I used to be really conflicted about giving away my music. When it's our passion, we just want to spread the love, right Brittnee?
I believe that giving away your music keeps you from getting paid more in ALL areas of your music. But, before you conclude that I think you should be selling your music to everyone, here's a different way of looking at it that I recommend...
Read the situation. It's not black or white. Here are the contexts in which I think you should give away your music vs charging for it...
When to give away your CDs:
- Give a CD away at the end of your show as a raffle drawing. This is big incentive for people to enter their names. What's the point of the raffle? To get everyone's contact information to add to your email list. Your email list is still the most important part of building your fan base and career.
- Give CDs to people who might book you or know someone who might book you. What if your $15 CD leads to a $500 gig down the road? For example, I've gone to numerous events, gave my CD to the organizer (making them feel special in the process), and got a call a few weeks later requesting to perform on their stage.
- What about fans? If it's a raving fan and you know they're going to bring all their friends to your next show, you might want to brighten their world and give them your new CD. I recommend...
Doing this discretely. I don't mean in private, just keep it chill and low key. It makes that person feel like you have a "secret handshake" or something. That one gesture could get you 20 new fans next week. It all comes down to this...
Make them feel special.
The more special they feel, the more they will be motivated to support you. Just make sure you're being genuine about it.
When NOT to give away your CDs:
- Don't give it to people just because they love your music. Why? First, a lot of people love your music. Second, because it's natural human behavior to under-value something that is free. Not just that but... to really value a product or service, we have to give something up for it like money. So, the best thing to do is give them a free song as an appetizer. Then, if they want the main dish, they can buy it!
- Don't give your CD to someone just because they're cute or hot. Stand by your music. That's sexy.
- Don't give away your music because you're afraid people won't buy it. Just putting out that energy makes no one want to buy your CD. Never apologize for your art. Be super proud of it!
Giving and receiving is all about energy flow. As musicians, we want to give our stuff away because we love it and we want to share it. But, make sure you empower yourself by allowing receptivity and monetary reward for what you create. Think like the universe thinks.
So, instead of thinking of your CD as your art that should be shared with the entire free world, empower yourself and think of it as the key that will open doors with lots of prosperity behind it!
Your music is your leverage.