Startups & Funding

Humble Music Bundle Brings Successful Game Sales Approach To Digital Music

image from Humble Music Bundle is a bundle of digital albums by distinctive artists, such as Jonathan Coulton, MC Frontalot and Hitoshi Sakimoto, with pay-what-you-want pricing. It's being released by a group of game distributors who found great success with The Humble Bundle of high quality games with similar pricing.

This example of bundling is a bit different though related to the dominant mix-and-match approach typically focused on a single act.

The Humble Music Bundle

The Humble Music Bundle (pay what you want and help charity) is a pay-what-you-want release of six digital albums:

"Christopher Tin, They Might Be Giants, Jonathan Coulton, MC Frontalot, and Hitoshi Sakimoto have assembled their best cuts for your listening pleasure. And if you pay more than the average price, you'll also receive OK Go's Twelve Remixes of Four Songs!"

Added appeal is created by the option to specify how much of your payment goes to the band and how much to such charities as the Child's Play Charity or the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Downloads are immediate and DRM-free in your choice of MP3 or FLAC files. The albums included in the bundle are themselves bundles such as remixes, best of a series and top hits.

The Humble Music Bundle was inspired by The Humble Bundle of games that demonstrated the financial power of high-quality bundles offered with a pay-what-you-want pricing model. The creators say they were also inspired by Radiohead's pay-what-you-will experiment.

Bundling is becoming a much more important consideration as we leave behind the "album release plus merch" model to a mix-and-match approach to music formats and related merch. It's an issue when attempting to maximize revenue from a variety of approaches:

  • Topspin: music and merch bundles
  • BitTorrent: digital media bundles
  • Crowdfunding: bundled rewards in tiers

These approaches typically focus on a single act. The Humble Music Bundle takes a different approach and bundles together bundles of songs (albums) handpicked by the artists.

Soundsupply, previously covered at Hypebot, takes a related approach.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) maintains a business writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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