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Giving your music away: please share your thoughts
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Tantroniq



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:37 pm    Post subject: Giving your music away: please share your thoughts
Subject description: Curious where people are on this concept
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Not sure where to place this thread, but here it is.

So Im asking the question "What are your thoughts on giving away your music for free?"

By this I mean: allowing people to listen and or download your music with no need to purchase it.

I don't mean using it for placement in films or a commercial product like a game, or something that actually or potentially generates revenue. I also dont mean letting people reuse the music in their own music. But these topics can all me addressed too.

Im finding myself re-examining this issue after getting thousands of listens on myspace and then getting no sales from downloads or physical cd sales. Seems like basically people fully expect to be able to listen and not pay. Im feeling less of a desire to fight this reality.

Any personal stories appreciated.

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Symatic Star



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Tantroniq, I am thinking about this also at present, and am leaning towards sharing my music at present for free download for personal listening only ( no other use ), "I retain all copyright and all rights reserved "I have enjoyed great music that I have recieved for free.

Instead of initially for example getting 1000 cds made at my expense and then trying to sell them to friends etc ( my music - may or may not be something they are open to ) as otherwise it really is an issue of distribution to get them further afield. I would rather my music be able to be heard by an individual on the other side of the world for free personal enjoyment who does appreciate it and simultaneously be exposed to say for example a film maker where I would then have the choice to enter into a financial contract over its use. ( my music is mainly long form 30mins-1hour instrumental and atmospheric, maybe it would be different for short single pieces 3-5mins in a different style ? )

Interesting subject.

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Tantroniq



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My aims are similar.

There are clear advantages to making music easily heard by whomever, wherever, etc. I consider that one of the reasons I went into electronic music in the first place was that I was tired of writing scores that I would then have to shop around for people to play. This was its own form of dead end...So maybe I should remember that I am fortunate to have been able to create things that are complete and that I can put out there.

There is a troubling feeling of music having been devalued by a variety of socio-economic and aesthetic factors, which could be a long thread in and of itself. But regardless of the direction this contemplation would take, in the end each musical artist faces the same set of questions: what do you want to do and how are you going to do it? And what are you willing and able to do in the meantime?

The even bigger unknown is: what will the result of an action be? This much I can say from experience: a myspace page will be used to play songs and then never buy them. Soooooooooooo, then I think well I can do THAT on my own site.

Being on itunes is of no real use to increase sales or exposure by itself. (makes sense why that would be)

I recall visiting Moby's site and he has a section where student/independent filmmakers can use some of his stuff for free.

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Ross Baker



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Having released a multitude of EPs and such on netlabels using a Creative Commons license, I don't have much trouble sharing my music for free. If it means more people will listen, then it cannot be a negative. My only problem is I still have an interest in the physical product, with artwork and nice packaging. That's very important to me, and without it the release sometimes feels incomplete. I'd love my listeners to have the opportunity to appreciate the artwork too!
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here's an interesting article on the subject.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ocp wrote:
Here's an interesting article on the subject.


Good quote from the article:

Quote:
"A digital download has no costs at all. The logical outcome was distribution that granted any piece of music total availability, with the downside of being the most inefficient way of distribution ever: what should I download when there are five billion files to choose from? Whom should I bless with my attention? Do I have any attention to spare?"

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PHOBoS



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

For me it's pretty simple, I make my 'music' cause I like doing it and share it
for free in case other people might like listening to it. I personally believe
that using money should be avoided whenever possible and if someone
really wants to pay me for it (yeah right) I would rather have some music I
can enjoy in return. Of course i'm no big artist and would not label myself a
musician,. so this works for me maybe not for you. Wink

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v-un-v
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Give mixed music away for free. Charge for people to remix it.

It's my new advice for those who make music using iOS devices.

And play live as much as you can for and not for money! Busk as much as possible (within reason of course!) too. Very Happy

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Antimon



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I enjoy making music and sharing it in my free time, but I think I would do a better job and more if I could do it full time. I could quit my job (which I enjoy) and start trying to play live, but playing live would just be like another energy-sapping job, only worse because I don't think I would enjoy it very much - not with electronic stuff anyway, guitar playing can be fun though.

