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UPDATE: You Can Always Go Back To School

DENVER, CO (Hypebot) –
New Hypebot columnist Virgil Dickerson of Suburban Home writes about indie music and labels. Here he shares his experiences releasing a new album entirely for free.


Wednesday night (4-8-09) at 8:30pm Eastern time, we announced to the world that we were giving away Mike Hale's new album, "Lives LIke Mine" away for free digitally. The announcement was initially made through Mike's column on, For those Still Standing. Since that post, I have sent out press releases to some of our closest contacts at various webzines. Mike's booking agent, Amy at Rockport, has been sending the news to promoters all over the states. Coody from Ninja Gun (Mike's supporting act on this upcoming tour) sent out a bulletin through their Myspace. We also sent out a bulletin and blog through Mike Hale's myspace. We posted the announcement on the Suburban Home site, the Vinyl Collective site, our MySpace pages, our message board, and this morning we sent out a newsletter to our email list of around 25,000 subscribers. After 24 hours, what do we have to show for it?

  • 785 downloads of Mike's entire album.
  • Add the individual downloads and there have been over 800 downloads of the album.
  • We sold 3 Mike Hale deluxe sets (an LP, a CD, a shirt, a coffee mug, a beer coozie, a button, and a poster), 4LPs and no CDs.
  • We also accepted 7 Donations for a total of $43 (around a $6.00 average). When I report our mailorder sales to soundscan, how should I report donations, any ideas?

    How does this meet my expectations?

    I feel pretty good about things so far. We have actually been taking pre-orders on "Lives Like Mine" for 3 weeks now and have pre-sold 16 deluxe sets, 78 LPs, and 11 CDs. Nothing to retire off of, but any sales before the street date are nice. Between LP and CD, we expect to ship around 1,500 copies and hope to chart on the Billboard indie charts during the first week of the album's release.

    The tour begins tomorrow and I will hear soon from Mike and Ninja Gun if they feel the free downloads have made a difference. Thanks to any of you who have downloaded the album and given it an ear. I plan to make continued updates and hope to have good news to share. If you haven't downloaded the album yet, what are you waiting for? Stop by