Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros

July 27, 2006

Trusting Your Music Fans to Support You

Here's an uplifting email I just received in response to an ezine issue and blog post a few days ago ...

Hi Bob,

I just wanted to say THANK YOU for publishing the "How to 'Fix' the Music Industry" article. I have been enjoying your newsletter for years, but this article really hit home.

After five years in the San Francisco Bay Area scene, my band got tired of charging $20 for CDs, seeing kids walk away not having enough for merch, and other bands complaining about low turnout and how the scene needs to change.

A year ago, my band started operating on a "donation-based" approach to all merch and CDs, as well as releasing all of our music online for free. Ever since adopting this new approach, we've seen our income increase triple-fold and show attendance is up.

More kids know our material, sing along, have fun and buy ... and many times, where we would normally charge $10 for a CD, we'll get $20 for a CD and sticker ... all for giving the person a choice.

I just wanted to thank you for believing in "being the change" rather than just complaining and trying to force change around you.

We are operating in our own little bubble, and regardless of whether it continues to work or not, this is the utopian way that we think the music industry should be. It's controversial ... but liberating!

Thanks for supporting that way of thinking. It was certainly a GREAT read!



This reminds me of how a number of church events and spiritual workshops allow anyone to attend ... and then ask for a "love offering." Money comes in, but it's based on what each person feels it's worth and what they can afford to pay. Surprisingly, many audience members don't automatically take the cheap way out.

Could you apply this concept to your music events and products?


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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:03 AM   2 comments


At Aug 14, 2006, 12:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

I once looked into the possibility of offering our band's CDs for a "donation" of any amount, but when I checked with the Ministry of Finance I was told this is against the law (in Canada, at least), as a vendor (band, solo artist), if he/she is selling a product, is, by law, required in Canada to charge Provincial Sales Tax, which is 7% of the cost of the item. The Provinces in Canada do not allow for musicians to offer their CDs for donations. I don't know about the USA but I would think it would be the same thing. It's a technical point, but an important one, especially if an artist starts to generate a significant amount of $$$$ and is not remiting provincial/state/federal sales tax.

Keep up the good work!

Pete Mason
Theatrical Rock with a Spiritual Twist

At Aug 16, 2006, 11:40:00 PM, Anonymous Tania Rose said...

Just in reference to Pete's legal comment, technically it's not a "donation" as the customer in merely choosing the cost of the CD, so as long as you didn't mention the word "donation", but perhaps have a sign saying "Choose your own price", then you should be ok. Just tally up at the end of the gig, and deduct your tax, and there you have it. Selling your music on Ebay is the same, if you sell it by auction.

smiles to you,

Tania Rose
Soundtracks for LIFE!


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