In a nutshell Jon summarizes the doors, free music give aways can open for you towards the online community: better possibility of discovery by potential fans, free advertising (if you do not count your own work labour), chance of a viral buzz if the OL community bites into your music.
But all this is rather hypothetical and completely useless if you do not possess quite a fan-base already. Simply giving your music away for free is like throwing fish food into a carp pond, it’s gone. The trick is to create a response, to hook up potential fans, fans and your loyalists as well as to give the OL community a chance to communicate about you/ your music.
The currency of social media is information, the revenue is communication based on information you initiated.
So free music samples must be linked to response in a simple and not annoying sharing system:
Offer free downloads for mail addresses, for tweets for Facebook shadings, and alike. And the best is, there is loads of tools that allow you to do so already:
Bandcamp: This site offers an app that allows you to build your mailing list in exchange for giving away some music of your choice. Bandcamp allows you to choose whether you want to give away an entire album, a collection of songs or even just a single track, all of which can be downloaded for free as long as the person joins your mailing list.
Tweet For A Track: A free and easy service that allows you to not only customize the tweet that will be sent out and can track how many downloads have taken place, but requires the downloader to input an email address as well. Win-Win!
Pay With A Tweet: Similar to Tweet For A Track although it does not require an email address. This service does, however, give you a widget to embed in other places. NOTE: If you do offer this as an option, make sure that the tweet includes your own Twitter tag.
Cash Music: This non-profit organization has created open-source applications for both Facebook and twitter that allow you to offer free music downloads in exchange for telling others about the music. Ironically, Cash Music has made it a requirement that you also share a tweet or wall post on Facebook in order to download the code for the app.
The idea of accepting social currency as payment for your music will give you more opportunity than ever before to grow your brand throughout different avenues of social media. While the mailing list is the ideal option, it is important to offer a few different ways to allow people to pay with social currency, as not everyone will be interested in joining your mailing list.