercial music level.

  5. “No one is entitled to income for art”
    Yes they are.
    Whole internet industries are built on making money out of artists content. They want to make us, the creators, believe that we don’t deserve compensation for it , because that would cut on their multi-millions benefits. We should work for free so that they can get a new Ferrari .
    In other times it was called slavery.

  6. “No one is entitled to income for art.”
    So on the flip-side your saying everyone is entitled to free quality music forever. (Socialists have the most bizarre moral laws out there.)
    Artists are entitled to income if people like the music and constantly listen to it on their devices. It’s basic common sense, and morally consistent.

  7. The problem with the industry is this way of thinking.
    I run a internet radio station. I don’t pay royalties. Why? Because it’s an exchange. I promote you by playing your song, you support me by lending your song to the show. In my 4 years of doing this, I haven’t made a dime. I do it because I want to help indie bands. At one time, I had 5 shows, each featuring a different genre.
    The music industry is in a lot of trouble, and this is not the time for greed. Musicians bitch and moan about needing airplay to survive, but yet expect a paycheck every time it happens. That’s not logical.
    If you want to survive, you need to have a plan. How are you going to get your fans to pay for your stuff? If pandora or spotify gets your music out there, then you should be happy about that, and figure out a way to convert that play into a sale. Its a freaking BUSINESS! Sales aren’t going to fall into your lap, you need to earn them.
    So no, you aren’t entitled income, you need to earn it, just like I need to work for every book sale I make, every class I sell. I’m not entitled to earn an income just because I created it. I need to convince people that they need to buy my shit!
    There’s a lot of bad out there in the industry. Streaming is a big one, but the thing is there are people buying records. Hell, even Queensryche was able to sell 8000 copies of pure garbage. If your music is good, I don’t see why, if you work at it, brand yourself properly, you can’t do the same.

  8. VvCrossover
    If you are good at what you do , GET PAID FOR IT. So it’s already very clear to me that you (Mike) either have little faith in your art as a business , or you need to open up your mind to the various new ways of empowering your creative career.

  9. “I’m not entitled to earn an income just because I created it.”
    But you are SELLING your books. That means that you think you are entitled for income in exchange of your creation. I don’t see you giving your book for free anywhere ( if you actually do so, please provide a link).
    Maybe Amazon should give your books for free, “then you should be happy about that , and figure out a way to convert that play (read) into a sale ”

  10. I do give my book for free, but I only do so to select groups/people. I also have a group of beta readers that get it before anyone else and for free.
    Judging your last paragraph, you don’t get it. I know several authors who “podcasted” their book (I.e. played it for free) and generated a ton of sales – both in merch and book sales.
    How do you expect people to buy your song if they don’t know what it sounds like? It’s not gonna happen – you’ll be limited to pity sales from friends and family.
    Look, I’m not your enemy, I believe that artists should be paid for music. My point is that you don’t deserve to get paid 12 different ways for the same thing, which is where the “entitlement” comes from.
    Radio is promotion. You can have the best song in the world, but if nobody knows it exists, it’ll just sit there. I don’t understand why musicians think they’re entitled to be paid for playing what amounts to a commercial for their song.
    Yes, they make $$ playing your song, but it’s not like you don’t get anything out of it. You get exposure.
    Musicians tend to forget that there is more than one kind of currency. Everybody knows about money, but there are reviews, airplay and other things that may not pay in dollars, but pay you in other ways.
    And, back to your comment about turning my free book into a sale, that’s exactly what I do – I give the book away for free and turn that into a sale of a different book, class or something else. It’s called knowing your customers (fans) and engaging with them and running a business.
    You can sit and bitch, or you can figure out a way to overcome your challenges and make it work.
    It’s all in how you look at things.

  11. I’m an independent musician and I can’t afford the million dollars to spend on advertising and radio airplay that Rihanna, Eminem, and Kings of Leon get. If I want to have even the slightest chance to get my music heard and get my name out there, then the best course of action is to give my music away for free. Would I be making anything from it while promoting it with the very limited budget I have? No. So I do the next best thing. If I had more money I would use it to invest more into marketing. I don’t, so why not cut out the middleman and just turn those potential sales into a form of marketing that I wouldn’t normally be able to afford? The goal is to start out giving music away for free now and to sell new music (or merchandise/performances) later.
    Ifanyone can just go on Youtube and listen to music for free that was intended to be sold, once again, why not just cut out the middleman? If you can’t afford the marketing, then you’re probably not getting the exposure for people to search you out on Youtube anyway.
    Free album download at

  12. Let’s also put it this way… I used to play out in the subways in NYC and made a living doing it. I wished I was playing at bars and clubs, but when I finally did in a band I found that I made more money and more exposure playing in the subway for free. I think the key is to all go for maximum exposure as possible if you want to see increased success. You always have to work with the tools that are at your disposal. If you’re an independent musician your goal should be to get as much exposure as you can because I garuantee that others are doing all they can to do the same and it’s a limited market to a degree.

  13. Maximum exposure is NOT the best way to get your music out there. Target your fans, not the world. Otherwise you’re just part of the all the noise.

  14. And how are you supposed to make those fans, hmmm? When music is played on the radio or when videos were played on MTV, they were there for whom ever to listen. If I’m giving away my music to those who want it, then it’s THEIR choice to download it. I’m not forcing anyone to do so. When any musician plays a gig there are going to be people there who don’t know the music. Is that “adding to the noise”? If anyone is adding to the noise, it’s you with your poorly thought out comment that has no factual backing to it.
    Free album download at

  15. I don’t really think my comments deserved a smart-ass response, but you get those fans by doing exactly what I said above…target the people who will enjoy your music, not the masses.
    “Maximum Exposure” is what some of us call, “throwing spaghetti at the wall (hoping something will stick)”.
    And my “poorly thought out comment” is based off 11 years marketing digital content online. But feel free to keep doing it your way. You obviously know more than I do. Maybe you’ll be “discovered”.

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