Case Study: Is Free Music Worth It? - hypebot

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Chancius

Really appreciate this info!

www.facebook.com/chancius

Bradford

I think the acquisition of emails is of primary importance. For example, the recent two free EPs by How to Destroy Angels (Trent Reznor + friends) built up a huge fanbase for their current full album release.

So, maybe giving away free tracks rather than entire albums is the way to go.

James Plotkin

Thanks for bearing all! A nice look inside the revenues of a band that's just starting out.

Andrew

I challenge you to find a single human being on Earth who has the means to download and listen to digital music -- someone who has both a music player and an Internet connection -- who "may not be able to pay" FOUR DOLLARS for an entire album of music.

Artists who give away their art in hopes that it'll lead to greater fame & fortune later are insane. Have some freakin' pride! You're telling people that your music is worthless. True fans put their money where their ears are. You won't have true fans if you never ask anything of them in return for all that music.

This is basic human behavioral economics. (See Dan Ariely.)

Ophelia Millais

Maybe. Pricing is tricky.

When you're getting started, you can have all the pride you want, but what you need more than money is exposure. Radio's not an option, so people need to get familiar with at least a taste of his product either by the band's efforts or by word-of-mouth.

Just from a marketing perspective, if your current base is ~500, and you have the option of using a loss leader, discount, or demo to engage and convert some 80% of ~4000 curious looky-loos into loyal brand advocates and repeat traffic, you jump on it.

He said that if the EPs had been $4, he would've been lucky to get 1 in 22 to buy. Deliberately disengaging 21 out of 22 window-shoppers, sending them home with no music because they're not yet "true fans", does not sound like a good strategy to me. It all but assures that none of them will ever be "true fans".

Andrew

But isn't that why bandcamp lets users stream all the audio -- not just snippets -- all they want, to audition it before buying? That way nobody ever gets sent "home with no music."

I agree that a loss leader can be a valuable strategy, but a loss leader doesn't have to be a giveaway. Even at a whopping $4/album it's still a loss at the scale we're discussing. :)

Also, we don't really know whether 21 out of 22 users would've walked away from a $4 minimum. Might've sold a lot more than that.

Rob

Amazed to learn how little you get for each download but getting fans and keeping them is a really worthwhile long term policy. Thanks for opening my eyes on this one!

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