3 (Good) Reasons why you shouldn't give away your music for free

Giving away free music on AJ may be helpful to gain more exposure, but it also has it’s downsides. I did this once and it lead me into a bit of trouble. Here are 3 good reasons not to give your music away for free:

  1. Broadcasters will use it
    I’ve experienced this not only once: My Free File of the Month and also a couple non RF tracks which I had on soundcloud free for download ended up on TV and Radio - without a single penny that found a way into my pocket.

  2. You won’t be able to register it with AdRev
    The fact that a Free File of the Month on Audiojungle comes with no license leads to buyers not beeing able to solve an AdRev claim. I’d love to register my Free file with AdRev, but it most probably will lead to trouble with customers.

  3. It supports the race to the bottom
    Customers who got accustomed to low prices and free files are more likely not to hire you for custom work. Some of them will use the sortiment of free files, others will ask you for doing custom work at a fraction of the cost of what you might be used to.

Conclusion: Please think twice before giving away your music for free and please value the time that you have put into your work. It’s not only your item that you sell too cheap, you’ll also support the race to the bottom. You’re worth more than that! :slight_smile:

Hang in there,


This shows that the very concept of Free File of the Month is flawed. What exactly are you getting when you download a FFM, since you have no license? It makes no sense to me.

Thanks for the advice and for the article, I think someone it help ))) on the other hand, it is a good advertisement for the rest of your songs . It’s only one track , I think you can have a free file of the month in your portfolio.

Any other free file contributers to tell their story here?
Did it help to notably increase exposure?
Mike, aside from the “broadcast-bummer”, did it bring you some more buyer traffic?

Yes, temporarily. Front page exposure is always good, but most of those people were explicitly looking for free files. Many checked it out not because they were in need of a specific track, but because it was free and others were just looking for a random track and didn’t really care about the sound. Of course there are exceptions, but I still get people from time to time asking me for a free copy of my item.

Cool article @MikeSea, but i have the same question for you like @SixideBeats !
Did it help to notably increase exposure?

So did it bring real buyers for other items?
Or it cannot be judged clearly…

Really Good to open discussion about this topic


I did music promotion and marketing for a company that promoted over 700 indie bands and singer/songwriters and I’ve worked with production music licensing businesses. When you’re talking about audio track giveaways, you’re looking at a lazy way to get attention that usually doesn’t bring good results compared to other forms of marketing. Here’s what I’ve learned about this…

With bands, we found that by giving away free mp3s, you are usually attracting people who don’t want to pay anything for music and prefer to share everything. That does very little for artist sales. When it comes to making money, it is 100 times better to promote through free music videos on a YouTube channel that linked to a selling location. In other words, you “give away” a performance that will hopefully cause a sale. When you give away the music file, you just gave away a sale. That’s not smart. This translates into production music because you can market your music on a YouTube channel synced to videos that demonstrate actual use without giving anything away and you can send customers to your profile page directly. You can ask permission from prior customers to use their videos showcasing your music as testimonials. You can also download Creative Commons videos without violating any copyrights for use of the video, plus you might get a customer if you contact the video producer and tell them what you’re doing.

When we’re talking about production music libraries and micro-stocks giving away free music files, those free files aren’t actually there to benefit you, they’re for the music library or micro-stock to attract customers. The business doesn’t care whether they eventually buy YOUR song. They just want them to buy a license for any song and you’re the bait. You may or may not gain exposure and it will definitely be temporary. Once your free song is out of the rotation, so are you and it isn’t likely that you will gain any new regular customers from it.

What works much better for both the artist and the business offering the music are featured artist spots. You’re baiting your customers, but not giving them anything for free. And if you look at the featured artist lists, they mysteriously look similar to the top seller lists because the high profile exposure from the front page listing translates to sales. Once on the top seller list, you could be there for a very long time.

Don’t give your music away. Not ever. There’s no reason for it.