One of the joys of being a presenter on radio is hearing stories of great listener experience. By and large those who tune in do so because they have a deep interest in music and a desire to share new discoveries with others.
Recently I heard of someone who on hearing a particular artist on the show followed up with the band to find out if they would sell him a CD.
The band sent the CD but insisted no payment should be made. In fact, the postage was not cheap but that too was carried by the band.
Being a keen supporter of our emerging artists he was pleased but a little concerned at this approach.
But, is there method in their madness?
Any independent artist producing CDs to showcase their music will probably understand how the role of that medium has changed in recent years.
Far from being the end product designed to reach a mass consumer market through large industry suppliers, the CD today is used more in the role of marketing or as a take away for appreciative audiences at concerts.
It does indeed showcase an artists music, but also act as a focus for creative skills.
Getting a wide distribution is very much in the artists interest and who better to help than an enthusiastic supporter?
Many copies will have been sent around the radio stations and reviewer addresses but how many of those will end up in the bin? or maybe get one play on a show only then end up at the bottom of a large pile in store.
Sending a CD to someone who will tell friends and other interested parties is very likely to lead to sales and bookings, so not a bad move and in these days of download or streaming probably quite cost effective.
I recently read a detailed article on this approach which came out heavily in favour of musicians openly giving recorded music for free but with the caveat of course that it is part of a broader marketing strategy and supported by a business plan
Brian Player September 2017