Free Music (live, digital- and physical-format)

I’ve had a few concerts here and there in my time, some of them free, sometimes with free cd’s, or mentions of a free release on the net.

Some people have raised concerns that no matter how good the show or albums are, the whole thing seems cheap, since it’s free. Some friends have even refused, just on the grounds that it was free.

I’ve had about fifty pressings of different albums at a table by the bar, with a sign that have said “FREE” or “You’re Welcome” in big, red letters, and people seem to ignore it. Sometimes I try to force it onto people, and they seem hesitant.

Now, this would be understandable if people just didn’t like it, and there are a lot of people that don’t since I make experimental music and since I’m a part of the norwegian noise-scene, but my audience is comprised of about a hundred individuals that I more or less know personally, and whenever I put a price, even if it’s just one euro, people seem pleased, live or album.

So, to get to the point, what is this? Do people in general look down on free music, no matter the genre, even if the quality of it is on par with everything else? Is it connected to the availability of music nowadays? How does that connect to live-music?

In a situation like that, I’d be very hesitant to take the CDs, because I wouldn’t want to take advantage of you or to feel obligated to you.

People who buy music, especially if it’s something like CDs at an artist’s merch table, often do so (at least partly) because they want to support the artist, not just because they want a copy of the music.

My expectation when I go to a free concert is that there will be a table with CDs for sale, and that if I like the music, I’ll buy one. If the concert and the CDs were both free, I’d be wondering what the heck was going on.

Start charging for the CDs. They’ll be flying off the table then.

I understand, and I have done that too. I have sometimes charged a small amout, around a euro or two for cd’s, but weirdly, those concerts have been a mix of people buying stuff seemingly out of pity, usually followed by condescending remarks, and people who have told me my stuff ain’t worth shit, since the concert was free.

To be honest, I’m not concerned about the money, as long as I do a good show and get the cover-charge. Usually I get the venue without charge. If I play with someone that has travel-charges, I try to get them compensated, no matter if it’s my stuff or theirs that sell. All I want is to share music, live, physical or over the net.

What I really wonder about is if it seems cheap, or not worth the trouble(for the audience). The reason I wonder is because I’ve had feelings along the same line of hough regarding free downloads… I try to give most everything a go, but a small demon in the back of my head tells me to ignore it… “it’s for free, you have enough good music… you don’t really need more music do you?” I mean, the availability of music nowadays is crazy, for any genre. Does that in itself turn people away from free stuff?

Don’t feel at all bad about charging for your CDs. Yeah, you’re doing it because you love it, but there’s nothing at all wrong with getting paid for doing what you love.

$15 seems to be about the going rate, though you could probably get away with selling the older ones for $10.

As a Deadhead, I’d take that free music without blinking, as a music fan in general, I’d happily pay you $15 if I wanted the album.

Yeah, i don’t actually care about selling price. I always sell for a lot more than i hope for, wich is good. All want is to spread good music, no matter genre, affilliation. I dont care, all I want is as many people trying as much as they can.

I think it’s because a lot of people are giving away terrible stuff for free. I have downloaded a lot of free mp3 samplers over the years, and a lot of it was terrible. I think most people just give up.