Amanda Rainey, owner of local recording label Passenger Jones, says you don't need money to make music these days. All you need is creativity. "I know bands who put all of their music up for free, and that seems counterproductive. To really make it in the music business, people just have to know who you are," Rainey says.
Know Your Audience
"We knew our audience was our friends. ...We just tried to make things special for them," Rainey says.
Burn Your Own CDs
Rainey and her label throw parties and give out CDs: "We burned all of the CDs ourselves in our CD burners."
Give Away Free CDs
Free CDs give potential fans a chance to decide whether they like the artist's music or not, without having to purchase a CD. Rainey gave away her most recent project, a compilation of family bands. "We got nine songs from husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, made a CD and gave it out for free," she says.
Invest Time in Concerts
Playing in concerts is giving your music out for free, in a sense, because fans get to hear many of the artist's songs. However, fans tend to support artists more when they have seen them perform live. "It makes more sense to put your music up (online) for free and get a big fan base," Rainey says.
Design Album Art and Packaging Yourself
The compilation CDs Rainey gave out for free were packaged in brown paper lunch bags. She hand-sewed her CD cases to save money. "We did everything as cute as we could," she added.
Rainey believes that she benefitted more from doing things herself: "It was satisfying for us to actually make the products by hand, and it's something we cared about a lot more. People totally appreciated that and were more willing to buy our products because of that."