I wonder if it has ever been a reasonable possibility for a large amount of people of any class and wide spectrum of interest (i.e. from hard pros to enthusiasts) to live and make music full time, as it would if all electro musicians on, say, MySpace got to live and work that way. I think you either do it in your free time, or you get some kind of govenment or benefactor deal where a large amount of musicians are sponsored to work with music.

/Stefan

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1:11



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i wish more people here would charge for their music!!

i can understand the philosophy behind giving all the music away, but i don't think it helps either the artist or underground music. MP3's, yes...give them away, but i'd like the option to BUY wav's or a physical CD to help support the artists i love.

As a Fan, i want to hear artists i enjoy to progress, expand, and to have the time to create more work. For developing artists, i want to hear better recordings. All of this takes $, especially in the case of electronic musicians.

Being an artist IS A JOB, and not an ez one!!

While it's silly to think you'll make a profit or anything, artists can certainly use a lil extra to get them through.
i'd MUCH rather see an artist i love be able to spend their time Creating than working at a stupid job.

Allowing people to buy your music lets them show their support and appreciation in a way that goes beyond words. It's not about the $, it's about tangible support. Words can only go so far.
Supporting the artist helps them continue to create.

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modulator_esp
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I play music for fun

I mostly share the results of my enjoyment with others for free, because
a. it's much easier to upload mp3s than it is to sell CDRs
b. I don't feel guilty about selling stuff I just made for fun
c. it's a good way to get my stuff heard

However, even though it's much more like hard work I do make and sell CDRs, primarily to sell at gigs, though I often ended up trading them or just giving them away to people I like

I have even had some stuff released by a third party and found that quite a nice experience so am going to try and get some more out, mainly so I can do more gigs as there is no real money in it

I get so much more enjoyment out of making and sharing music than money could ever buy so I'm happy Smile

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Keysandslots



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I agree with 1:11, we should be charging something for music. If the world is at a stage where even $0.99 is too much to pay for a song, I feel very sorry for artists everywhere.

We are paying for sins of the past which we had nothing to do with. Artists and record companies got a nice ride for many years on the backs of consumers, but of course, consumers were willing to pay so there's enough blame to go around.

Over the years a backlash ensued, and now people seem to have somehow decided having music is a right, like breathing. This is ridiculous! There is work involved and money spent. There may be years of practice, time spent in awful bars trying to get along with mostly drunken patrons and being nice to idiot club owners (not that anything like this applies to me).

If we give music away, the perceived value of the effort will be the same as what we charged for it.

Randy
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Symatic Star



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Keysandslots wrote:


If we give music away, the perceived value of the effort will be the same as what we charged for it.

Randy


Although I agree with a lot of what you are saying , I would have to completely disagree with the above last sentence for my self at least.

I was just listening to a free for download album from an internet record label and deeply enjoying and thoroughly appreciating it from a listening/experiencing angle and technically the artistry... I appreciate work for its effect it has on me as a listener as well as the technical aspects of the work. I "value" the album I was just listening to more than most of and as much as any of the albums I have payed full price for over the years.

If I taste side by side a special one off dish by a talented master chef and a take away chain burger, I know which one I will appreciatte more regardless of if I had to pay for each or not. If the chef chose to give me a dish he/she has cooked for free I will be very grateful. What you are saying may relate more to a non artist audience/listener?

