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Would you pay to download mp3's from an indepedent band?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Benjamin Strange, Nov 7, 2003.

  1. Yes, I would cough up 50 cents.

    10 vote(s)
  2. No way! I'm cheap.

    4 vote(s)
  3. I won't buy it, but I would donate a little bit of money if I really, really like it.

    3 vote(s)
  4. I only support artists who write songs about carrots.

    2 vote(s)
  1. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Since Apple iTunes isn't accepting independent releases, my band has been toying with the idea of a pay for downloads straight off our site. (we figured if iTunes has gotten over 1 million dowloads, we could get about half that). We would have a short clip, and then you could choose to pay 50 cents to download each song, which would go straight into our Paypal account. Many people have told me that they wouldn't pay for a download like this. What do you guys think?

    I've been thinking that if it doesn't work, we would move to a donation system instead. If you like the songs, send us a little money via Paypal or something. Not a requirement, but it would be nice, like a tip. Comments?

    (There will be "real" music on the site, not just the weird crap we have on there now. We won't charge 50 cents for whale noises.)
  2. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I'm not a fan of the idea of paying for downloads of individual songs, period. I'd much rather buy the album. Can you do this at no cost to you? If so, what could it hurt?
  3. mattzink


    Jun 21, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    i think it is a great idea for independent bands to do downloads directly from a website. it makes good fiscal sense, it give the artist more creative control, it gives them more financial control. i'm all for independenct bands doing stuff without the label. the only drawback is the marketing $$$ that labels have. any plan that forces the record companies (i should say the major record labels) to treat their artists better is okay with me. any plan that gets the money directly to the artist is also okay with me. did you know there is a small group of lawyers who makes a hefty fee on combing through bands' record contracts? they end up collecting fees for the band that add up to huge sums. usually the contracts are so. . . weird that the artists are oblivious to all the money they're getting bilked on.

    ps. to the guy started this thread: would you post a link to your website when you do this? i'd love to check it out.
  4. mattzink


    Jun 21, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    yeah, i don't do a lot of downloading either (although i used to). i like the idea of just buying the cd to support the band. but if the label is not an independent label, i only buy the record if i feel like i can't live without it - does this make sense?

    but yeah, smash, i think the idea is to support independent or local musicians.
  5. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    The reason that I would not purchase downloaded MP3's is that they sound so awful. I would not pay for an inferior music storage medium.

    If you could download CD quality songs, that is a different story, then you could burn your own CD's to listen in the car etc. My 2 cents.
  6. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Good news: Here's a response from someone who is somewhere near your "target market" -- I'm a regular and devoted iTunes junkie.

    Bad news: I probably wouldn't pay at your site unless I was just wetting myself over your music. Reason - iTunes is easy, comfortable, and all it takes is one click. I just am not likely to want to whip out the credit card and go through a checkout routine over 50¢... sorry, just the truth.

  7. mattzink


    Jun 21, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    i just thought of a couple of potential drawbacks:
    may be difficult for people who're new to things like pay pal

    we all believe in free speech, but will your band get their proverbial butts in a sling if a song is downloaded by a kid whose mom objects to your music?

    maybe you've already thought of these things - i'd love to hear ideas on such issues. the idea of a pay download site operated by the band is intriguing.
  8. mp3's are cd quality if encoded correctly.

    I wouldn't pay for it. Just put out a cd and let people order it. Put a couple songs from the cd up on the site for download. Very few independent artists even try to make a profit selling recordings unless they're capable of recording for free. Playing live is where you'll make a little dough here and there.
  9. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
  10. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    Well ole Jason, I gots to diagree with ya on the statement that MP3's are CD quality if recorded correctly.

    Mp3 files are anywhere from 92 Kbps to 128 Kbps usually for encoding. At the lower bit rates there is even less information than Dolby AC3 "dolby digital" used in DVD's.

    Red book CD is 1.41 Mbps bit rate.

    Mp3's are not a "lossless" compression medium. That means that they are throwing away massive amounts of data (the 1's and 0's that make up the digital words) in order to compress the music files down to useable size for quick downloading.

    The ruse of claimed "CD quality" comes from basic frequency response measurements which say that mp3 bit rates of 128kbps are approaching full frequency response.

    That doesn't mean that you get the dynamics, soundstaging, detail, depth, and warmth of the original CD music.

    Mp3's may sound OK on a computer speaker system or with your Ipod but just play them on a decent stereo system and you'll be shocked at how bleached, sterile and unmusical they sound.

