The End of Free Music

Why my music was free in the first place

I’ve been giving away all my music for free for a few years now. Here is a post explaining why, but in a nutshell, the reason is this: Exposure is worth more than a few album sales. Before I gave my music away, the term “a few album sales” was a gross exaggeration of how much music I was selling.

My plan all along has been to give everything away until I reached 2500 email subscribers (you can subscribe here). There are several reasons I chose this number, including:

  • I read somewhere on a music marketing blog that this is a good number to shoot for. Can’t remember exactly where that was, though.
  • It seems like a few thousand is enough to start to pick up some momentum.
  • My mailing list provider (MailChimp, which is awesome) only allows 2000 subscribers in their free account, so it’s going to start costing me money (about $50 a month) to communicate with all you awesome email subscribers.

I figured the 2500 subscriber mark would take a long, long time. In less than a year, I’ve far surpassed 2500 subscribers. I’m pretty blown away by that, and I’d like to thank you all for downloading and listening to my music. If you’ve ever downloaded any of my music and left your email address, you’re on my mailing list, by the way.

So, we have come to the end of free music.

My basic rates are going to be as follows:

  • $0.69 for individual downloads
  • $2.99 for EPs (5 song albums)
  • $4.99 for full-length albums
  • $5.99 for full-length albums with 10+ songs

Basically, you’ll get a bit of a break for buying full albums. As you can see, this is still way less than iTunes, Amazon, etc.

Where you can buy it

You can currently still download everything for free at the Brian Wahl Music Store (powered by BandCamp, which is another awesome service). My music is also available on iTunes, Amazon, and most other online music stores.

What about Free Music Friday?

If you don’t know about Free Music Friday, click here. I’m still going to give some music away every month. It might be an entire album, or a single song. Sign up for the mailing list to make sure you get something free every month.

Finally, I want to thank you all again for all your support, and for listening to and downloading my music. Many of you have spread the word to your friends, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am.

Now go download more stuff while it’s still free 🙂

One last note

If you are an indie artist just getting started, I’d really encourage you to think about giving away your music for free in order to build a fan base. I’ve actually made way more money (in tips) giving away free music in the last year or so than I ever did selling albums. But the biggest thing you’ll gain is a little exposure.