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The New Music Marketing Model for 21st Century

A year ago, I wrote a passionate article on the merits of charging $15 when you sell your CDs. Some of my reasonings included: It's tough for indie musicians and you have a good music, so don't short-change yourself; you can always discount the CD for special reasons (2-for-1 special); and, the "high" sales prices also includes your various expenses. I made a few addendums, but that's the gist of it.

But now, if you head over to http://mp3.com/thebards and check out the Brobdingnagian Bards page at MP3.com, you'll notice something kinda hypocritical...none of our CDs are priced at $15! What gives??

Well first let me say, yes, I do still believe in a $15.00 sales price for many artists. Certainly, it works best for folk artists, and singer/songwriter types. But my reason is not hypocrisy it is a dramatic change in our marketing plan.

You see, when we started out, I knew that the only "real" income available to indie musicians comes from CD sales and merchandising since royalties from ASCAP and BMI are a joke. So our plan was to record every 6 months or less and put out new material. By then end of last summer the indie process was leaving us drained, and we were thinking we overextended. Then along comes MP3.com.

One of the things I've been raving about for the past few months is that MP3.com offers a new marketing model by offering "royalties" for listens to your music. And if you're getting paid from people listening to your music. Then it needs to be readily available right?

Well, we've followed the footsteps of many of the top MP3.com artists and have about 40-50 tracks available on our site and more are coming every week. In doing so, we make a solid $20 a day from our site.

Now with each listen, the songs are tracked on MP3.com on their music charts. You sell a CD, the songs on that CD will rocket up the charts. So you want the CDs to sell, because higher charting equals higher payback. Thus, our low price on MP3.com.

Now think for a second. If you have 40 songs on your site like the Hillbilly Hellcats, you're most likely going to make your 15 unique listens because your songs are located all over the charts. There are plenty of songs to choose from. Thus the new marketing model no longer relies on CD sales of $15.00, but listens. When you realize that you open yourself up to a whole slew of, in my opinion, simple marketing tactics that will make you more money from listens than selling CDs from your website.

I know this all seems simplistic, but the vast reality is most artists on MP3.com are still running their band with an older marketing model that does not yield the highest payback. So think about that for a bit, and next week, I have a guest writer who will give you an exciting promotional idea that could send your listens over the top. Then the week following that, I'm going to betray my secret that has my song "Tolkien" at #35 on all MP3.com...

Stay tuned. Same bard time. Same bard channel!


Marc Gunn is an actual working Celtic Geek musician. He was nicknamed “The Celtfather” for his incredible support of indie Celtic music and his award-winning Irish and Celtic Music Podcast. He has helped 1000s of musicians make money with their musical groups through The Bards Crier Music Marketing Tips. Now you can get FREE “how-to” music marketing and promotion advice, plus tips on how to sell more CDs when you subscribe today. Subscribe at www.bardscrier.com!

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