What do you guys think of download gates?
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Old 22-02-2017, 10:51 PM   #1
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What do you guys think of download gates?

Hey guys,

Not sure if this is the correct place for this thread, but if not I can recreate it somewhere else.

I'm gearing up to release an album in the next month or two and am weighing my options for online release. One big question I've been flip-flopping with is do I charge money and risk not getting any listeners, or do I offer it for free in hopes that I start to build up an online following?

One strategy I've been seeing a lot online is the use of download gates to get more followers and coverage. For those of you who donít know what these are, Iíll give a quick rundown. Download gates are basically websites that provide download links to tracks with the condition that the user requesting the file follows and reposts the artist. Sometimes they also require the person downloading the file to follow multiple accounts, including the company providing the download gate.

In theory this would be great for the artist, right? I mean, you get more plays, reposts and followers!


HmmÖ. call me old fashioned, but I really hate the idea of being forced to follow someone just to listen or download a track. More often then not, Iíve just decided to not download the track. There have even been the occasional time Iíve unfollowed someone because theyíve tried to herd me through a download gate. In situations like this, the gate is doing the exact opposite of what it's intended for.

Now that Iím on the other end, struggling for followers and itching to get more plays, Iíve considered using them to promote my own music *shame*. Ultimately I donít think Iíll go this route as Iíve found it extremely annoying in the past and I donít want to subject my potential listeners to that kind of treatment.

What are your thoughts? Personal experiences? Opinions?

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Old 23-02-2017, 01:52 AM   #2
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Re: What do you guys think of download gates?

Forced following just creates fake followers. It's like collecting fake internet points that seem to be more important to some people than having 50 people around who actually care and follows you because they care what you do, not because they want to get an access to some secret link. Links that asks your e-mail is not too bad but if there's a requirement for some social media access then it becomes just irritating. A really pointless method too, everyone can just follow/download stuff/unfollow and still get what they want. Produces more clicks obviously, unless you want to live though ad revenue. Makes you look like a dick too, imo.

I'm suggesting just putting your albums on Bandcamp under "name your price" or selecting any reasonable amount of money+pay more if you want option. Tag your music properly, any terms that might fit entire release's style. Some people casually scroll through bandcamp to discover new stuff to listen to so they can be those cool guys that gather all the cool new music. Consider labels, get your music on Spotify... Much better ways to "get your music heard".
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Old 23-02-2017, 02:46 AM   #3
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Re: What do you guys think of download gates?

My first reaction is to agree that it's annoying. I'm not following anyone on anything, mostly because I don't participate in platforms where you follow people and I don't plan to start. Making me jump through any hoops to listen to something that I have no idea about is a non-starter for me. Why would I follow someone to find out whether or not I like them? That makes no sense. Huge turn off.

But at the same time, I'm in my 40s and I'm probably not your target audience. At the risk of sounding old, maybe kids these days are totally ok with gated content. I have no idea. It seems like a pretty common deal so maybe it's the way of the world and people are totally ok with it.

I guess I'm down with what ms suggested - Bandcamp name your price is how I find a lot of music, and I usually pay a bit of something for the stuff I like and keep. It really comes down to whether you want to get your art to the widest audience possible (free is always popular) or whether you think there's a mid to long term benefit to participating in those gated services.
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Old 23-02-2017, 04:21 AM   #4
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Re: What do you guys think of download gates?

I remember getting great advice if you go the bandcamp route: require an email regardless of price, and then use it to let people know if/when you put out more material in the future. Believe it or not, they probably want to hear it if they don't unsub from your email blasts. I have a few artists on bandcamp that do that and I don't mind one bit, also nice to know when new work is available. Just don't abuse it for every song you post on soundcloud that's a free download and to ask for advice on your WIPs every week.

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Old 23-02-2017, 04:44 AM   #5
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Re: What do you guys think of download gates?

Quote:
Originally Posted by White Noise View Post
I remember getting great advice if you go the bandcamp route: require an email regardless of price, and then use it to let people know if/when you put out more material in the future. Believe it or not, they probably want to hear it if they don't unsub from your email blasts. I have a few artists on bandcamp that do that and I don't mind one bit, also nice to know when new work is available. Just don't abuse it for every song you post on soundcloud that's a free download and to ask for advice on your WIPs every week.
To be honest I didn't even know you could ask for an email on Bandcamp. This might be a good idea for me. I don't release new material super often so I would benefit from being able to remind people that I'm still alive and kickin'!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ms_
Forced following just creates fake followers. It's like collecting fake internet points that seem to be more important to some people than having 50 people around who actually care and follows you because they care what you do, not because they want to get an access to some secret link.
This is absolutely spot on how I feel. A lot of the resources I've found online for marketing your music say download gates are the way to go. Quite frankly if it's necessary for me to make people jump through hoops, I would rather just not have the plays/follows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ms_
I'm suggesting just putting your albums on Bandcamp under "name your price" or selecting any reasonable amount of money+pay more if you want option.
I think this is my best option. I'm not disillusioned in thinking I'll make a tonne of money from my music, but it would be nice to have the option to make a little something.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Artificer
I guess I'm down with what ms suggested - Bandcamp name your price is how I find a lot of music, and I usually pay a bit of something for the stuff I like and keep. It really comes down to whether you want to get your art to the widest audience possible (free is always popular) or whether you think there's a mid to long term benefit to participating in those gated services.
Absolutely! I think the "pay what you can" option is a good route for me. I've been giving my music away for the past 15 years and I feel like it's coming to a point where I can't justify just doing it as a hobby anymore. Lord knows I'm probably never going to make back all of the money I've blown on gear, but it would definitely soften the blow!

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Old 23-02-2017, 04:57 AM   #6
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Re: What do you guys think of download gates?

Yeah, I think the pay what you want model actually works pretty well. Honestly, if your music is any good people will pirate it anyway (which to me is pretty cool in it's own right, that people would go to the trouble). Strong arming people into paying for a non-physical product is going to drive a lot of them away, which probably going to somewhat balance out with the people that grab it for free under the pay what you want model. Except nobody thought your were a jerk for the bandcamp model, everyone's going to think you're a jerk when you try to extort money from them. There's plenty of folks willing to stick a dollar in the tip jar for good music. Facilitate that.

I think you're totally on the right track. Listen to your gut. Guilt over monetizing your music is the last thing you want.
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Old 23-02-2017, 05:39 AM   #7
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Re: What do you guys think of download gates?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artificer View Post
Honestly, if your music is any good people will pirate it anyway (which to me is pretty cool in it's own right, that people would go to the trouble).
Man, if people were to start pirating my music I think I would take it as a compliment! Sure it would be nice to make a couple bucks here and there but ultimately what it comes down to is getting my music out there. The farther I can spread it, the better chance I have to land gigs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Artificer View Post
...nobody thought your were a jerk for the bandcamp model, everyone's going to think you're a jerk when you try to extort money from them. There's plenty of folks willing to stick a dollar in the tip jar for good music. Facilitate that.
Lol, talk to anyone who knows me... they'll already tell you I'm a jerk. Er, jk. Playing for tips is definitely a start. I know quite a few musicians who supplement a large portion of their income by busking on the street. If you don't have a gig booked, you gotta make your own.

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