Hypebot had a couple of posts about solo musician Corey Smith this past week that do well to illustrate the idea of a musical middle class independent of major labels. One of the most interesting points I found (aside from the astronomical $4.2 million in revenue he earned in the past year) was an example of how free downloads lead to paid downloads.
First, even though the music is available for free, plenty of people still buy his music on iTunes. However, as an experiment, they took down the free tracks from Corey’s website for a period of time last summer… and sales on iTunes went down.
Yes, that is one isolated case and surely doesn’t represent all artists, but it is a fantastic example for musicians out there. Basically, Corey Smith shows that you should definitely consider giving your music away for free, but even more so make it availible for sale on iTunes. For him, free downloads lead to paid downloads and it very well could for you.