About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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The Free EP - A Conscious Move
Wednesday, September 12, 2007

With artists having such a hard time generating album sales it’s a wonder they haven’t taken a harder look at how to properly utilize downloading to their advantage. I’ve previously written about the potential advantages to having at least one song on an artist’s MySpace page being available for download, but former Artist of the Week Conscious has one-upped me by putting together an entire EP, A Side, B Side, and offering it up for free via download. A lot of folks, especially artists, may think that’s quite a lot of work to be giving away for free, but when one takes a closer look at it they’ll realize the idea is brilliant.

The two biggest issues artists and consumers are having right now are intertwined. Artists aren’t selling albums and it’s because consumers aren’t buying albums. Common consumer complaints include that artists aren’t creating good albums anymore and that there’s no point in buying a complete album when one knows the majority of it will be filler. Another complaint is that with a lot of new artists people are (rightfully) hesitant to buy an entire album based on only hearing one single. The free EP cures all these ills.

By releasing a free EP Conscious, and any other artist who does this (I know another former Artist of the Week, Domer, has one in the works), is openly saying “it’s cool if you don’t know who I am right now, here’s an introduction.” So now, rather than having people wonder “who is this guy,” they’ll have already heard enough of his work to make a decision on whether or not they want to buy his album when it comes out. The process, as you can see, potentially cures the album sales issue with artists developing a following that will be willing to buy their work thanks to the fact that they will have already created a relationship with the consumer.

There’s an old adage that states it takes money to make money. In this case, however, the saying doesn’t necessarily ring true. Conscious put together some older songs he had that were unreleased and weren’t making him any money and decided to put them together in EP form and make it available for download for free. It took no money to do this (other than whatever he’s paying to have a website) and in the long run he will make money because of it.

Nothing like this would have been possible ten years ago, back when we had album samplers with three to five songs from an artist to try to get people interested in them. All those tapes and CDs, all those inserts, all those costs to the artist/label are gone now with the advent of downloading and if you’re an artist who isn’t using this to your advantage you should expect to be passed by quickly by those that are.

All artists have songs they don’t use on their albums, but the majority of artists, at least in Hip-Hop, have been using those songs to create mix-CDs they then try to sell to the public in anticipation of their official release. Rather than expect money from the public twice, and money for songs that didn’t make the album, give them an EP for free, give them an opportunity to get to know you, give them a reason to care about you. Being successful isn’t about making the most money from jump, it’s about building a fan base that will allow you to make money for a long period of time. When an artist or label attempts to squeeze all they can out of the consumer by charging for everything what they end up doing is alienating themselves from the very audience they’re looking to attract. If they took the initiative that artists like Conscious have with A Side, B Side they wouldn’t be losing any money and they’d be gaining a dedicated fan base they could grow with for years to come. In 2007 the free download only EP is the new album sampler, and this is how you get people interested in your work.

Related Links

iareconscious.com: A Side, B Side
Adam’s World: Artist of the Week – Conscious
Adam’s World: Hey MySpace Artists – Let Us Download


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:55 AM  
  • At 9:54 AM, Blogger CREW said…

    you know we understand the ideal behind this, thats why we hit them with that MIDDLE ROAD for free.

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