Regardless of all this you can retain the copyright and all rights even if you are releasing a piece of music or album for free.
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Patchmouse



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My problem with free music is that if musicians aren't paid for what they do how on earth are they supposed to sit at home doing it ? They would obviously have to find other work and therefore wouldn't have the time to spend writing producing and recording they're music. Also, music will funnel down into a narrow band of genre's and the more difficult and expensive to produce types of music will disappear, simply because no one will be able to afford to produce it. Also when something is "free" it seems to have no inherent value, and "isn't" valued as such, and then everyone thinks that all artistic endeavor should be free and the role of the artist in society gets diminished...........how lovely is that !
I don't make my music for money, I would if I could, but no one seems to want to buy it (but that maybe because it's crap!!) so, like everyone else I've started to give it away. What I am doing is to start gigging again, like a lot of other people, this seems to be the only way to get your music heard and to build up a following, also, it gives you a chance to throw a few CD's at the audience as well. mainstream commercial artists are realizing that selling recordings to make money is a bit of a waste of time now, and they are all out furiously gigging to make up the cash, great times eh ? As Tom Waits said.........how' s it gonna end Very Happy

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onewayness



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I make mine available to download for free on my bandcamp page, though to be honest I'm starting to rethink that a bit. I guess my primary motivation is to have my music heard, more than it is to make money from it, so in a way I don't want to do anything that will discourage new listeners from being able to hear it... But I also understand the argument that making music available for free devalues it in a way. So; I do, but I'm a bit torn. I also make physical media versions of things, which I sell mainly at gigs and occasionally to others who find me. Though, I end up giving away / sending as promos / swapping with people far more than I actually "sell". And I make limited quantities and do lots of things by hand. It's more work, and often more expensive per piece, but I'm not stuck with 1,000 of something that I'll only ever sell 1/4 of.

Cheers,
Adam / onewayness

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MusicMan11712



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I find this to be an interesting discussion. My son is taking an economics class and has been kind enough to answer some of my questions about economics (supply, demand, market, formulas, etc.). So, I am wondering if economics enters in here. I mean, if I were to try to sell my music to a general audience, I think at best I'd make less than a penny an hour for the time invested (including marketing and promotion in addition to creation and production). There are far more accomplished artists than me who are much more experienced at marketing. I would assume that each person has to estimate how much they can make with their products and services to be able to make a personal decision. (To charge or not to charge--that is the question.)

Years ago (nay, decades ago) I had a musical collaborator with whom I did arts-in-education residencies and other grant-based projects. I do believe that if we had the kind of technology back then that we do now, we might have pulled in some extra money from product sales and downloads. We might have have also made some sales at the free art gallery performance we did.

Anyhow, I'd be interested to know from others what hourly return they get on sales of music and perhaps suggestions of what works for them and what really didn't pay to invest the time.

Steve
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MusicMan11712



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Footnote: Towards the beginning of the year, I did an episode of Organized Sound featuring the music of Magnetic Wind, who sold music on Bandcamp and elsewhere. I believe it was during the show, she decided to offer her music for free (at least the music that she could set the price on). She later extended that for the whole next month (and possibly longer).

I do recall that she received many complaints for that marketing strategy. I am not sure if it was from her fan base or from other musicians or both. I suppose if people pay for music then an artist makes it free, some fans could be upset. I can also seeing fellow musicians as part of a support network being upset by making the music free.

Anyone here have experience (or thoughts about) going from music-for-a-fee to music-for-free or vice versa?

Steve
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robsol
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

MusicMan11712 wrote:
Anyhow, I'd be interested to know from others what hourly return they get on sales of music and perhaps suggestions of what works for them and what really didn't pay to invest the time.


I suppose you didn't see this then?

http://mashable.com/2010/04/15/music-artists-earn-online-infographic/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Mashable+%28Mashable%29

How much you have to sell to earn a minimum wage... in 2010.

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robsol
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

... and to put my 2 pennies in...

I'm inclined to think "Just be inspired and do what it takes to express yourself." If promotion and sales is part of that expression, that is fine - but what would you do if you had 6 months left to live? What if everything was taken away from you and you had only pocket money to spend on an instrument?

The way society and "markets" value things are not always that rational. Looking at the stashes of cash paid for old painted artworks I wonder why people won't pay a bit more for a poem... ?

Come to think of it, how much did Van Gogh get paid?

If you really want to make a living out of music, there are ways. If you can't stop yourself from playing and composing then all this won't matter anyway. You will find a way, paid or not.

