Recently, I’ve ran into artists and business people that disdain the notion of “free.” Normally when I present this idea of “free”, I get a barrage of questions such as the following:
- How am I suppose to make money?
- I don’t want people stealing my stuff. How do I stop that?
- FREE?! What’s that?
The notion of “free” isn’t a total lost for the artist (which explains the quotations I put around the word “free”). Remember when your mother told you nothing is actually free? Well, she was right. Nothings ever totally free. The word “free” is just used as a marketing tool.
For example, the mixtape has become the prominent medium for free. Artists like Drake and Lil Wayne have achieved major success by releasing their material free through the mixtape format. I’ve often wondered how did they achieve major success off of giving away free products.
Relationship. Free = Relationship.
Ever purchased a product with a free sample of a new product? The mixtape is built around this marketing strategy. The majority of people are not “risk takers” when it comes to music or any other product. So, giving away your product for free is the most logical step in building a relationship that can lead to monetary returns. You must build a relationship with your audience before you expect them to pay for anything. They need to know that the product they’re purchasing is quality based on your past releases. Don’t expect a potential fan to buy a product they never heard. Again, look at Lil Wayne and Drake as case studies.
Now, “FREE” isn’t so bad after all.