    Sometimes I don't get it. Vinyl records are having a renaissance because people say they sound better than CD's. At the same time we have this massive interest in downloadable mp3 music which sounds vastly WORSE than CD. Just my $.02.
  11. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    I kind of like the idea (even though I do download a lot of my music for free). Maybe you could make the cost of downloading the entire song a better deal than downloading just a piece of the same song. You know, the more you download, the cheaper it would be (charge something like $1.00 to download 30 seconds worth of a song, but only charge $2.00 for the whole song). Just a thought.

    Oh, here's another idea: Make 12 songs available. Make one or two of them available for free (both songs, in their entirety) and then charge them a certain amount for the remaining 10 songs.

    Good luck.

    EDIT: Even if one person pays to download your entire album, it would then be available to anyone and everyone that wants it, if he's using programs like WinMX and Kazaa. Maybe you are better off offering short samples of your stuff and then charging interested parties for an actual CD or cassette.
  12. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    for what it's worth, Apple uses AAC audio compression on the iTMS, not .mp3

    in MY personal A/B comparisons, 128 AAC sounded a lot better than 160 and 192 kbps .mp3, in relation to the CD they came from.

    The thing is, with compression, through crappy speakers, 128 kbps .mp3 will sound not much different than a CD. But when you start listening out of really nice hi-fi speakers, and/or headphones. The differences will start to become a lot more noticeable.

    Ultimately, digital computer based media is the future, CDs and other removable mediums are slowly phasing out. When I buy new CDs, they become paper weights almost insantly, I don't care to carry around CD cases full of CDs(*looks over at roommates 5 CD cases and 2 notebook cases*)

    Compression will never sound exactly like the CD, but there are many 'lossless' solutions out there, that are so similar, even the most audiophile audiophile would barely be able to tell the difference.

    Basstriaxis, I heard a rumor that apple is in devlopment of software for independent bands to enable them to upload and sell songs on iTMS, I think there will be a fee involved, but it would be worth it, as iTMS controls 80% the legal downloads market with 17 million downloaded songs.

    this is just a rumor of course, so don't get too excited, but it seems like a logical next step for iTMS.

    Also, they are constantly adding more independant labels...they have about 200 so far, if your band got signed on an indie label, you could likely find yourself heading for the iTMS.
  13. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    iTMS purchases are copy protected, 3 computers, 10 CD burns, unlimited iPods.

    I think there are dev tools out there to give your music DRM restrictions, but I'm not sure.

    see my other post, that rumor I mentioned, included tools to do this if I remember correctly.
  14. 192kbps is pretty much the standard for mp3's nowadays unless you're streaming stuff. But yeah, there are plenty of lossless formats out there that are much smaller than uncompressed wav's.
  15. Same with me!

  16. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    I'll clear up something since BTA's not around at the moment. He and his bandmates all live in different cities, so live performance is not possible. This is a big problem for an indie band, as I'm sure they all know. Typically live performance is where indie bands do their most business.

    Personally, I'd much rather buy a cd than pay to download one. I have dialup, and, although I download a lot of stuff, I don't ever download entire albums. I like the physical medium of the cd. Maybe I'm unusual in that respect. I also really like the physical medium of vinyl. I don't know what your financial situation is, Benjamin, but my brother's band has a cd, and they have much less interesting stuff to say, and they're all pretty poor. Maybe you could contact the guys in Lusk - they're doing the internet thing as well.

    Anyway, my vote is for a cd. If you spent half the money you spend on obscure boutique pedals, on recording, I think you'd be set. ;)
  17. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    No, I agree with you Conical. I enjoy having the case/cover art, ect. with my music. I guess I see myself as a "collector" of music also. Even if I have a CD-R of music, I either download the original art, or make my own if it's a compliation/mix CD I'm burning.

    I download stuff off of Mp3.com once in a while. The problem is, there is A LOT of garbage you have to wade through to get to the good stuff on there.

    Personally, I commend www.cdbaby.com for having great independent artist and selling their CDs at great prices.
  18. Justin V

    Justin V

    Dec 27, 2000
    Alameda, CA
    As another iTunes junkie, I personally LOVE being able to download music from the music store. The audio quality is great. I've A/B'd the AAC file I downloaded with my friend's CD copy of the same recording on pretty high quality stereo and couldn't tell the difference. Besides, every CD I buy gets imported into my iTunes folder anyway and the CD gets filed into my big binder-case-thingy.

    As for independent artsists doing the pay-for-download thing. I'd deffinately buy it if the music was good. CDbaby's great and all, but it takes ages for things to get shipped to this area, so I would MUCH prefer to download the music.
  19. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    We posted some songs on there, free of charge for now. We are asking for donations, and we will probably either sell CDs with more content or offer mp4's for paid download.

    Gimme some money!