Why free mp3 samples work

I just stumbled against a band called Art in Manila, for whom their label give away 2 free mp3 samples. I heard the songs, I liked what I heard, and went to iTunes to check the rest of their songs. I liked 4 more of their songs via the iTunes preview, which I purchased. Looking around for more info, I found that Orenda Fink is their singer. I checked her 2 free promotional mp3 songs, and I also liked what I heard. So I ended up purchasing one additional song from the singer’s solo album (“Blind Asylum”). Snooping a bit more, I am now looking at the O+S band, which is the singer’s latest project and they also have 2 free songs. If I like what I hear again, I will be buying once more tonight.

Moral of the story: 1-2 free mp3 samples (e.g. your 4rd or 5th best song) of your album should be given away for promotional reasons (and make absolutely sure you have tagged them correctly). However, this will only work if your songs are actually good. If you only have 1-2 good songs in the whole album, then you should get another job anyway.

Update: Bought a song from O+S too just now (“Lonely Ghosts”).


Soundtweaker wrote on June 16th, 2009 at 2:27 PM PST:

“Good” doesnt really say much. It’s a matter of opinion.
What one person thinks is good, another might think it’s crap. Whats your idea of a good song?

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on June 16th, 2009 at 2:32 PM PST:

For this kind of promotion, the song must be somewhat commercial, but mostly catchy. In a way that the melody can be grasped with a single listen. Trust me, there are people (usually working for big labels) who can quantify these values and make the right selection of what needs to be released as a single, and what needs to be given away for free. Paying for these people to take the decision for you makes more sense than paying for management, when you are still a small indie.

blover wrote on June 16th, 2009 at 9:12 PM PST:

or you can find music from a social website instead.

Try http://www.thesixtyone.com
if you haven’t already. It’s a million times better methodology i’m sorry to say.

Indies trying to make moneys on itunes are pretty stupid anyways, wouldn’t you agree?

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on June 16th, 2009 at 9:32 PM PST:

Sorry, but I don’t have time for this though. I don’t stream online, especially since the Comcast bandwidth caps. I used to stream di.fm, I don’t do that anymore either. Not my style.

blover wrote on June 17th, 2009 at 9:05 AM PST:

we’re in a new era where the people can decide what’s good not radio stations or mtv or industry.

You don’t have to pay for music in order to decide what’s cool, that’s a bad way of doing things.

These bands don’t make a dime off those purchases, they don’t care.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on June 17th, 2009 at 9:28 AM PST:

Nobody said anything about the people not deciding. What I said is that I don’t like streaming, primarily because of Comcast.

Also, I am not against paying for music. If someone creates good music, he should be compensated.

BourneShell wrote on June 18th, 2009 at 11:37 AM PST:

I just wished the whole world moved to FLAC instead of MP3. I don’t think lossy music is worth the money. Not that I can hear a difference, but since a whole album is usually the same price as physical CD it would be nice to get lossless plus hi-def scans.

Now, on the a-ha new album…

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on June 18th, 2009 at 11:48 AM PST:

Sorry, but you are either an elitist, or you are kidding yourself. Read the test here. If you use 256 kbps AAC (e.g. iTunes), or 256 kbps VBR mp3 (e.g. Amazon) and you are using “normal” equipment to listen to music (and not super expensive pro equipment), your human ears CAN NOT pick differences between uncompressed and compressed music.

In other words, the sweet spot for most people’s ears is 256 kbps.

If you can actually hear the difference in your $10-$100 headphones, then you are probably not human.

Soundtweaker wrote on June 18th, 2009 at 10:32 PM PST:

I can tell a very very slight difference between 192 and 320 mp3s. But this is only on high end pro studio monitors. Havent compared anything with AAC.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on June 18th, 2009 at 10:39 PM PST:

AAC is better at the same bitrate, since it’s mpeg4, and mp3 is actually mpeg2. According to the test, AAC at 256 kbps, and mp3 at 256-VBR kbps are almost identical and most people won’t tell them apart. You probably wont’ be able to tell the difference between such files and 320 kbps ones.

BourneShell wrote on June 24th, 2009 at 10:59 AM PST:

Lossy music is impressive, indeed… AAC & MP3 reached stability and are refined. However lossless music retains the whole data of a CD, which makes me happier that it’s all there. Lossless is convenient and big disks are affordable now. The problem with lossy codecs are killer samples. Usually LAME -V2 will be excellent for music, but with classical records one can easily pick up artifacts on trumpets even at 320kbps CBR. AAC & OGG perform better but there is an specific weakness for each lossy codec.

Now, I need to wait for the Oasis vinyl catalogue released next month… hopefully it won’t be deafening loudness race as their CDs usually are.

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