A couple of weeks ago I conducted an experiment with the Atmos Trio bandcamp site.
It was toward the beginning of the holiday season and I was in a giving mood, so I priced all of Atmos Trio's albums (which include sheet music along with music files.) at a "Pay what You Want (even nothing)" price. I'm accustomed and happy to giving music away for free. I've always offered individual song downloads for free and had a low minimum price set for albums. But I offered everything for free to anyone who was interested.
Over the course of the 3 Day Special, many more people than normal downloaded the 2 albums "Atmos Trio" and "Atmos Plays Waters." They helped spread the word about the opportunity for "Free Atmos Trio tunes" on Twitter and Facebook. It was nice to get such a favorable response from people who seemed genuinely appreciative of the music.
But something else rather interesting occurred as well: More than 50% of those that downloaded opted to pay for the music. Some paid far more than any price I would consider setting. Was this merely the result of a period of actively promoting the music? Maybe. Should I price my music at the "Pay what You Want (even nothing)" price all the time? Maybe.
Why in the world would I give my music away for FREE? I would much prefer people hear the music and form some opinion on it rather than have it be locked away behind a price tag somewhere.