Giving Away Your Music For Free – Tools For Indie Musicians

This post is part of the “Tools for Indie Musicians series. See all the posts here. This is more of a strategy than a tool, but strategies are tools, right? All of my original music is free. I’m going to explain my strategy in this post, but first, let’s look at this idea from both sides. Argument against free downloads You can do a google search and read tons of opinions on artists giving away their music for free. Many are passionately against the idea. I’ve read a lot of arguments against giving away music, and I’ll sum them up with this statement: Giving away your music for free cheapens it. You put lots of work into creating music, and if you believe it is valuable, you shouldn’t just give it away. Furthermore, it harms the entire music industry, conditioning fans to expect to listen to and download music for free. Why I choose to give my music away free I believe the argument for giving away music is stronger. So, this is why I give away my music for free. I am an unknown artist. Sure – I may have more than 2 or 3 twitter followers, and my mailing list has more than 13 emails on it, but in the grand scheme of things, I’m totally 100% an unknown. As an unknown artist, exposure is worth way more than money. This sounds nice, but how does it play out in the real world? For years I had a couple albums out on iTunes and I was trying different strategies to try and sell the albums. I had physical copies...

TuneCore – Tools for Indie Musicians

This is part of a “Tools for Indie Musicians” blog series where I highlight what tools I use to spread my music out there. See other posts in the series here. My last post in this series was over CD Baby. TuneCore does pretty much the same thing – and that’s getting your music to iTunes and other digital retailers so people can buy your music and make you rich and famous. Visit TuneCore’s website TuneCore has a few differences, though, and I’m going to highlight those here, as well as detail my personal experience with them. Pricing The main difference between TuneCore and CD Baby (that I can see) is in the pricing – it’s a totally different model. It works like this: Singles are $9.99 and albums are $49.99. Both prices are PER YEAR. This is the big difference from CDBaby (in costs). Also – the UPC barcodes are included. So, to break it down, here’s a comparison. Singles: TuneCore: $9.99 per year CD Baby: $14.99 – one time fee Albums: TuneCore: $49.99 per year CD Baby: $59.99 – one time fee You might be thinking that CD Baby is a no-brainer in the long term, but they payout model is a bit different, too. TuneCore passes 100% of profits to you. This is huge. When your song sells on iTunes for $0.99, Apple keeps 30% and then TuneCore pays you the rest, which is $0.693 per sale of one song. CD Baby keeps 9% and pays you 91%. That same song that payed you $0.693 with TuneCore gets you $0.637 with CD Baby. You might think that...

CD Baby – Tools for Indie Musicians

This is part of a “Tools for Indie Musicians” blog series where I highlight what tools I use to spread my music out there. See other posts in the series here. If you make music, you probably want to be able to sell it. And if you want to sell it, you want to sell it on iTunes. Trust me on this one. But, how in the world do you get it there? Getting your music to iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, Amazon, etc, is called “digital distribution”. It’s really difficult to do this yourself, so there are several companies that will handle this for you acting as a middle-man, taking care of the distribution as well as the money. Today we’re going to talk about CD Baby. Visit CD Baby’s website. CD Baby has been around for a long time. They handle both digital distribution as well as sales of physical CD’s. I’ve used them for several of my releases, and I’ve been extremely happy with them. The Money How much it costs: CD Baby charges $39 per album (more than one song) and $9 for a single (just one song). Didn’t singles used to have 2 songs? Back when they were on cassette tapes? Anyway… These are one-time charges, and they cover distribution to pretty much any digital retailer you can think of, plus sales of physical discs. One thing that you don’t really see right off the bat is that there is going to be an extra charge for a UPC barcode. You have to have this to sell digital copies, and chances are very good that you...

Tools for Indie Musicians

I’m going to start posting a series of articles titled “Tools for Musicians”. There are lots of great sites out there specifically for indie musicians like me, but hearing actual user experiences is always a good thing. I don’t claim to be a super successful recording artist, but I feel like things are picking up steam for me, and I’d love to share some strategies and tools that I use to get things done. Just as a teaser, I’m planning on reviewing and sharing my experiences with (links take you to posts over that topic): CD Baby (sell your music on iTunes and everywhere else) TuneCore (another way to sell music on iTunes and other online retailers) BandCamp (a service that allows you to sell your music on your own terms) Giving Away Music For Free (my thoughts and strategy with giving away free music) NoiseTrade (seriously – read this – you need to be using NoiseTrade) MailChimp YouTube Other websites that list tools for indie musicians I’m also planning to talk about different strategies for blogging and sharing music. My hope is to have all of you who are indie musicians to add to the conversation so we can all learn from our shared experiences. Stay...

Live Recording Setup at Church

I have been wanting to do decent quality live recording for a long time at church. I’ve done some recording of our worship before using a hand-held recorder, but nothing like a full-fledged multi-track setup. That’s all going to change now. I’ve got us set so we can get a full mix, each track recorded individually. I’ll break down the equipment I’m using and exactly how we’re doing it. First of all, here is what we’ve got on a typical Sunday morning, and what we need to track Vocals – usually 3. One lead and two backup. Acoustic guitar. This is mine – I run my Martin D-35 through an Ultrasound DI Plus pre-amp and then straight into the board. Electric guitar. Usually Justin (our main electric player) runs through a footpedal and into a Vox AC15. We mic that with an SM57. Keys. Yamaha MM8 (this is a new keyboard for us – we’re excited!) Bass. We get a direct signal to the board. Sometimes the bass player goes through an amp with a direct out. Drums. We use a Roland TD9 V-drum kit. Just one out that goes straight into the board. It also has a midi out that I’m running into my recording interface so I can put a drum plugin on it like Superior Drummer. The speaker (Pastor). The pastors use a wireless mic, which goes into the board. So – we’ve got 9 to 10 different inputs going in – all of them eventually go into the board either direct or mic’d. We run a regular snake to the back of the stage where...

How To Line Up Audio and Video in Final Cut

In this video tutorial, I illustrate the technique I use to line up audio and video clips in Apple Final Cut video editing software. I’ve been asked how I do this several times, and it’s really a lot easier than it might seem. Let’s say you’ve recorded an acoustic version of a song and you took video during the recording. So, you’ve got a video clip with audio from the mic on the camera you used. Plus you’ve got the audio from your recording interface. You’ll want to use that audio from the recording interface and ditch the audio from the built-in camera microphone. Syncing the video and the audio can be a tedious task! In a nutshell, do this: Tell Final Cut to show the audio waveforms of the clips. Line up the waveforms. You’re...