How Artists Can Profit From File Sharing

Copious (and somewhat technical) advice on how to best construct your download-page for ultimate success. Make sure to read the entire piece, then forward to your website-nerd-builder-friend.

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FACT: people download music for free.  

Music will always surface on file sharing platforms and consumers will continue to download music for free, but recordings are even more important for artists than ever before.  There is a new purpose for recorded content; artists will no longer generate revenue directly from recordings, instead this will be the entrance point for consumers into a the brand.  Great music will generate revenue through merch or ticket purchases, or lead to sponsorships as major brands seek out artists to enhance the value of their own product.  The solution to file sharing is for artists to better manage their recorded music by creating a dedicated landing page on their own website, housing a free album download.

Search Rankings for Landing Pages Defined 

File Sharing Networks are Commanding Links for Free Downloads

How to Capitalize with Artist Managed File Sharing 

Girl Talk, aka Gregg Gillis, released a new record called “All Day,” out 11.15 on Illegal Art.  GT embrased these concepts.  The record was free and hosted on a landing page, resulting in 4 key developments:

1. Girl Talk earned 14,903 inbound links.  These links would have otherwise gone to file sharing platforms.  The GT landing page received links from high authority sources like and, therefore achieving higher rankings in the search results.

2. Huge increases in traffic during the month of release.  Analyzing traffic figures with, the 6 month traffic average between May and October was 3,025 unique visitors.  Traffic jumped to over 211,111 unique visitors for the month of November.   

3. When typing the keywords “Girl Talk download” into Google search, the GT landing page appears in the search results ahead of file sharing networks.  Thus, using a file sharing network becomes pointless.  This is exactly how artists should manage file sharing.

4. Girl Talk social media conversations skyrocketed the week of release.  There was an estimated 18.5M GT mentions the week of 11.15.2010 – 11.22.2010 between Facebook and Twitter, up from 15 tweets the previous week.  These mentions developed the brand and encouraged inbound links.

Optimize the Free Download Landing Page 

It’s clear that a free album download will be linked to and will attract new visitors.  An optimized landing page will convert these visitors to customers.  Make the page a better experience than file sharing sites.  Keep in mind that not everyone on a site wants the same thing; visitors are in different stages of the buying cylce.  Some are familiar with the music and brand, others are not.  Think of the buying cycle as a funnel.  Recorded content is at the top of the funnel, and is the entrance into the buying cycle and an artist’s brand.  Once in the funnel, consumers should be guided through to the bottom of the funnel, or a sale.  

Does selling a record for $9.99 that will show up on file sharing networks anyways outweigh offering it for free on an artist’s site, generating inbound links and higher search results, selling merch and tickets, and developing a strong, lasting online presence?  File sharing has already changed the music landscape – now it’s the artists chance to change the landscape of file sharing.



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The Social Guardian points to the future of real-time news sharing [TNW Media]

Open the gates, let your audience find ways to re-arrange your offerings an behold: beauty emerges. The Guardian managed to properly impress me with this.

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The Social Guardian has been built using The Guardian’s API and while it looks quite plain, it’s actually an brilliant idea. Logging in to the site with your Twitter account, you can see what other Twitter users are reading using the service, refreshed in real-time as they load new articles.
The site was built during a Guardian Innovation Day event last week by a team of developers including developer advocate Michael Brunton-Spal. “This does not represent any strategic thinking by The Guardian”, Brunton-Spal tells us. ”The Guardian is not providing any time to work on it at the moment (since I have a mountain of real work to get done), but I’m sure we’ll try a few tweaks in our spare time.”



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Facebook replaces the traditional forum

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There are a lot of perfectly valid – and frankly scary – accusations that can be made of Facebook, but one thing it gets right is it’s an amazing environment for sharing. The Facebook ‘like’ may end up being the single most radical music sharing tool ever. It isn’t yet, but the statistics on site traffic for many of the top music sites show that FB sends them as much – if not more – traffic than Google.

On this site, the top drivers of traffic are Google, Twitter and Facebook –

  • Google is largely people looking for me,
  • Twitter is a curated community following my links (or retweets of those links),
  • Facebook is mostly listener-driven – people sharing my stuff on their page.

The integration with Bandcamp and Soundcloud make it SO easy for anyone to take my music and embed it on their Facebook page, to write a few words about it, and suggest that their friends check it out. That’s amazing. Srsly.


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And all I have to do is provide a space to talk, a few questions, and a load of supremely awesome music that makes life worth living.



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