Monday, May 21, 2012

What is The Value of Your Music?

These days we’re seeing a lot of people discussing the “devaluation” of music. You may have even heard this recent quote from music superstar Vince Gill:

"The devaluation of music and what it's now deemed to be worth is laughable to me. My single costs 99 cents. That's what a [single] cost in 1960. On my phone, I can get an app for 99 cents that makes fart noises -- the same price as the thing I create and speak to the world with. Some would say the fart app is more important. It's an awkward time. Creative brains are being sorely mistreated."

I can understand where he is coming from on this and maybe you can too! But it’s not the same music world that Vince or any of us remember. We live in the disposable music era, like it or not.

But what does that do to those of us trying to make a living making music products?

What do I tell artists when they come visit us in Nashville, thinking of recording and selling a new album?

Here it is. You still have to make great art, and that great art will be the way you reach your audience.

See it’s not really about how much you sell your song for online…online is almost a giveaway proposition anyway. It’s completely disposable. It’s not even a physical thing! It’s just a download. It’s data. You can’t hold it in your hand saying “I bought this!”

I’m probably one of those in the minority who still think we need CDs (and even you think CDs are going away soon, check this out).

The truth is our recorded music, that we sell live, or online, is what people want and need from us. It’s what they want for their personal soundtrack (like we all have in our music collections). There is demand, but you have to make it.

Of course in a live setting, no one wants to take home MP3s. What, on a silly thumbdrive? Really? No, CD is still king where folks are looking at you and want to take home a memento, or the music itself.

The real value of the music, is how you use it to make relationships, get people to engage online with you and become fans or friends for life, and in the ministry aspects, the music is how you change lives! Plus, if you are doing this music for God, shouldn’t it be amazing? Who cares what iTunes says the song is worth?

The bottom line here is, quit worrying if your CDBaby check will pay you back for all the blood, sweat, and tears you spent recording your CD. Get out there both live and virtually, and build your audience. That’s the first step in making this music thing your life.

The only one who can put real value on your music is the audience of One.

The rest really is just fart noises.

Have a great week.

Eric Copeland is a music producer in Nashville, TN who makes a holy ton of music for a boatload of artists, each one valuable and meaningful. We hope. Check out what we do with artists at and

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