Once upon a time, Myspace was the leading light for all hopeful bands aspiring to put their music online and get spotted by Mr. A&R man from a major record label. This was nothing unusual, the likes of Pure Volume and Garageband had been offering to host a band’s music for free for years before and all was seen and not heard.
Until Lilly Allen and the Arctic Monkeys came along. They blew the doors off of the secret online music space and all of a sudden, every band and their mum was on Myspace, showing off their talents trying to impress Mr. A&R. This lead to a great problem, the Myspace market quickly became saturated and the great bands got hidden amongst the good and not so good ones.
So, how can you stand out above everybody else on a level playing field?
Pay per click advertising means that you don’t pay for your ad until someone clicks on it, which seems, quite a good deal. The problem is however, that every other band signed up to the system wants to use the same advertising space. How can you make this at all fair? Bid for it. The minimum bid comes in at $25 but you will of course need to pay more to be seen ahead of everybody else paying $25, of whom, will probably start bidding higher and higher. The article says that a musician would need to spend $600 to make $40, and that’s taking into acount selling a few full price $9.99 albums – not good business.
Not for the bands in any case.
So what is the problem with sticking to your guns, giving away your music for free and doing it DIY? You know, playing gigs, that sort of thing?
A post by Andrew Dubber at his blog New Music Strategies explored the idea that giving your music away is a good strategy for long term success.
1) You’re not giving away music, you’re giving away RECORDINGS of your music;
2) Don’t try to make money from your music, make money BECAUSE of your music;
3) Economics works differently for bits than it does for atoms.
Interesting isn’t it? Use your work to work for you. That’s got to be better than paying over the odds for adverts that nobody will see, hasn’t it? If you take into account all the other costs of being a musician, rehearsal space, recording the darn songs in the first place, buying the instruments, it all adds up.
So why not ignore Myspace and do a little bit of hard graft, give away the recordings of your music at gigs to people who will actually listen, and you’ll find if not success, that the whole process is far more gratifying.