Reilly Van Dyke- Staff Writer
Founded in May 2007, NoiseTrade is an online platform designed for musicians to help build an audience by giving away free music in exchange for the emails and zip codes of fans. Singer/songwriter Derek Webb, one of the founders, gave away one of his albums for free online back in 2006. By doing this, he was able to give away 80,000 full copies of his album within the span of three months. This resulted in an increase in sales for his albums, merchandise and sold out shows when he was on tour. After witnessing so much success, Webb and some friends got together and created NoiseTrade.
Artists are able to sign up for free and upload their music, as well as create widgets on their websites and blogs. According to NoiseTrade.com, “A widget is a simple, fully functional web application that is framed into a small box. NoiseTrade widgets are a great connection point for artists and fans. They are amazingly functional yet easily accessible. You can embed a NoiseTrade widget anywhere online that accepts HTML, including websites, blogs, and some social networking sites.”
Fans then download the music for free, leave a tip for the artist if they so choose, and provide their email address and postal code to the artist, as well as share information about Noisetrade on social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter. Fans can also copy the artist’s widget to their own website or blog.
NoiseTrade allows musicians to receive free advertising by their fans and spread the word about their music virally. Artists can make meaningful, one-on-one connections with their fans by allowing them to promote their music. NoiseTrade is often a good source for new musicians who are just starting out or who are trying to reach a wider audience. By giving away an album for free, the artist can gain more fans and be able to sell their next album for more of a profit. According to their website, NoiseTrade believes that it’s better to give away music for free than to overcharge for a digital download.
According to the website, “You’ll be surprised how generous people can be when you don’t require them to be, especially when they have already been given something of value. Rather than punishing fans for sharing music with their friends, reward them for it.” Artists are allowed to keep 80 percent of their earnings through tips and content promotion, which NoiseTrade claims is much higher than most other outlets in the current music industry.
By having the postal codes of their fans, musicians can promote their shows and appearances more easily, giving fans the opportunity to come see them perform live and spread the word about new music to their friends. NoiseTrade provides fans with a way to access music for free, while still supporting the musicians who provide it. Artists will often put up bonus materials, album extras, private recording sessions and tour samplers. Bands that have used NoiseTrade include The Lumineers, Fun., The Civil Wars and HANSON, as well as many others.
Overall, NoiseTrade really is a win-win for both artists and audiences.