Music Marketing

Longer, Higher Quality Music Samples Lead To More Sales, Study Finds

Free man A report to be published in the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising says that longer, higher quality free music samples engage more listeners and reduce the number of "free riders".

Ask any food manufacturer, free product samples give consumers the opportunity to try before they buy. This marketing model works well for products as diverse as shampoo and washing powder, instant coffee and bubble gum. But in the digital age these free offerings to often aren't provided at full quality. Music files are usually compressed or shortened to 30 seconds, for example.

Yanbin Tu in the Department of Marketing at Robert Morris University and Min Lu in the Department of Finance and Economics, have studied digital music samples.

They explored the determinants of the five effectiveness dimensions: evaluation, Willingness-to-Pay (WTP), perceived sample usefulness, sample cost and the likelihood of a consumer being a "free rider", of online digital music samples.

Their survey analysis suggests that for music samples, the most effective sample is high quality and is a longer rather than a shorter sample. "Digital music samples with a higher quality and longer segments were found to increase the sampler's music evaluation and make the evaluation process more useful," the researchers say. Higher music evaluation then led to fewer consumers taking the music sample as a substitute for the original music. The lesson for the industry is that the current practice of offering only short, low quality samples is not ideal.

According to the researchers, an effective digital music free sample strategy should involve high-quality, long samples of the music being marketed. This makes it more likely that the fan will buy the full product, whether that's a CD or a track download.

Source: Inderscience Publishers (2009, June 1). Free Music, Sampled: Longer, Higher Quality Free Music Samples Engage More Listeners, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 2, 2009. (more)

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  1. And in unrelated news… Robert Morris University receives sizable grant funding courtesy of The Pirate Bay…

  2. You sure this extensive study isn’t being published in the International Journal of Obvious Stuff? C’mon.

  3. My web stats show 50% LESS song listens when the song was .89 cents, compared to when it was FREE. Basically, when people see a price next to a song, there are less people that will listen, and if they don’t listen they don’t buy. So as an indie band we’ve gone back to free, because we don’t have any money to advertise like the big labels do.
    You can d/l or listen FREE here:

  4. On my website, members decide the bitrate and length of their song previews. They can also give away a song in exchange for the fan email address. Member get 100% of digital AND CD sales income.
    Good post, I agree!

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