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Singer Songwriter Tom Fox Offers Legal Free MP3 Downloads
Guitarist, singer and songwriter Tom Fox is one of a small but growing group of artists giving away music for free rather than charging or having fans fined for stealing it. On his Web site at foxtunes.com, Tom has made CDs of free music downloads available, including songs from "Midnight Rain" (which was nominated for two independent music awards) and "Slowly" (which garnered radio spins on both sides of the Atlantic).
When asked about the wisdom of giving his music away for nothing, Tom replied, "Many musicians are so afraid of losing out on a 99 cent iTunes sale that they forget that giving away music free and legally has promotional value.”
“Offering free MP3s can accelerate the growth of your online listener base, which ultimately can generate exposure in the form of gig offers, Internet and satellite/terrestrial radio play (generating royalties) and traffic to your site," he said.
So instead of giving music away, it’s really more a long-term investment in listeners and the music. There's never been a wiser time to get your MP3s legally. We live in a climate where illegal MP3 sharing can bring you sharply into focus on the RIAA's radar and can cost you an arm, leg and your house at $750 per infringed song. Just ask Jammie Thomas, a single mother of two who was found liable in 2007 for 24 acts of infringement and ordered to pay $222,000 in damages.
Giving music away free is a proven way of doing business online. Tom reminds fellow musicians that Web traffic has value in of itself. It can be monetized by affiliate programs and contextual advertising. Existing models like the Ruckus network, a free ad-supported U.S. music service available to college students, and the Internet record label Magnatunes, which encourages buyers to copy any album and give it away free to as many as three friends, are evidence it can also be done with music. “They are the way forward,” said Tom.
When asked what he thought about Tom giving away free music downloads, New York attorney Ray Beckerman of the Recording Industry Vs. The People blog said, "Artists can and should make their music directly available; they will make a better living, and their fans will get better value.”
“As to whether it should be disseminated for free,” he continued, “I'm no marketing expert, but it seems to me that one has only to look at the record companies to learn what they have always known all too well, which is that one of the best ways of marketing music is to offer at least some of it for free, to expose people to what you are doing, and to generate word of mouth. And many of the people who hear something the first time for free will become customers for life.”
About Tom Fox
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