As an independent artist, obscurity is your main enemy. In the short term you should probably regard your music as a ‘loss leader’ which you ‘gift’ to your fans for free to help you build an audience. In doing so you can expand your email list and start a connection with fans who you can monetise at a later date. But what is the best way to do that?
The Checkered Owl website recently produced an article on this discussing the pros and cons of several platforms you can use to give away your music. You should read the article in full however here is the digested read.
Noisetrade is a system which trades music for an email address. Fans can also tip you if they like the music.
• You get a fan’s email address and location (handy for planning future tours).
• Easy to share.
• No easy discovery system on the platform itself.
The popular artist to fan commerce site has a free download option in exchange for an email. Fans can also pay what they want for the music.
• Pay what you want often works.
• Has its own chart.
• Charts aren’t promoted.
• Sharing by fans isn’t heavily promoted.
Free downloads are an option on all your music hosted on this site.
• Most music fans know and are comfortable using the site. Good embedding options.
• Hard to get any sort of revenue from it.
• No fan data.
Another artist to fan website which allows fans to download music hosted on the site.
• Popular chart system.
• Email address submission is optional.
• Charts tend to be followed by bands only.
Larger artists like Thom Yorke have dabbled with distributing packets of content (music, videos, anything you fancy) through the bittorrent system.
• Add anything you want, albums, videos, word docs etc.
• You can add pay ‘gates’.
• Casual listeners don’t use BT and will be put off using a potentially complicated system.
You can give your fans a link to music stored in your own Dropbox.
• Dropbox is a popular and ‘comfortable’ system for fans.
• You can add any type of file you want’
• Dropbox isn’t setup for efficient transfer of music.
• No fan data.
• No way of fans to ‘tip’ you.
Takeaway Tip: Noisetrade and Bandcamp seem to be the best option for most independent artists.
Got any questions about this post or how you can better market yourself?