Yesterday I went to a free concert in Darling Harbour in Sydney, and saw Jeff Lang who plays “my music” the blues, and must be one of the best lap slide players in the world.
Point is, it was free, and he rocked the place, and judging by the reaction, he engaged with a lot of people who had never heard of him, and certainly had never seen him, and under normal circumstances, would never buy a CD of his, but they did yesterday, in truck-loads, and he hung around and signed stuff, smiled, laughed, and generally was nice to people.
Here was a world class player, engaging with people who were now avid fans of his, and who would remember the day, and continue to buy his albums long after the free sample. They may not have paid to be there, but will pay for a long time to come.
Free stuff sells, when it is good enough, different enough, and has a character and integrity people can relate to.