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Signing with a record label is not the only option for up and coming bands to make it big. In fact, according to Lisa Viegas, who is the drummer for the San Diego based band “Rhythm Find the Method”, the band plans to explore all other possibilities of promoting themselves before signing with a record label. Like most bands, they’ve set up their Myspace page, uploaded videos to YouTube, set up Facebook groups and regularly alert fans via email and blogs about their latest concert dates.

Tila Tequila, who now has her own MTV show, got her start making herself famous through Myspace. In April 2006, she was the most popular person on Myspace with over 1 million friends. She snubbed a record deal and released her first single on iTunes in February 2007. As a result of her MySpace momentum, her single toped the charts in only 24 hours! Her music video went on to be the most downloaded on Apple's iTunes in March 2007 (more about Tila Tequila here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tila_Tequila)

When Radiohead released their much anticipated alum “Rainbows” only online and let fans pay whatever they wanted it set both the fans and music industry a buzz. The stunt was admired by fans and unsigned bands, but many wondered if it was actually profitable for them.

What would you pay for the album?

According to an article on Webware.com 64% of their fans paid NOTHING. 17% paid between $0.01 and $4, 12 % paid between $8 and $12 and only 4% paid the regular CD price between $12 and $20.

So was it worth it?

According to the same article, Radiohead probably received between $3 and $5 for evey album sold while they were with their record label. So, when they allowed fans to pay whatever they wanted, it may not have been as big of a loss as it initially looks, since according to ComScore, the average amount spent for all downloads came to $2.26

Comparatively, take a look at what happened when Prince gave away his album “Planet Earth" with the Sunday paper, last year. He went on to sell out 22 consecutive London concert dates.

Another up in coming trend for unsigned bands is the ability to remove the expensive production costs that can be associated with creating their own CDs. A company called DiscRevlot (http://www.discrevolt.com/) is promising a cheaper and "greener" solution for bands by creating custom cards which contain special codes. The fan can then use those codes to download the band’s music. The cards can be sold in place of CDs or given away as promotional items. Eitherway, its another way of distributing and selling music outside a traditional record deal.

We’re continuing to see more changes in the way musicians sell and promote their music online. I’d like to hear your comments.

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