Well, I finally did it. I’ve bundled together all the songs I wrote for the 50/90 Songwriting Challenge and released them in a five volume set online through BandCamp. Each volume has ten songs on it and they appear in the order that they were written, warts and all.
I’ve done this for the same reason as putting out the FAWM2017 online release earlier this year… To showcase my latest songs online and to get feedback from others.
At the moment all five volumes (and in fact, all of my online releases on BandCamp) are available for download using the “pay what you want” (PWYW) function meaning you can either download the albums for free (but you need to put in your email address) or pay as much as you want for them, there’s no upper limit.
I’ve had people ask me why I have chosen to go down the PWYW path with my music releases and I think the main reason is that I don’t necessarily feel comfortable with setting some sort of arbitrary value on my music.
Of course, I value greatly the creative and artistic side of the songs I write and the music I compose but I think monetary values and creative/artistic values are two separate things. I would much rather have the public set the value based on the quality of relationship they have with me as an artist/songwriter/musician.
Way back when, I was in awe of Radiohead when they did the same PWYW business model on the release of their 2007 album “In Rainbows.”
The PWYW experiment they undertook was later deemed a success with “… three million in sales, 100,000 disc-boxes shipped and 1.75 million physical CDs sold” according to the Pitchfork article Radiohead’s In Rainbows Successes Revealed.
Plus, according to a LinkedIn article Radiohead Rocks Pay What You Want (A Case Study), the main reason the experiment was a success was that “… it cut out the middleman and increased its profit margin. With traditional sales tactics, Radiohead would have only earned 15% of total sales (or around $2.24/album). By cutting out the middleman, it’s profit margin has dramatically increased as the average album sold.”
Granted, Radiohead are a well established band with a loyal fanbase, global profile and an extensive mailing list, but the handing over the responsibility of setting the monetary value of their output to their fans rather than with themselves really gravitated with me.
I thought, if Radiohead can do it, then I can too.
Now, my sales are nowhere near what Radiohead can muster but my take on my PWYW experiment is that the harder I work at my relationship with YOU, the more you’d be willing to pay for any product I release as a way of supporting what I do.
Which gets me back to the “50/90 2017 (Volumes 1 – 5)” BandCamp release… It’s all up on BandCamp for you to check out now and very soon I’ll have it all up on the Music page on this site (plus on SoundCloud as well).
All I ask is that you have a listen, let me know what you think and if you’re so inclined, pay what you want for the music and enjoy it for what it is… Me giving a piece of myself to you.