Free Music: It’s Not Enough to Win Fans Anymore…

This is a situation that seems to be getting worse, not better. Because even the artists that are resigned to giving away their music for free are finding that it’s still not enough to hook new fans.  The modern-day media consumer is just too distracted, too overloaded, and too oversaturated to engage.

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The question is whether the do-it-yourself artist can effectively cut through this.  Direct-to-fan platform Nimbit has been researching this, and found that most fans are not seriously connecting after receiving free music.  Instead, the company found that a disciplined follow-up is also required to establish a real connection, and more importantly, provoke a downstream sale.  “What we have seen historically… is artists who promoted a free track and did no follow-up would get purchases from between 0%-5% of the new fans they captured,” Nimbit SVP of marketing Carl Jacobson told Digital Music News.

Nimbit says doling out free stuff is making first-level connections, though in all honesty, that’s probably a stretch.  The stories we keep hearing from the do-it-yourself trenches is that any level of meaningful connection – paid or otherwise – is now a serious hurdle, even if the music is good.  And that goes for established artists trying to popularize their latest stuff, especially without the help of serious promotional budgets.

Maybe there’s still gas in this DIY tank.  Nimbit is trying to automate the follow-up, especially since most artists lack the time or desire to get this done.  That includes an upgrade to its Promo Tool product that includes timed thank you notes and special discounts on things like full albums.  “On the other hand, any artists who were disciplined enough to regularly follow up with the new fans they captured did fairly well,” Jacobson continued.

So, if this is step one…

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Step two is basically getting in your potential fan’s face:

(1) Sending a thank you note one day later.

(2) Following up with an immediate discount offer on the full album.

(3) Offering a discount on any other, related item.


Which means to attract new fans, most artists are being forced to not only give away free music, but pay for fans with their time, DIY services, or both.

Written while listening to >album title goes here<…