Jim Mathis

Friday, August 28, 2009

Playing for free

I thought I would comment about playing for free. In business there is often a question of how much you give away and how much and when do you charge. Free samples has long been a successful sales tactic as long as you don’t give away the store.

In music, giving away a CD to get a gig or a T-shirt to a fan is always a good idea. Playing a couple of songs for free on a Sunday morning to get people to come to a paid concert Sunday night is also a sound practice.

I know from business experience that people perceive value based upon cost. We naturally assume that if something is free it must be worthless. Competing solely on price is a dead end for any business. There are many products that are desirable simply because they are expensive…$100 concert tickets? …$100,000 cars? There are some things that are perceived to be of little value because they are cheap or free, for example, ball point pens and free concerts.

Playing for a “love offering” or “passing the hat” is not playing for free if the audience understands that they are merely being given a choice as to how much they want to pay, and if there is a reasonable assumption that there will be a good attendance.

Sky Blue has decided that we will play if any of the following situations apply: 1. We get paid (more than minimum wage); 2. There is significant ministry likely (prisons, etc); or 3. There is an obvious chance to increase our fan base (opening for a national act). If none of those things apply, for example, playing for free to six people, we will pass.

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bob Jenkins - 12 Steps and a Winding Road

I just received Bob Jenkins superb new CD, "12 Steps and a Winding Road." Though certainly everybody would enjoy this music, it is aimed at a specific community of people with a background in addictions and recovery. The songs are poignant and true.

Since the days of Edison, the music business has had a problem in that the audience has been largely anonymous. It is very difficult to market even a well-known artist to the masses. A much better approach is to identify and target a very specific group. If you can identify your fans by name and address, it is even better. That is where the music business is today.

An artist needs millions of fans if they don't know who they are. If you have their names and e-mail address, a few thousand is plenty. If you know exactly what they want to hear, you are all set.

Bob Jenkins new CD is right on target. You can contact Bob at coloringmoses@yahoo.com.