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Why Giving Away Free Music Downloads Is a Great Music Marketing Technique

I got an email today from another band who was uncertain about giving away free music downloads in my Celtic MP3s Music Magazine and in my Irish and Celtic Music Podcast. I decided to explain why giving away free music downloads is a great music marketing technique in this article.

by Marc Gunn

Musicians inexperienced in business economics often don’t understand the idea of giving away free music downloads in order to earn sales. Well, I can’t tell you what to do. Sure, I could show you some “evidence”, but my market research is poorly-defined. So really, I can only testify what I’ve done and point you to other bands who swear by it too.

I started out giving away free music on MP3.com. Back then, MP3.com was paying artists every time someone downloads their music. When the site closed down, I had a tough dilemma. Should we keep giving away music or should we stop? I decided to test it.I took a risk. I realized the reason that we were one of the Top 30 bands on MP3.com was, in part, because of our strategy of how we gave away free music downloads. Thanks to that site, we now have well over a two hundred thousand fans around the world. It is all thanks to free downloads.

WHY does it work? Because my whole music marketing philosophy is not about selling music, it’s about making fans.

You see, my goal is not to sell one CD. My goal is to make a FAN who will buy CD after CD through my entire music career, maybe even provide me with a retirement.My old band, the Brobdingnagian Bards, has tens of thousands of fans who NEVER bought a CD. BUT they HAVE told tens of thousands of others about our music. Many of those people bought CDs.

I remember playing a house concert in Kentucky with the Bards. ONE person bought our entire CD catalogue from that one show. Why? Because they didn’t like buying CDs online. So they downloaded our music. They the listened to it, loved it, shared, and then one day bought our entire 10 CD catalog.You see, I STILL have a new fan even if they don’t buy my music. True fans tell friends. And friends tell friends. Somewhere magically along the way, people buy my CDs. That’s why I make a living as an independent musician.

Honestly, I won’t claim this is for everyone. If you’re fiddler isn’t comfortable giving away music. Don’t do it. There are other ways to promote yourself. So do what makes you more comfortable.

As for me, I publish a The Bards Crier Music Marketing Ezine, and I get musicians telling me all the time how much it’s helped them. But there are just as many others who’ve done as well without.I guess, I just see my method easier. It doesn’t require me trying to sell someone on something I think is great. They only have to listen again and again. I just provide them the music. They listen and listen and listen. And they are convinced.

Think of it like radio. People freely listen to music over and over ad nauseum. Then they buy the CD. That’s what free music downloads does.

It’s a little counter intuitive but the results are just tremendous. If you’re a musician, give it a try. And if you’re a Celtic musician, make sure you submit your music to the Celtic MP3s Music Magazine.


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 Ezine. 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 atwww.bardscrier.com!

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