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Building A Business On ‘Free’

5th November 2007 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Venue: The Worship

This seminar has been produced in association with CIDA, the East London Business Development Agency.   This event is open to all, with engagement particularly encouraged from trading companies and individuals from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.  Please note that pre-event registration is essential to access this FREE event. and that booking for the event can ONLY be made through contact with CIDA.

For more information, please email or call Jessica Green on 020 7247 4710.


TOPIC

Fantastic.  Prince gave away his new CD for ‘free’ with a national newspaper, former Kinks frontman, Ray Davies, is soon to follow and Radiohead recently invited you, Joe Public, to decide precisely how much (or not), to pay for the digital release of their latest oeuvre, In Rainbows…

Leaving aside the finer details of a recent spate of headline-grabbing announcements on the subject of giving music away for free, these examples are the result of some clever thinking by artists who are using ‘free’ music as a promotional tool to stir up press interest and sell consumers other related products, be it concert tickets, merchandise or in the case of Radiohead, a premium physical release of the same album at a later date.

But what does this mean for artists who aren’t household names, who don’t have a lineage of best-selling records or a fanbase to match?

Recent history shows that it can be done – UK indie band The Crimea hit the headlines earlier this year having made a digital copy of their 2nd album, The Witching Hour, available as an entirely free download. Remember Nizlopi’s JCB song, Christmas ’05? Encouraging unfettered downloading and sharing of their video was a crucial factor in the song’s success.  Then there’s the Arctic Monkeys, whose rapid rise to fame was greatly helped by Internet distribution of free downloads of the band’s pre-label demo CDs.  But these are the exception, not the rule and in terms of pr, the law of diminishing returns will always apply.

Can and should ‘free’ be part of the plan for today’s emerging artists, labels, managers and small music companies.  Is it viable or indeed advisable to give music away and if so, how can it be done in a way that doesn’t compromise artists’ income, integrity or longevity?

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