205 – Appealing to Buyers, Not Just Moochers

by | Sep 3, 2020 | Podcast

Not making any money with your music? Not selling as much as you think you should? Is it possible you aren’t attracting the right kind of buyers (audience)? Do you suspect your “fans” might be mooching off you?

That’s what we’re going to be looking at in this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:33 – Repairing the foundation of your business
  • 01:10 – Tip #1: Say “no” to pro bono work
  • 03:29 – Tip #2: Get your fans acclimated to spending money with you
  • 04:57 – Tip #3: Add a price tag to more of your work
  • 06:31 – Don’t steal from the people you want to impact with your music
  • 07:01 – The Music Entrepreneur Code with two bonuses


Hey, it’s David Andrew Wiebe.

So, this is something I’ve been giving more and more thought to as of late. Even with Music Entrepreneur HQ, I’ve had that experience of building a lot of traffic and growing my list, only to discover that most of the people I was connecting with just came for the free stuff, did a hit and run, and quickly ran the other way.

And, as painful as it was, I had to go and repair the foundation of the business. Because that’s where the problem lived. And I’m telling you that’s really the hardest thing to do once your business is up and running.

So, here are a few tips to help you begin appealing to buyers rather than just sponges.

Tip #1 – Stop Doing Pro Bono Work

I used to do a lot of pro bono work for people.

We used to accept guest posts from anyone on Music Entrepreneur HQ. Until I realized just how much work it was to edit, format, and schedule their content to reflect the standards and quality of the brand I was looking for.

Then we started charging because it was just taking up too much time. Then, I had to effectively double the rate because we kept getting low quality submissions that required a lot of work on our part to edit.

Some people complained our rates were too high, but that’s how I knew I had hit the sweet spot. It repelled the tire kickers and link buyers and started bringing in clients who were serious.

By the way, we’re not accepting guest posts on the site anymore. But the point is, I’m a sensitive, creative soul. And I’ve done all kinds of free, volunteer, pro bono work to help people. Whether it was answering questions in my inbox, agreeing to meet with people who wanted to pick my brain, or giving away my products for free.

There was a rather awkward situation only two years ago where I was asked to promote someone’s new release in exchange for performance. Which meant I was not going to paid for any of the work until I started delivering on the results. Good for him. Horrible for me.

I know it can be hard when you care about others, but I would suggest just giving up pro bono work.

These days, I’m quick to ask people if they want me to be involved as a consultant or coach. Because let’s face it, I can reach far more people with a podcast episode like this, and it’s a better use of my time than jumping on a Skype call with another random person I don’t even know.

This doesn’t mean I’m not conscious about adding some value upfront. I always try to do that. But I want to move the relationship as quickly as possible from like a pro bono, “I’ll ask you whatever I want, whenever I want” relationship to a paid relationship where my time is valued.

Otherwise, people could do whatever they want with my advice and it makes no difference in their lives. So, it’s not the greatest value for me, and it’s not the greatest value for them either.

And guys, just be real with me here. Have you ever had that experience of being put in the “friend zone” by a girl you liked? Yeah. Same thing here. Don’t wait to start charging for your work.

This still comes with the caveat that I still believe in building new relationships in the music business, and evaluating opportunities as they come up. But I try to keep that to a minimal as well.

Tip #2 – Train Your Audience to Buy

So, you’ve probably heard about the importance of sticking to a content schedule, especially on a platform like YouTube.

Well, this is the same idea, only as applied to your product or music launch schedule.

Basically, as much as possible, you want to train your audience to buy from you, not just sponge off you, and preferably, on a set schedule.

Train your audience to buy from you, not just sponge off you, and preferably, on a set schedule. Share on X

Maybe it’s once per month, once every three months, twice per year, or maybe once per year – I don’t think you’d want to go any less than that.

But see if you can launch your music or merch on a schedule and get it in front of your audience at the right time.

Another important consideration is price point. As I’ve discovered, if your audience is trained to buy from you at the $5 to $35 range, it’s going to prove an uphill battle to try to sell them anything that’s priced three or four times the price later on.

And if they’ve been trained to buy at that level for years, they’re not going to change.

So, think about the price point you want to sell your music and merch items at, and try to launch within the range you’ve identified – even if that means bundling more products together to bump up the perceived value.

It’s good to have low-priced products, moderately priced products, high ticket items, and everything in between, but make sure you set this up early and don’t wait until later when your audience is already used to buying from you at a specific price because you’re going to have a hard time increasing the value of your products at that point.

Tip #3 – Charge for Everything

See if you can find a way to charge for everything, including your opt-in offers or free giveaways.

The entire point of a lead magnet is to grow your email list, but it might be worth creating a low-priced order bump so that you can make some money while you’re growing your list. The goal would still be growing your list, but if you could make a little money in the process, that would be sweet, right?

You’ve probably seen those free plus shipping offers out there, and you might even be running some yourself. And that’s great. I just don’t believe in bait in switch because you see so many of these offers out there where they claim to be free, but the moment you go to their sales page, they charge for shipping.

On Instagram, I’ve seen all kinds of complaints from people for these types of offers, like “why are you charging $17.95 for shipping?”, and “this is false advertising.”

Exactly! They’re right. This IS false advertising – I don’t believe in the bait and switch.

Pre-frame it correctly – tell people upfront it’s a “free plus shipping offer”, “help us cover the costs of shipping”, “help us cover the costs of maintaining our website” or something along those lines.

But don’t tell people something is free and then stick a $20 bill up their butts.

Don’t tell people something is free and then stick a $20 bill up their butts. Share on X

Aside from that, maybe make everything clickable on your website lead to something people can pay for or buy – that ought to train your audience.

And if you’re uncomfortable doing that on your main artist website, maybe launch a new one, try it on your new website, test both, and see which outperforms the other. You’re going to find out pretty quickly, and you might even be surprised at the results.

Appealing to Buyers Summary

So, here’s a quick summary of the tips offered here:

  1. Stop doing pro bono work. It steals your time, energy, resources, and ultimately, from the people you want to impact with your music.
  2. Train your audience to buy. Release products on a predictable schedule, or at least make sure your fans aren’t just expecting you to give everything away.
  3. Charge for everything. If you’re going to give stuff away for free, at least get an email address in exchange. And you can even turn this into an opportunity to make money with something like an order bump.

And don’t forget – right now, you can get The Music Entrepreneur Code and two bonuses for just $5. Come on. But this offer expires September 30. So, go to davidandrewwiebe.com/code now to claim your copy.