Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Play Music For Free

Well, Metaphor has been out for almost two years now, and has done exactly what most CDs of this kind do: It sold really well to my fan base (all six of you) in the first 4 – 6 months, and then worked its way into a trickle of sales from the online sources. It’s still a good impulse item purchase at shows, but shows have been scarce since the economy went south.

Speaking of which, I’m offering a couple of new and innovative (at least, I like to think they are) marketing approaches. For a limited time (What is a “limited time?” When I decide time’s up, that when.) I’m offering my “Recession Special.” You can check out the details on my home page, but it’s really quite simple: Pay What You Can. I’ll work with any budget and, on top of expenses (travel, lodging, sound, etc.), I’ll accept pretty much any fee to come to your venue and play music. (Remember my motto: Music is not my sole means of income, but my soul mean of income.)

I’m also willing to give away my CDs. Yes. I said that.

I’ve been reading a blog by
Derek Sivers. It’s mostly geared for musicians, but others can learn some really terrific life lessons there. This is the post explaining why giving away CDs might be a good business model:

I’m also offering a free download of one of my songs through the end of this year. You can read about it on my website as well, and you can go
here to download it. (Right click to download, right click to listen.)

I have a lot of good musician friends in my little musical niche, and I might be pissing some of them off right now. Undercutting, prostitution…whatever. I’m OK with it. I’d like to think I’m also educating some of them. There is no shame in making a living, or even really good money, by doing what you love. But, for me, at this point on my unfinished timeline, it’s more about sharing what I love to do, my creative work of which I am really proud. And any – that’s any – monetary contribution to me goes a long way toward providing the necessities for my family.

I’ve said this before, and I don’t know to whom to attribute it (if anyone knows, let me know), but it’s one of my most favorite things I ever heard anybody say about being a working musician. He was being interviewed on NPR, he drives from town to town in an old car, sometimes sleeps in his car, plays anywhere that will hire him – coffee houses, book stores, festivals, house concerts, concert halls – and he said (and I’m paraphrasing): I get paid for driving my car for hours and hours, and for sleeping in seedy motels or on floors. I play music for free.