Music Biz: Should You Give Your Music Away For Free?


Hello Everyone and welcome to my first 'Music Biz' column. Here I will be discussing various issues that are faced by musicians and offer my tips and advice on how to not only 'survive' the music industry but how to get the most out of your band and the opportunities that come your way. Whether you are just starting your first band or have been in the game for a while, I hope you can get something positive out of this and invite you to discuss your opinions in the comments section. Today I will be covering the touch topic of "Should You Give Your Music Away For Free?" a question that is going to be answered differently depending on what you are trying to get out of your music. Personally I believe that if your main goal is to make money out of music then giving it away for free is the worst thing you can do. If you have just spent thousands of dollars and hours and hours of effort making something then you should respect the value of your final product and sell it at a price you deem fair. Nothing devalues a product more than giving it away for free and although you may think it is great promotion, no one will respect its worth. I can't tell you how many times I have seen a really great performance by a local band and been inspired enough to purchase their CD. Often there will be another band that I wasn't impressed by who are giving away cds at the merch desk so I’ve grabbed a copy anyway "because it was free"... First thing I do when I get in the car is chuck on the CD that I paid for while the free cd gets dropped into the glovebox where it lives or the next eight months until I clean my car out and decide to just throw it away because after all it was free so what am I loosing? If you've just pressed and given away 100 CD's and most of them have seen a similar fate then you have wasted a lot of money and effort. If your music is good and your live show wins people over they will pay for your CD instead of taking a free disc from a band they didn't like.

Never give something for nothing, your music is valuable. There are ways you can make your music appear ‘free’ that can still generate sales and/or exposure for you. One of the most valuable is offering a 'free' download in exchange for an email address. (Check out an example of this here) Here you have traded your music for valuable contact info and although you are not making a sale you now have a direct line of contact with a new fan of your music which can be used to send them all kinds of information and promotional material. By trading your songs for contact details you can grow a database of fans, keeping them up to date and in the loop which will hopefully convert to long term sales.

When you're first starting out getting noticed is extremely hard and giving your music away for free may seem like a good quick way to get attention. From my experience unless people know who you are or are familiar with your band they won't give you a look in. Quick example. How many Facebook posts or tweets saying “hey man check out my band's new album click here for a free download” have you clicked on? Unless it’s a good friend or a band you already like then you've probably ignored all of them. People want music for many reasons but "because it’s free" isn’t one of them. Nobody cares about free music from a band they have never heard of. Spend some time building up a fanbase and make your music easy to access for the people that do like you but arn't yet committed to buying, this is where streaming comes in.

Streaming is when people can listen to your music but can’t store the file on their computer. Examples of this include YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, SoundCloud etc. Some streaming services such as Bandcamp & SoundCloud are of great use to artists while others like Spotify & Rhapsody are more focused on consumers. I suggest that rather than give your music away for free, allow it to be streamed and accompany all media with links to purchase the music. (example here) This not only allows everybody easy access to your music but offers them the important opportunity to buy it. If your music is good and fans enjoy it then they will want to support you so don’t overlook the importance of providing a link to your webstore. There are many websites created to assist artists with Bandcamp being one of the most valuable because it acts as both an online store and a streaming service, allowing fans to listen for free whilst displaying where to buy it. If you’re just starting out and don’t have your own website then definitely get this in the meantime.

Other streaming services like Spotify, Rdio and Rhapsody are essentially online radio services and are good in the way that they allow millions of people access to your music as well as social features that allow users to share and recommend music to their friends. The downside is that you see almost little financial return and face the same problem of not standing out from the thousands of other bands who also have their music available. When using these services it is best to research what each can do for you and find what suits your trying to achieve.

Lastly a mistake that I have noticed many bands do is give an older EP's away for free once a new CD is released. I have seen several bands announce that they have a new CD out and that the leftover copies of their old EP will be a giveaway only to see everyone run and grab the free disc at the merch stand and leave without paying for the new more important disc. Let me say again that your music has value and anything that can enhance the perceived value of your product is going to help you sell more CD's. Many of the bands were happy to giveaway the old EP but overlooked the idea of using it to enhance the value of their new product. Why not make it so that every purchase of the new album gets the old EP free? You're still giving it away but punters now see it as getting two CD's for the price of one and they perceive it as a better deal, Supermarkets do this all the time.

In closing, my point of view is that If people like the product you are selling then they will pay for it. Giving it away for free not only impacts how people perceive the value of the item but also takes away the opportunity for genuine fans to purchase your music and give back something for the product you put your heart and soul into. Even if you are not concerned with making money, trading your music for information that can help you expand your fanbase and further your career is a much better option and will ensure you have more genuine fans to appreciate you.

I hope you have enjoyed my article and taken something away from my thoughts on this topic. Please share your own advice and experiences in the comments section below.

