The long tail and free music

As we’re pulling together the new Texas Gigs/Pegasus News music site, we’ve been seeking file uploads/permissions to run music from local bands.

Most bands are jumping on the opportunity to have their music streamed in our radio stations and downloadable by our users. However, some have the traditional trepidation about giving away a song or three for free, fearing lost CD sales.

Today, Chris Anderson points to a Harvard Study that quantifies what anecdotal evidence has long suggested: Unless you’re a top-selling superstar today (we know you’ll get there eventually), you’re better off to put your music out there for free.

The study even provides a nice benchmark: Unless you sold more than 3,000 copies of your last CD, protecting your music from file-swapping is likely to depress your sales.

(For newcomers to our site, here’s the beginning of our Long Tail discussion — particularly relevant for indie bands.)

Mike Orren is the Chief Product Officer of The Dallas Morning News; President of Belo Business Intelligence; husband to Crystal Orren; and a Mungarian at Munger Place Church in Dallas, TX. All opinions herein are mine alone.