At minimum, put up the verse/chorus from the three best tracks on your CD.
If you cover a lot of "genres" or one track sounds distinctly different from the rest, be sure the oddball track is up there.
Let's look at some facts:
1. The Major Labels and RIAA (whom you already KNOW to be liars and crooks) keep claiming that downloads are hurting sales. They swamp every media outlet with this "story" all day, every day.
2. Every non-biased study of downloads and sales shows that downloads INCREASE sales. Really. Dig deep into who did the study, and what their agenda was, and you'll find this is true.
3. What's really killing the Majors is YOU the Indie artist -- For the first time in history, Joe Sixpack and Betsy Buick can FIND you, listen to your music, and BUY the CD with minimal effort. (And it's getting easier for them every day)
In Other Words: The Majors are trying (and failing miserably) to make a "land grab" and control the Internet, not because downloads hurt their sales, but because YOU (collectively) are hurting their sales, and they want to suppress you and control the Internet the exact same way they have done business for the past half-century with terrestrial radio. (The fact that their efforts are doomed to failure is irrelevant to their Plan.)
But here's the thing: You're not on Radio. Joe Sixpack and Betsy Buick have been ripped off and sold shoddy music for DECADES. They NEED to hear your stuff before they buy. Give them enough to KNOW they want to OWN that CD.
How much is enough?
Conduct this experiment.
Go looking on the Internet for the kind of music you like.
Keep track of every CD you look at, and how many "full songs" "verse chorus" and "tiny snippet" samples there are for each CD you find.
Evaluate how sure you are that you would be to buy (or not buy) the CD, based on what you've been given -- Not necessarily whether you like it or not, and you don't have to actually BUY the CD, but how comfy would you be making the decision.
Everybody has a different comfort level, but, basically, I'm betting that having at least verse/chorus for three or four songs is MINIMUM.
More than that is even better.
Maybe verse/chorus for EVERY track.
Three or four FULL SONGS is probably ideal.
Sure, it's remotely possible that some luser will A) like your stuff enough to keep listening to those tracks and B) never buy the CD...
But, really, never is a long time. If they like the tracks THAT much, they'll buy the whole CD to get more tracks, and to support you, the starving artist. They know the score.
Think of it this way: If they download your tracks, play them a few times, and then throw them away, what do you care? If they keep playing the tracks, eventually, they WILL buy the CD to get all the tracks.© 2004 Richard Lynch, No Genre
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