Cheers Gummas

Gumley's Corner - An introduction to my regular features


Hello everyone and welcome to the new Hybrid Nightmares' website. We're going to have a new focus on connecting with our fans and engaging through articles, discussions and by posting whatever we find interesting and relevant to our local metal scene.  I have plenty of great ideas for our new blog style website and want to introduce some of my regular features which I will update on a weekly basis.


hornsGumley's Top Five: this one is pretty straight forward, I put together a list of my five favorite things, explain why I think they deserve their spot and invite you all to join in an open discussion on whether or not you agree.

riffworksRiffworks: each week I will be showing you how to play a new Hybrid Nightmares riff on the guitar. It will feature both Hybrid Nightmare's classics and new riffs from our upcoming release. I plan to expand this to full song play throughs and technique lessons.

radarOn The Radar: one of the most important things about being in a band is going to other people's shows and supporting your local scene. I will be posting  live show + album reviews, live shots, interviewing band members and keeping you informed on who is kicking arse and worth checking out.

music-industryIndustry Advice: A feature for bands and aspiring musicians. There is no set road to success in the music industry rather each band needs to find the path that best suits their own unique journey. I'm here to offer my advice (learned the hard way through dealings with both Hybrid Nightmares and Brimstone Bookings as well as what I picked up when studying my music degree) and tips on what to avoid, what to try out, what can be done better, as well as reflecting upon and posting helpful articles I have found on the net or in my time studying music business

Heavy-Metal-Wallpaper-metal-21000460-1280-720Defender of the Faith Each week I am going to pick out one fan from our Facebook, Twitter or Mailing List and, conduct a short interview and give them a spotlight on our website.

that's all from me for today and I look forward to writing some articles for all of you to read. If you have any ideas for other features please let me know in the comment section Cheers




Gumley's Top 5 - Greatest Metal Songs of all Time


Hello everybody and welcome to the new Hybrid Nightmares website. We are going to be interacting with our fans a lot more and through this blog hope to offer you a greater connection and deeper insight as to who we are and  what we are all about. This is my first article and to kick it off I have decided to talk about the songs I believed the top five greatest heavy metal tracks of all time. The songs I chose were all very important to me in my teenagers years, a time when I first found metal and knew it would be a lifelong journey for me. The songs I'm presenting today are heavy metal classics that I believe are standard listening for every metal head. I can already hear a lot of the elitists complaining about how popular & mainstream my list is but that is the reason that I have chosen them. They have all had a hand in shaping the history of heavy metal and stir something in the heart of every metal head. 1. Hallowed Be Thy Name- Iron Maiden

Clocking in at just over seven minutes, everything about this song is epic. The track begins with a haunting clean intro and the tolling of a bell before kicking into high gear and assaulting you with riff after tasty riff of guitar goodness. Bruce Dickinson delivers a world-class vocal performance singing an epic tale of a man who reflects on his life of crime and the uncertainty of what lies beyond death in his final hours before execution. You’re treated to an epic duelling guitar solo and a final harmonised maiden riff before presenting a truly magical anthemic chorus chanting “hallowed be thy name” A true classic for any metal fan.

2. Master of Puppets - Metallica

Metallica's choice to pursue a more commercial musical direction in recent years has seen them lose favour with many a true metal head but despite what they are doing here and now it would be truly wrong to deny what a huge influence that they had in shaping the genre of heavy metal and the respect they deserve because of it. Choosing a Metallica track for this list was extremely hard as they have so many great tracks from the early albums but I  picked master of puppets as I believe it set a benchmark for heavy metal when it was first released in 1986 and continues to be a benchmark to this day. Just like Hallowed be thy name, Puppets is driven by a collection of riffs that are extremely technical and were groundbreaking at the time of release. The true aggression of heavy metal is channelled into the guitar and drums which are ensured to get your foot tapping and your head banging. Hetfield's clever lyrics explore what it is like to be addicted to cocaine and other substances that become the puppet masters of dependant junkies. Not only are the lyrics extremely well written but the chorus is also extremely catchy, uniting all to sing along and partake. The middle of the song transitions to a clean section presenting a catchy melodic guitar solo before building into a furious climax of shredding guitar solo and more driving riffs that only build in momentum as the song pushes towards the final chorus.

3. Holy Diver - Dio

I have no idea what a holy diver is nor what the hell Dio is singing about but I do know that this is the song sounds so good that I don’t care. The best way to describe this song is 'simple yet effective’. It takes a classic hard rock riff with some punchy drums coupled with a slowed down horse gallop rhythm guaranteed to have your head bopping along. Dio’s golden voice sings absolute nonsense but to extremely melodic and catching vocal patterns. There is a repeating refrain and a killer guitar solo in the middle before we return to the classic riff and Dio’s shouts of 'holy diver’ until to fade out.

4. Cemetery Gates - Pantera

Just like Metallica, a Pantera song was an extremely hard choice because they have so many that have had a lasting influence on the genre. This song not only has the classic Pantera aggression but also features softer melodic sections that create great contrast and give stronger emphasis to the hate being portrayed in the high energy sections. The song is just extremely well written both musically and lyrically and ends with one of the most memorable power screams in all of all heavy metal.

5. Angel of death- Slayer


What better represents the hatred, anger and ruthless aggression that is heavy metal better than Slayer’s Angel of Death?

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you look forward to some of my future articles. All of our fans are welcome to create an account and join in the discussion.

Cheers Gummas

Do you agree or disagree with my top five? are any similar to your choices? please create an account and join in the discussion.