How About Paying Bands $0.50 For Every Free Dowload?

from the can't-make-money-off-free? dept

We were just talking about how there are more and more new startups in the market to help bands do everything they need to do to both make music and make money these days -- and one of the most successful has been ReverbNation, who has created a variety of tools for musicians to help them both distribute music and connect with fans in new and compelling ways. And, now, the company has announced that it not only wants to help bands give away DRM-free mp3 music for free, but it will pay some of them $0.50 per download. Who says free can't pay? Of course, as always, there is a money-making business model involved. In this case, it's that ReverbNation will get to include a small ad in the cover art that appears with the album. Also, it's only open to a 1,000 bands. I'm not convinced this is a sustainable model, as "ad supported" music strikes me as a market where it will be tough to get enough ad revenue to make it worthwhile -- but it's still a neat experiment to watch and see how it evolves. It certainly may help get more indie bands over the fear of putting their music out there for free on purpose -- and hopefully some of those bands will recognize the other benefits of doing so, beyond just the $0.50 per download from ReverbNation.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    d husted, May 22nd, 2009 @ 10:28am

    50 cents? for free? DRM idea is already old

    While I am all for paying musicians for their work when it creates some kind of transfer of value, there are always questions about scam downloads for the money. Until there is a proven object-oriented recognition network to help avoid the 'family and friends network', I think we'd all ask, does that include the Kennedy Half Dollar?

     

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    Marshall Stokes (profile), May 22nd, 2009 @ 10:44am

    It's not free, it's annoying

    I don't think this is a good idea at all. It looks like just another way for a profit-oriented website to shove ads down your throat. Piggybacking advertisements on artistic works is not a positive model, and will do very little (if anything) to add value to any artist's brand or career. Artists do not necessarily need to sell out like this to build successful careers...

    As Techdirt mentions quite often, I sincerely believe it is high time to abandon this type of business model, and instead embrace the more realistic concept of using the art itself to attract valuable fans who will buy merchandise and concert tickets. The music is the hook, make it freely available without any catch, and artists will gain trust and respect from their fans.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 10:56am

      Re: It's not free, it's annoying

      Shoving ads down your throat? I'm sure they will make an add free version of the download that costs $0.75. If you want it for free then put up with a little ads in the album art. Bandwidth isn't free. I'm all for using the music as promotion of concerts and such but a business model where music is free with ads or a very small fee for tracks without them sounds good. Throw in NIN's donation model to go straight to the band and have a market place for the tangible goods such as shirts, CDs, etc... Bottom line a smart evolving forum to connect fans with the music they like in an easy hassle free way.

       

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      jonnyq, May 22nd, 2009 @ 11:30am

      Re: It's not free, it's annoying

      Piggybacking advertisements on artistic works is not a positive model, and will do very little (if anything) to add value to any artist's brand or career. Artists do not necessarily need to sell out like this to build successful careers...


      That's how radio and television work... I guess Keifer Sutherland sold out as an artist when he decided to do TV.

       

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    Ben, May 22nd, 2009 @ 11:00am

    RIAA will shut it down

    We assume that the 50 cents will go directly to the artist, rather than making a pit stop at the RIAA for distribution/skimming. That is something positive for the bands, and therefore something that the RIAA would be opposed to.

     

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    refe, May 22nd, 2009 @ 11:18am

    Re: It

     

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    identicon
    refe, May 22nd, 2009 @ 11:18am

    Re: It

     

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    refe, May 22nd, 2009 @ 11:27am

    Re: It's annoying

    I agree. Even though the downloaders are conciously choosing the ad sponsored version, I think that it may cheapen the artist's image as an artist. The fan culture these days is much less worried about 'sell-outs' than it was a few years ago, but this is a bit iffy. Besides - I looked at one of the emails they are sending out to the eligible members and if you read it there is clearly a $50 limit for at least most participating members. $50? That hardly seems worth it to risk sullying the artists' brand.

     

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    Tgeigs, May 22nd, 2009 @ 11:58am

    Question

    I'd rather pay bands Ludacris for every free download...

     

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    David Rose, May 22nd, 2009 @ 2:14pm

    It's worth a shot

    Anyone who thinks bands can simply give all of their music away for free and earn a living from playing live shows and selling merch has clearly never been in an indie band. This concept is a myth for 99% of the bands on the planet.

    Personally I would much rather see a band I like take advantage of sponsorship opportunities than quit music altogether because they can't support themselves. Unfortunately that's a choice too many good artists regularly face.

    Is this going to be a successful model? Who knows? If it's a way indie artists can get paid for their music I think it's worth giving this thing a fair shot.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2009 @ 6:18am

    yeah

    what's a "dowload"?

     

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    lou plaia, May 23rd, 2009 @ 7:57am

    ReverbNation promotion

    I think everyone above is missing a very important piece to this campaign. The promotional value the artist will be getting is something 99% of them would never be able to afford on their own. Their music will be exposed by potentially millions of music loving fans on the dime of a the brand.

    Yes, I am one of the Co-Founders of ReverbNation but this is not a biased comment. I come from the Label side of the business and know that setting up a myspace page or facebook page is the easy thing and it is free. Getting people to your music is not easy and it is very costly. We are helping with both - driving traffic to the artist's music at no cost - well the cost of one download which you know would wind up on the p2p networks for free anyway.

    Seems like a no-brainer to me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2009 @ 8:11am

    Perhaps they should ask "free" guru Chris Anderson about how the ad market is going these days. Wired is down more than 50% of ad pages, and judging by the last couple of editions, they have gone past mean and lean down to skinny and pissed.

    Another system that will run for a while and finally go bust when it can't pay the artists.

     

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      Mike (profile), May 24th, 2009 @ 3:39pm

      Re:

      Perhaps they should ask "free" guru Chris Anderson about how the ad market is going these days. Wired is down more than 50% of ad pages, and judging by the last couple of editions, they have gone past mean and lean down to skinny and pissed.

      If you did ask Chris (and I have) you'd know that he's not betting on ads to help Wired, but on other business models that leverage free. You'd also know, of course, that he's the Editor not the publisher, and has only so much input into the business decisions of Conde Nast. But, you know... why let details get in the way of a misleading anonymous comment?

       

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    Brian Fowler, May 23rd, 2009 @ 2:33pm

    GoHoster Free .mp3 URL ...

    Take a look at http://www.gohoster.com. We provide free mp3 URLs for music content and optimize the URL for online discovery through our content network. Also we pay the artists on each download.

    Thanks

     

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    Bobby Washington, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 8:14am

    Reverb Nation don't pay .50 cent per free download I wish!

    they may pay 01 cent.

     

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