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Frodo's Ghost | The Free Version of Free
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The Free Version of Free

So I got a tweet today from someone I follow. He said that a The Cat Empire had released a new CD, and were offering a free song to download. I love free stuff, but when I got there it wasn’t free at all.

The non-free version of free The non-free version of free

Let me preface this with the not free thing. See the track cost zero dollars to buy, which technically means it if free but the was a cost to pay. I clicked the link to download my free version and was presented with a form to enter my details – It even had little stars next to fields, which means that data was required.

Do they need my date of birth to give me a free song?

Required fields to download a track. That is translating to data they need to send me information when-ever they wish to. Basically – Spam.

I should explain my feelings with a story – of course. A few years back I found an abnormal songwriter to my normal styles, release a free CD. Because it was free I followed the links, filled in the forms, and downloaded the free CD. I think I listened to it once. Didn’t really enjoy it.

What followed were emails. Lots of emails. Whenever the artist wanted to get news out, or released a new CD, or just wanted to say howdy I got an email. It wasn’t long before I unsubscribed and moved on.

There was no connection with the band in this case, and they had my contact details. Many emails followed, and everyone that arrived in the inbox made me never want to listen to the band again.

As a band releasing your music for free a negative connection is the wrong connection to make. Even with people who don’t like your stuff. How you connect with people who don’t like your music is where the respect starts. If you treat them well, they will let others know

When you offer something for free, and you have to take details then make sure you treat your contacts with respect. I would even say that an email is good for four times a year contact – if people love what you do then they are going to find you in other ways. Twitter. Facebook. MySpace.

The best way is to release your CD with a no-obligation link. Allow people to sample your music, for free, and if they like it they will find you. Trust me, a connection with a band is something that is strong and people will follow you.

Take what you need, not what you can get. Respect and trust the people who you are giving your product that if they like you you have a fan. If you do it right, you’ll have a dedicated fan.

I didn’t download the song at Cat Empire, because I am unsure weather to trade my contact details for 25 minutes of music I may or may not enjoy. How about you, did you trade details for the song?

1 Comment
  • Yeah I’d be pretty pissed off too. We talked about a similar thing in our PMS class (professional management skills). I can’t remember the band, it might have been Coldplay or something, but they did a similar thing. Your information for their CD. Sure it’s great for them to have your information but it’s too easy for them to abuse it. They need to win the respect of the people, like you said. If they want to do something like this, they should make it free*. If people like it they’ll come looking for you and subscribe to your mailing list, etc.

    As for me, I’m not a Cat Empire fan so I’m not going to take the risk. Although you can always use a bogus e-mail account/details.

    Also, best wishes for the weight loss goals. You sound pretty motivated so I’m sure you’ll do well.

    February 21, 2009 at 2:47 am

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