The Indie Revolution – Noisetrade and Why it’s SOOOO Awesome

Posted by danadron on December 8, 2011 Blog | Uncategorized | | No comments

In case you missed it, Lauren and I have been giving away our new album The Revive Project for FREE for one week only on Noisetrade (Dec 5-11). Kind of a “Merry Christmas” gesture as well as an opportunity to give the album more exposure which hopefully in turn will give Reading more exposure.

A lot of folks have been wondering what the advantage of doing this is and exactly what NOISETRADE is and how it helps artists by giving away their music for free. So here are some quick thoughts on it all.

Noisetrade today is one of the most valuable resources in the independent musician’s toolkit.
There’s only one thing more important to an independent musician than getting to do what they love for a living, and that is exposure. When an artist gains a fan, it doesn’t just gain one – it gains the exposure to hundreds more potential fans . Part of an indie artist’s success is based on their ability to empower their fans to market their music to their friends.

Sacrifice is a term all-too-familiar to indie artists, it’s what the game is all about. You spend money to make fans. You spend money to empower your fans. You spend money for exposure. And you do it all with the hope that eventually it will all come back around to you so that you can continue making and sharing music. That’s why artists are so obsessed with Twitter, Facebook, and blogs – it’s the cheapest way to gain exposure if you do it right and you do it well. It’s why artists are constantly asking you to share their music on your wall – to retweet their tweets – and to “Like” their fan page. It’s all in the name of exposure.

Think of Facebook as an endless gigantic room filled with people having conversations. The more often I talk and share music, the more likely it is I am going to attract more individuals. The larger the crowd grows in front of me, the more likely it is to attract more people to come and listen to what I have to say or sing. The larger my crowd gets, the more influence I have. The more influence I have, the more exposure my art gets. You see how that works?

The problem is, most people these days believe that music is free, or if it isn’t, that they shouldn’t have to pay for it. The downside is that recording music at a professional level is not free – not even close. So to do it well, musicians need to either have rich friends or know people who have rich friends who are willing to invest in the artist (Enter Kickstarter. The latest indie craze is to sell pre-orders of albums through Kickstarter before even recording the album. This way their album is funded by the sales ahead of time so the artist is not completely broke by the time the album drops.)

When looking at the economics of it, it all makes sense. There’s always a high demand for music, and thanks to the internet and technology, the amount of musicians writing and recording music (professionally or amateurishly) has increased exponentially in the last decade. This is great for a lot of reasons, but an increase in musicians means an increase in competition – and in a capitalist market – this drives price down – waaaaay down – all the way down to Free.

If an indie artist is wise, they will capitalize on this and jump into the game – not fight it. This is where Noisetrade came along. Noisetrade said to artists, “Hey, we get it. It’s hard to get your music out there but we want to help you give your music a platform so you can gain exposure.”

There’s one thing to an indie musician that is just as valuable as an album sale – and that’s your email address. I don’t want you to buy just this album, I want you to buy every album I put out and every Tshirt I design, and come to every show that is near you. The only way that’s possible is if I can communicate to you, and the best and easiest way I can communicate to you is through email.

So Noisetrade created a tool for artists – upload your music, we’ll host it and give you a widget to post anywhere on the net, people download it for free or by paying what they want in exchange for their email address, zip code, and a Twitter or Facebook share. The added bonus is, the more downloads you get, the more exposure you get – everywhere.

This is why so many indie artists use Noisetrade as a venue to share their music and to grow their fan-base. Most artists simply offer a sampling of their music – the hope is if you like 2 or 3 songs, you’ll like it enough to purchase their album. It’s exactly like the old lady at the supermarket handing out bagel bites – once you have one, you’re definitely buying the whole dang box and eating ALL of them when you get home from the store.

This is why Lauren and I decided to give away The Revive Project for FREE for one week. As I write this, we have had over 1,000 downloads in just 4 days. This is compared to the 15 downloads we received on iTunes and Amazon in the months of September and October combined. Now if you do the math, that’s us missing out on approximately $10,000 of potential income – and for The Revive Project, that’s $10,000 we won’t get to give away to charities and people in need in Reading, PA. This may seem disappointing, but while the wallet didn’t grow, our voice did. We just gained an audience of 1,000+ people that we didn’t have a week ago. And we can only hope that those 1,000+ people will share it with their network of friends and family – making our network and sphere of influence much much bigger than just 1,000+ people. For The Revive Project – we set out with two main goals – to raise funds, and raise awareness about the plight of Reading. Noisetrade has created for us a venue to raise a ton of awareness and a MUCH bigger potential sphere of influence – and you can’t put a price on that.