How To Make The Freemium World Pay - hypebot

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Suzanne Lainson

Here's the challenge. Just about anything you can offer in addition to the music is also being offered by non-musicians.

So you want to create a compelling show that people will pay to watch online? You're going to compete with anything online that provides entertainment, not just musical entertainment.

So you want to offer a compelling live show that is worth a high priced ticket? What constitutes a great live show these days often includes non-musical excitement like lights, projections, and so on. The music itself may be secondary to the total package.

Want to offer cool merch? You're competing with outlets that specialize in clothing, artwork, collectibles, and so on. People can listen to your music and then go out and buy someone else's merch.

Want to offer a fun event like a dinner with music? What if someone who specializes in food decides to focus on the food and then tosses in some music to enhance the food experience? Can you compete with them?

In the process of giving away the music and selling the "other stuff," it's the other stuff that defines the value. I'm not saying there's an easy solution to counter this. I'm just pointing out that by needing to add the other stuff to create value, the other stuff IS the value.

GEPES

"We have come to an age where a core product — recorded music — is no longer differentiated by price." To be honest, I think that you can even argue that music in and of itself is no longer a product. If essentially the other sources of revenue are deriving from so many other things instead of the music itself strictly speaking, then can't we argue that music now is simply just the marketing aspect of what is in reality a bigger brand?

Great article by the way!

Suzanne Lainson

If essentially the other sources of revenue are deriving from so many other things instead of the music itself strictly speaking, then can't we argue that music now is simply just the marketing aspect of what is in reality a bigger brand?

Yes, I totally agree. Music has become like packaging or a trademarked color. It's what is being used to sell something else. In these situations a musician doesn't have much to offer without pairing with another company. The musician provides the music to move something else and can either become a work-for-hire for the selling company, or a partner who gets a percentage of the sale.

So I suppose for a marketing person who wants to work with musicians, you need to find ways to help musicians hook up with a company producing goods and services consumers want to buy. You become a broker/agent playing match-maker and collect a fee (either from the musician or the company) or a percentage of sales for your efforts in facilitating a successful deal.

Alicia

Thanks GEPES

Alicia

Hi Suzanne - that is a great point. I would argue, however, that music already competes with an overall category of "entertainment dollrs" in which it competes with other leisure activities. I agree, on a certain level, that the "otehr stuff" is the value, but I want to argue that there is also intrinsic value to music and we need to do a better job communicating that, like luxury brands do.

Suzanne Lainson

I want to argue that there is also intrinsic value to music and we need to do a better job communicating that, like luxury brands do.

There definitely is value in music, but getting people to pay for that value nowadays is a challenge. The usual comparison is water. People will buy bottled water even when tap water is available. They have been convinced either (1) the bottled water is better, (2) bottled water is more convenient, and/or (3) there's status in displaying a cool bottle.

I think there are several reasons why is it is harder to do with music than with water. (1) There's a lot more music than there is bottled water. With water you're mostly comparing free water to a relatively limited number of bottled brands and other drinks. But with music there is such an unlimited supply that people won't necessarily feel they need to spend money on music given the vast amount of choice. (2) Water in some form is a necessity. People are going to drink something. So they already know they will either get free water or buy something. With music people don't "need" it and can get all they want for free.

I'm just tossing all of this out there to get people to think about it. I'd like to see more creative forms of music marketing, too.

Alicia

Hi Suzanne - again, totally agree with all your points, and the sideways comparison of music and water. I'm probably going to get attacked for this, but I think a more apt comparison is paying a psychic. You pay for the promise of what they deliver, and the belief that there is value in their services. That's part of the messaging and the marketing that I think we've lost. To take that a bit further...religion is similar. The BELIEF is what matters and I think that's what we've lost. We need enough believers to contribute to the community around a band to carry along those who don't or can't pay, but add value by participating in the community. We need to evangelize for our artists, rather than seeing who works best...I know, it's a little crazy, but conceptually, I think that's the comparison. To move back into the capital world, just because a product claims to be of higher quality doesn't mean that it is. Do we pay more for American Apparel because of the belief in the importance of keeping jobs domestic? Maybe.

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