Thursday, April 24, 2014

Give it away?

Good evening everyone! Tonight, I come to you to get something off of my chest. Sorry for no new music. This is something that needs to be said and hopefully understood by all.

A few days ago, I saw a post on Facebook from an indie artist about a blogger that reached out to him about posting about his band. That band is The Sunpilots, who have recently been featured on this very blog. As I pointed out on said post, the band is currently offering their upcoming album as a free download. The blogger in question had downloaded the album, for free, then offered the post IF the band sent him/her some additional merchandise... then proceeded to to list what he/she would like. For free. 


Who are the mainstream artists giving their music away for free?

That's what I thought.

One of my all-time favorite posts about indie music has to do with the comparison between the cost of a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop and the cost of a single song published by an indie artist. It really is funny, because just this morning I paid $3.85 for a cup. As soon as I drove off, I thought about the three or four songs I just passed on. And the comparison itself is as true as it gets. Once the coffee was gone, what did I have to show for it besides a full bladder? As I sit here typing this, I'm listening to my iPod which is full of indie music that I've purchased over the last three or four years. Of the more than 87,000 songs currently in my iTunes library, nearly 40% of them are indie artists. Of that 40%, at least 85% have been bought and paid for. Whether it be iTunes, BandCamp, CD Baby, Noise Trade, ReverbNation, the artist's website or, I ALWAYS buy the music that I like to support the artists when and where I can. The estimated 15% that I haven't paid for have been sent to me unsolicited or downloaded for free because that's simply the only way the artist has put their music out there. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me interacting with indie artists who reach out to me about possibly finding a spot on this blog. They ask where they submit music to for consideration. My response is always the same. There's no need to submit anything to me. As soon as you hit the follow button, you're already on my radar. If I like what I hear, I buy the music and do my best to help them promote it. For someone to come right out and ask for something for free is downright preposterous and downright asshole-ish. Period. 

These artists are out there putting everything they have into their art. The vast majority of them work a 9 to 5 like most of us do. Any free time and money they have is going to the music that they create for us to enjoy. And contrary to what you may or may not believe, it isn't cheap, OR FREE for them to record. Even if they're completely DIY, how much do you think the equipment in their home studio cost them? Bet it wasn't free.

And please don't get me started on how people act at the shows that I go to. As soon as the band starts to point out the merch table and the cd's they have for sale for $5, the bitching and moaning and haggling starts up. This is usually at shows that were either FREE for them to get into or paid a measly $5 cover charge to get into. There are usually three or more bands on the bill and at the most, they're playing in front of not a lot of people. How much do you think they're getting at the end of the night from the venue? If they're lucky, they'll have gas money to get back home. But the ass clowns in the crowd are bitching about a $5 cd when they're running up a $50 bar tab. Why do you even bother to come out?

So, I'm putting this out there to ALL bloggers and fans alike. If you truly believe in the artist and their craft, please, please, please support them properly. Buy the music. Support the crowd funded campaigns. Go to the shows. Pay your cover charge. Buy the band a drink. Buy a cd. Buy a t-shirt. Make a new friend or two. These artists are some of the coolest fucking people on the face of the earth. They're regular people just like you and me. They're approachable. They appreciate you coming out to see them and support them. I've made some lifelong friends in not just our local indie scene, but all over, over the last couple of years. They know there isn't a single thing that I wouldn't do for them.

Support unsigned artists... give indie music a chance.

1 comment:

  1. As an Indie Artist, I agree with everything you have said.
    I have had probably 4000 listens on my bandcamp page in the past month. I love this because it means that people are listening to my music, which is the reason that I make music in the first place...
    But I have made a grand total of 0 sales in that same time frame.
    People sometimes forget about the staggering cost of releasing an Album, and touring, and making merch, and basically just being a musician.
    Moral of the story. If you like it. Buy it. At the VERY least throw a dollar in the hat via Paypal.

    End Rant.