Are free mixtapes helping or hurting the music industry?
I was recently a guest on middle Georgia radio station Love 103.7 with Missy E. We were talking about changes in the music industry and she posed a very interesting question. She asked if I thought mixtapes are hurting the music industry. I can think of pros and cons.
Proponents of mixtapes would argue that it is a good idea to release free music because consumers may be more likely to listen. Let’s face it; in these tight economic times, many of us are more selective about the music we purchase. Since a free mixtape offers no monetary loss, more people may be willing to listen.
One could also argue that the buzz generated from a free mixtape could be a great marketing approach for artists who plan to later release an album for purchase. I’m sure we have all heard about the success of Drake’s mixtapes before his album release.
If an artist is paying the production and engineering costs to release high quality music, should he or she not expect to recoup at least some of those costs by selling the mixtape?
Another counterargument is that mixtapes may result in consumers becoming so accustomed to receiving free music that that they stop buying music altogether. I think that may be a lesser issue, considering that music sales have endured other free music sources such as YouTube (but that’s another story).
So what do you all think? Are free mixtapes helping or hurting the music industry?