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shanemorris
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Lots of good points have been made in this discussion so Ill try not to repeat them .
One thing to point out is instrumental music is never as popular as vocal music, and experimental instrumental music is even less popular than that. Given most of us are experiencing a global economic recession, it is only logical to conclude there is not going to be a lot of money circulating for artists like us. Arts and entertainment are the first to go during hard times.

Allowing people to listen to your music before purchasing is absolutely crucial imo. Unlike most other products sold on the market, people want to already be familiar with the music they want to purchase, before they spend money on it. Radio did this for decades. People didn't usually buy an album until they had identified and enjoyed a song or two by the artist, often played over and over on the radio.

Bandcamp has a good article about this: http://newmusicstrategies.com/2008/04/03/should-i-be-worried-about-piracy/
Also, Bandcamp offers "Name your Price" that I think is a great option for artists and listeners alike. I just recently started with Bandcamp to sell some music there, and also release some for the Name your Price option specifically.

As far as the idea that artist should be paid for their time because they put a lot of work into it... I think that just doesn't hold water. In an ideal world we would all get paid fairly for the time we work, but that often is never the case. In the realm of music, it is irrelevant from the listener's point of view if you have spent a lot of time making an album... the bottom line... is this good music, and do I like this music? Just as a farmer may spend months prepping and planting his fields, but if the weather doesn't cooperate, his time is wasted and no one pays him.

I love making music and creating sounds. I make much more music than I could realistically release to sell and market, etc. Thus it makes perfect sense to me to release this music on creative commons licenses. These free releases will help you tremendously when you want to sell music. Building an audience first is a good approach to selling your music and creative commons is great way to do that.
Since there is now an ocean, or multiple oceans, of free music via creative commons, I feel its best for myself to limit, what is in my opinion, my very best work for releasing to sell, knowing there is tons and tons of free stuff and that people aren't just giving up the cash easily for ambient music these days.

I am now signed on a couple labels, release music to sell independently, and also for free through creative commons. I am a BMI registered artist and receive royalty checks every 6 months. With that said, I never plan to make a lot of money. The money is a nice bonus in my view, and will mostly go to invest more into my passion...making more music. My main goals with releasing my music is to explore the creative elements in my essence, share it with as many people as possible, collaborate with other artists, and meet new people interested in the things I am into. If I wanted to make more money playing music, I would need to return to the types of music that actually makes money such as rock, jazz, cover bands, weddings, pick-up slots, etc. I did that for many years and I have to say that music is much more fun for me without the strains of money and to pursue my own ideas, compositions, and soundscapes without the bummer that Im not making money for it. Also, like Jez said earlier, I think selling your music at live gigs is a great time to try to sell and make a little money. People are much more apt to buy from you after live performances.

Another option to make money with music is offering/doing music services. Live sound, Studio sound, recording your instrumentation for others records, blogging or writing, film scoring, etc. One thing I had been doing until our little baby came along was recording and compiling a loop set of the ethnic instruments I play, specifically percussions. I hope to finish this project in the future and sell some loop sets independently, likely on my bandcamp page, for a very reasonable price.

Here is another link. I do not like NIN personally, but Trent Reznor often offers good advice for independent musicians
http://www.newmediacampaigns.com/page/how-trent-reznors-new-media-tips-for-musicians-apply-to-your-organization

End of Line Twisted Evil

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gustavojobim



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

those are the eternal questions.

I think bandcamp has been a fair compromise.

music for free devaluates the music. I agree. there are countless netlabels and independent artists making their works easily downloadable for free. that's not a good thing. we spend money and time (and time is money). but shane has a good point in the paragraph beginning with "As far as the idea that artist should be paid for their time because they put a lot of work into it... I think that just doesn't hold water." yes, people indeed don't really care.

but there are indeed exceptions among listeners. these are the people who will send you feedback, will support you buying a download or CDR, etc. and they are the ones that make this endeavour worthwhile.

