Sunday, February 18, 2007

Is The Internet A Money Making Market For Indie Artists

All I need to do is write, record, master my music & put together a nice CD cover, get it on the Internet & I’ll make lots of money! Is this proper thinking? Is this the key to making money on the Internet, or is there a key to making money on the Internet for indie artists? Most of us know that in order to sell product, you need to advertise, advertise. There are lots of Internet music sites that will sell you’re music on consignment for a small percentage of the sale price. If you sell you’re CD for $10.00, they will take $2.00 to $4.00 from the total sale price as their profit. All of these sites use to allow artists to put their CD, song samples, Bio & web site info up on their sites for free. Now, a lot of them are starting to charge for their services. Why is this the case? The Internet has gained momentum since the mid early nineties. The last 9 or 10 years have proven to these music sites, that indie artists are not bringing in the sales as expected & so in order for them to continue running, they are now passing on their costs to indie artists & still taking their percentage profit. Music promotional sites charge for their services as just about any other indie oriented music service does. Record labels use to cover these cost for their artists as part of their promotional responsibilities. The artist & the record label would split these costs after music sales. Of course, this is not the case any longer. Record labels now charge their artists for everything & the artist makes next to nothing on music sales. This, coupled with the fact that it’s almost impossible to get signed to a major record label, makes it hard for artists trying to make it in the music business. The internet was suppose to be a great selling tool for indie artists & their music, but now it’s becoming obvious that it’s not as expected. Why is this? We are all brain washed! “What do I mean by brain washed”? All of our lives we have been conditioned to listen to major artists on the radio & we have been subjected to them constantly on the TV. TV & radio are magical instruments. When we see these individuals on TV, they become important to us & we know that they have to be good to be selected by a record label & TV. Professional people are telling us that these individuals are professionals & deserve to be noticed & we give credibility to that. When we go to their concerts we are blown away by the respect & worship that these people get from the crowd & you give them a more sense of worth because of what they have accomplished. They have proven to us that they are worthy of our respect & we give respect to them because of their accomplishments. Every artist starts out as an indie artist. Once signed to a record label, they get mega promotion through radio, live shows & possibly TV & that magical transformation takes them away from the term, “independent artist” & the public them accepts them with open arms. People want to fit into the stereotyped music scene that everyone else is into. They want to hear the sounds that everyone else is grooving to & groove down the road to the sounds everyone else is hearing. Have you ever watched a movie where you didn’t recognize any of the actors? Were you debating whether to turn the channel or not? We want to see an actor or actors in the movie that we recognize, but really, it doesn’t make the movie any better. Sure, major stand out actors usually get major roles in well-scripted movies, but then some of them have been in some pretty badly written movies as well. You can now see how brain washed we are. This is the dilemma that independent artists face in trying to sell their music. Their unknowns. In spite of all this, a lot of people are now starting to see that radio & TV are pushing artists that are not very likable by the public. More & more the public is turning their attention to the Internet for good music to listen to. Another problem that befalls independent artists is the fact that there are so many of them on the Internet. The record labels use to take care of this problem by promoting only artists they thought were worthy of the public’s attention. With the Internet, one has to fish through all the music artists to find one they like & that ads up to a lot of work & time for the music lover. Another problem with the Internet is that music lovers have to search through a lot of bad music to find the good stuff & that’s a real problem. Because of this, music sites are now seeing this as a real problem & are only accepting music that’s of good recording quality. It makes it easier for music lovers to navigate these sites for quality music. Another problem I’ve observed with the Internet is disorganization. Music seems to be organized & easy to find, because of specific genres of music listed, but what I’ve noticed is the lack of business savvy people when it comes to radio promotion. Radio stations on the Internet seem to promote to many genres of music & mix & play them all together. No one wants to hear a country song along with a rock song. In other words you will hear a country song followed by a rock song followed by a polka song, not to say that all stations work this way. This has to change. DJ’s should promote the artists in a more professional manner, by telling the listeners what artist they have just played & where to find the artists music to purchase. Some of the radio stations I’ve visited, will only play quality music on their stations, but their DJ’s aren’t of professional quality. There are some Internet Stations that will only play pro studio recorded music on their non-pro stations, if that makes any sense. “Arrogants produces stupidity”. This is not what being indie is about. Maybe they need to listen to a great DJ like “Wolf man Jack” or know before hand exactly what they’re going to say. In other words, know their platform well. Many of these stations show unprofessionallism by saying what they please, because they’re not regulated by FCC standards, which comes across as offensive. People in general appreciate professionalism. People “will” judge a book by it’s cover, so make those radio sites look professional & make sure that DJ’s are professional and articulate clear & clean vernacular. Another big problem existing on the net, is indie artists giving some of their music away for free. This really hurts indie music sales. How you say? People love to get things for free & if it’s music it’s even better. Artists may ask; how does giving one of my songs away hurt my music sales or me? You have to remember that there are thousands & thousands of indie artists on the net. There are sites on the net that gather all these free songs together & offer them as free downloads from their sites. You may say; how do these sites profit by this? The more visitors they get the more money they make off advertising. Think about it, they make money off your free songs give a ways. According to music law, anything that’s in the public domain can be copied. This is why the laws need to be changed. People are allowed to copy a song once for their personal use. These sites get away with this because they’re offering free music from these artists to the public for free, but are making profits by doing so! ipod is another tool they claim promotes indie artists music & it does, but when you put you’re music on ipod, you do so for free. You’re allowing people to keep one or more of your songs forever. They can download them from their ipods & burn them to a CD. If they like your music, they “possibly” may buy some of your other music, but that’s a big possibly. If you want my opinon, ipod is the one making the money here. Think about it, if there wasn’t free music to put on these ipods, ipod or you would have to purchase it. Buying ipods might not be the way to go. Think about how costly that would be for them. By having free music to offer on their ipods, their making pure profit off their ipods. When someone comes to you to try & sell you their wares, the reject their offer sign should come up! There are so many scammers out there who are more than willing to rip you off, it’s very sad, but very true. They will promote your music for this amount or they will do this for you for that amount. It’s B.S. don’t fall for it! My advise is to promote your music solely on your own. Find music sites on the net whom allow you to put your music up on their site to sell for free or for a small fee. If these sites can’t sell your music, neither can any other site or anyone! Keep that in the front of your mind. You won’t end up getting scammed. There are legitimate business sites that will do most of the promotional work for you, but it will cost you. If you have the money to do so & not the time to promote it yourself, this just might be the way to go for you, but don’t expect them to sell your music for you, it’s just promotion only. That’s why I urge ALL artists to stop giving any of their music away for free! These sites will then disappear & you the artist will stand a much better chance of making music sales. Think about it, what’s really free in this life that’s worth anything. Your music is worth a lot more than giving it away for free. You’ve worked hard to create it & you’re really selling yourself down the river by giving it away for free! True, there have been indie artists whom have made $30,000 to $600,000 in sales from their music, but these are artists whom have had good promotion, whom play good music live & whom have played many live shows & whom promote & sell their music at shows & on the Internet. In other words, they’ve made good money the old fashion way, “by earning it”. If music on the Internet is to become successful, it must get organized, business savvy & it must receive some major promotion & major money backing, much like major record label backing. Other wise, I don’t see much of a future for indie artists.

2 sites to stay way from. You will not get treated right.

Home Made Music

Located in Utah

CD Palace

10061 Riverside Drive #428

Toluca Lake, CA

Written by Dave West. Over 40 years in the music business & still wondering why.