If you’ve got even the most remote of interests in the UK gospel music scene chances are you’ve seen the strong campaign that Preacher Boy Records is currently undertaking for Timothy ‘E Tizz‘ Grimwade‘s debut album ‘Sound Of My Soul‘ (click picture to download).
Apart from the distinctive branding created by Christophe ‘Design By SPIRIT‘ Pierre (nice one, bro), they’ve also taken the unusual (but not altogether surprising) step of releasing the entire album under a Coldplay-esque ‘pay-what-you-like’ model.
I’m actually going to put the download link on UKGospel.com as well, but seeing as I promised to have this live ages ago, I just thought I’d do the ‘quick mention’ thing here, and run the link and widget on-site.
In an additional, encouraging turn of events, Preacher Boy have just Tweeted (Wednesday 4th November 2009, night time) that the single ‘Never Leave Me‘ has had national radio airplay via US syndicated station Light FM.
Pay What You Want
Anyway, on to the reason for writing this: very interesting model, this pay-what-you-want approach that some people are now adopting…
I think the jury’s still out on exactly how profitable it will be for traditional, mainstream record labels looking to break new acts, so this is (possibly) another good argument for remaining independent.
However it’s a great way to establish that essential staple for an artist (of any sort) looking for the key ingredients of longevity and passionate fans: creating perceived value.
People by their very nature appreciate true quality, and are happy to assign whatever they consider to be a fair value to it.
If you give away your stuff for free, and it’s any good, chances are the same people that got it for nothing will be happy to reimburse you in several ways, including buying your merchandise, attending your concerts and donating to your cause – personal or otherwise (to mention a few options open to you)…
‘If it’s good, they will buy it…’
I know this is an obvious point to make, but people aren’t stupid.
You don’t have to be an artist to know putting out good product costs money, and the higher the perceived value of the product, the more we appreciate it.
This point was also reinforced by the number of ‘wow, I like it so much I’m actually going to pay for it even though I can get it for free‘-style comments I’ve seen around E Tizz’s download links.
And it’s not a one-off. The same thing happened when S.O. first made his ‘Love Is‘ track available for free too.
Now don’t get me wrong. Putting out your stuff for free doesn’t guarantee anything at all.
These days it’s a buyer’s market as far as getting music is concerned.
Between legal services like Spotify and WE7 streaming music for free, and iTunes and countless other places offering relatively cheap music (not to mention mixtapes and – of course – illegal downloads) people have more choice to own music than at any other point in human history.
So it’s not good enough to just put the music out there. You have to create perceived value in your intended audience.
And sorry, the fact that everyone in your church telling you this is the best thing since Jay Z released whatever might be in the charts at the moment doesn’t count.
The perception judgement is not yours to make. It’s your audience’s. They make the call. They are the ones that will download your whole album for nothing or buy it for £50.
I suppose the next question is ‘how do I do this…’,
Well, for my money it comes down to the weird alchemy around branding, packaging, image, ‘vibe’, and potential appeal. Plus the X Factor. Before Simon Cowell’s show abused the concept.
That’s why few people actually get it right.
And – of course – you have to actually have something worthwhile to say.
Less than a minute into the title track Sound Of My Soul you’ll hear E Tizz’s intriguing testimony about the power of the Christianity and divine intervention.
And that’s in addition to some rather tasty music on offer…
And finally it certainly doesn’t hurt to have one of the best teams in the Black UK gospel scene behind and around you: Preacher Boy Records, Design By Spirit, GP and New Direction Crew and Jahaziel – to mention a few names from a rather impressive cast list.