I have been lucky to have my debut album released as a CD. but that was in 2003 in Brazil. CD as a media was already on the decline. nowadays that's impossible.

sometimes I release a free download album. I choose that format for collaborative projects. I think it's a nice way to engage in creative exchange and at the same time, not worry about money (as little as it might have been). I even have had the bless of conrad schnitzler's participation in a 2008 collective collaborative release!

so artistic collaborations are free downloads; for solo works I ask a small minimum price, but listening is still free. most supporters have paid more than the minimum, confirming what bandcamp says. I try to make available an average of 50-50% of solo and collaborations.

the only problem with bandcamp is that the entire album is a free stream. if you want to make only a part of it a free stream, then you have to pay a "gold member" price. or you have to hide the not free tracks and put them as bonus files (the space for that is limited though).

I also have assembled a few special editions in CDR (always including a download code). I try to make them as elaborate as I can with my limited skills and resources. that's a way of making a special and personal product for the select few supporters. my latest album is a download but also a limited edition (7 copies) CDR. each copy comes with a hand painted variation of the original cover. pictures of this edition are at my homepage, www.gustavojobim.com . recently I sent from Brazil to Germany a wooden box with hand painted lid containing 4 albums in CDR and printed artwork. the music fan was happy with the result.

I hope I'll eventually build a catalogue that will enable me to at least pay for website maintenance...

so this has been my experience so far.
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Patchmouse



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

shanemorris wrote:


Another option to make money with music is offering/doing music services. Live sound, Studio sound, recording your instrumentation for others records, blogging or writing, film scoring, etc.


I'd love to do these things, but realistically I know that for me anyway, a lot of these aren't possible, I used to have a small "proper" studio here, a live room and control room, and a small number of people used to come here to record, but that's completely stopped now, as those people are doing it themselves, at home, with a lap-top, also, the number of studios that have closed down here in London in the last few years is amazing, again, because of the computer revolution.
I'd love to work with other people, but my skills are limited as a musician, I'm more of a technician, although I am trying to put together a live jazz orientated piano set, and improve my skills generally in that direction. My deepest interest is in using electronics to make music, and I'm always on the look out for others to collaborate with, so if anyone is in the London area and wants to get in touch please let me know ! As for film music, I get the impression that it's a closed shop, unless you are lucky enough to know someone in the business.
But in the meantime I'm concerned with playing live, and getting back out on the scene, so I'm frantically practicing piano !

Patchmouse.
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shanemorris
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Another option to make money through music would be building and selling diy synths or music software.

For film music, in the US, all the major films are taken by the big guns and the corporate world... But, each state here has small film festivals. This is a good place to start for film music scoring. Filmmakers, production people, and actors all converge on these events and it makes a great place to approach these people for potential work scoring. I have a friend here that makes a significant supplement to his income scoring a couple films each year.

Patchmouse wrote:
shanemorris wrote:


Another option to make money with music is offering/doing music services. Live sound, Studio sound, recording your instrumentation for others records, blogging or writing, film scoring, etc.


I'd love to do these things, but realistically I know that for me anyway, a lot of these aren't possible, I used to have a small "proper" studio here, a live room and control room, and a small number of people used to come here to record, but that's completely stopped now, as those people are doing it themselves, at home, with a lap-top, also, the number of studios that have closed down here in London in the last few years is amazing, again, because of the computer revolution.
I'd love to work with other people, but my skills are limited as a musician, I'm more of a technician, although I am trying to put together a live jazz orientated piano set, and improve my skills generally in that direction. My deepest interest is in using electronics to make music, and I'm always on the look out for others to collaborate with, so if anyone is in the London area and wants to get in touch please let me know ! As for film music, I get the impression that it's a closed shop, unless you are lucky enough to know someone in the business.
But in the meantime I'm concerned with playing live, and getting back out on the scene, so I'm frantically practicing piano !

Patchmouse.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I disagree that giving music away for free de-values it

The value of a thing should not only measured by its cost

The best things in life are free after all Wink

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

sharing my music for me does not imply giving it away.

and music is my hobby not my daily work for which i do need to get paid.
if it were my work i would need to make a business plan, produce a product to satisfy a demand etc.

i enjoy making music and if someone choses to be stimulated by it and leaves a comment i am happy.

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