While music and merch bundles often sell well for musicians, game developers have been much more innovative with their approach to bundling games. For example, at least a few experiments have occurred in which a target amount was set that, once reached, would make the games open source or even place them in the public domain. Given the broad range of examples now available, it's worth asking yourself what would make your bundle of goods an epic release?
In the last few years, Topspin has taken the lead in facilitating music and merch bundle sales and they've long maintained that such options greatly increase revenue per sale. In the purely digital realm, BitTorrent Bundles have shown the marketing potential of free releases of music and music-related content.
Of course, bundles of music in the form of multiple physical albums for cheap from Columbia House back in the day or contemporary experiments such as Soundsupply's digital album bundles are a recurring theme of the industry.
Game Industry Leads the Way in Bundling Experimentation
But despite all this music bundling activity, game developers and associates have explored even more innovative territory. Recently the Future of Music Coalition's blog considered lessons learned from video game bundles and such initiatives as the Humble Music Bundle.
The post focuses on some of the tactics designed to increase sales of bundled goods including support for charities. It's definitely worth a look if you're into the psychology of bundling however lately I've been more interested in a related approach in which games are made open source or content is released into the public domain when a certain level of sales/donations is reached.
Likely the most outstanding example of bundles of games being made open source is that of the first Humble Indie Bundle which was offered as a pay what you want bundle with benefits to go to developers, charities or a combination as determined by the person donating.
Introduced as a form of stretch goal, when the Humble Indie Bundle hit $700,000 in donations they decided to make the games open source if they reached a million. And so they did.
Bringing Lessons from the Game Industry to Music
A more recent example is the Open Call for the Open Bundle which takes things a step further by placing game-related art and music in the public domain if a specific goal is reached. The project is still emerging and it would be nice if the people behind it were more transparent about their identity but, for our purposes, the point is that this is an excellent idea for musicians and indie labels to explore.
As an incentive to purchase, not all possible customers will be moved by the opportunity to give money towards putting music in the public domain. But in some music scenes in which music is regularly given away free or made available for remixes such an opportunity is a strong fit for the perspectives and approaches of both creators and fans.
Beyond that specific tactic, the larger idea of going beyond what you or your band can bundle as an individual act to creating bundles from multiple acts and even multiple labels is a powerful concept.
While no approach is a sure thing, especially given that it can be hard to even give music away for free, we now have an array of tactics for creating and offering bundles of music, merch and/or related content. With that in mind, the key question may well be:
How will you make your bundle epic?
[Thumbnail photo courtesy Florian.]
- Humble Music Bundle Brings Successful Game Sales Approach To Digital Music
- Soundsupply: GroupOn For Indie Music
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.