8 Strategies That Will Change The Way You Think About Pricing

Payola-1For many young and developing artists, pricing is merely the process of arbitrarily coming up with a number, slapping it on your product or service, and forgetting about it. However, as illustrated below, pricing is something that is far more strategic. While you won’t be able to pull off all of the following strategies, these 8 tips will get you thinking about price like never before. 


Guest Post by Bobby Borg author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician

1. Kid Rock Rocks: When concerts are costing anywhere from $75 to $125, and as much as $300 to $1,250 on the secondary market, Kid Rock charged a low $20 for his "$20 Best Night Ever" tour. By taking the exact opposite approach of what other artists were doing, Rock created quite a buzz among fans and the media. In fact, the strategy apparently worked so well, rock repeated this idea on his U.S city tour to support his album "First Kiss.”

2. Wu-Tang Clan Got A Plan: Upon release of their new double album Once Upon A Time in Shaolin, Wu-Tang Clan announced that they’d release only one album (i.e., 1 unit) that fans can pay to hear in art galleries, museums, and festivals. Since people, in general, love exclusivity and the idea of having something no one else has, the group received bids for the album for as high as 5 million dollars. The concept was that music should be treated as a valuable and respected piece of art, and not something people download from the Internet at no cost. Clever!

3. Nipsey Hustle Does an Impressive Hustle: Unsigned rapper Nipsey Hustle pressed 1,000 units of his album Crenshaw and sold them at a price of $100 each. Under a campaign he entitled Proud2Pay, customers were also rewarded with concerts, priority access to new material, and one-of-a-kind gifts, such as an old rap notebook or signed photo. Nipsey’s intention was not necessarily to sell out the units to his target audience, but to attract the attention of a few big wigs in the music business. And it worked! Jay-Z swooped up 100 copies of the rappers music.

Prince4. Prince Creates A Triple Win Strategy: On his Planet Earth album, Prince cut a deal with a British tabloid giving it permission to exclusively distribute free coupons of his record in its Sunday edition. Prince was paid a flat fee by the tabloid, the tabloid made money from all the advertisers that wanted the extra exposure, and the fans got a free CD. Everybody won. Clever!

5. Trent Reznor Gets Shifty: Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails offered his recording titled The Slip for free in exchange for an email address, but on the same day, he also announced his next Nine Inch Nails tour at a top price. Sneaky! Ha ha. In any case, the tour sold-out quickly.

6. Radiohead Breaks New Ground: Prior to the official release of their recording In Rainbows, the alternative rock band Radiohead offered its music for a donation price for a limited time. At the time, this was a rather unique strategy that stimulated a great deal of buzz for the band.           

7. Tenhi Creates Value: Tenhi, a band from Finland, released their entire back catalog in one vinyl boxset through a German label called Prophecy. The set included 10 records in a wooden box, a 160-page book with their lyrics and personal pictures, a poster with all their album artwork, and a numbered, hand-signed authentication certificate. It cost $200 and only 500 copies were released as part of a special sales promotion. One fan explained why this was a “got to have” offer despite the high cost: “I can listen to all the tracks for free on Internet sites like Spotify, but nothing compares to being one of  just a few fans that own this beautiful collection.” 

8. Clepto Welcomes the Haggle: The punk/metal band Clepto offered a special promotion immediately after their live performances where fans could “haggle for the best price” on merchandise with a band member—note that this also reinforced the band’s Saudi Arabian roots and desire to brand their merch booth after an Arabic Souq (i.e., a Saudi Arabian market). This move created a lot of excitement at the merch booth and led to a significant number of sales.

So what pricing strategies will you try? Please feel free to leave your comments below. Peace!

Want to learn more helpful tips? BOBBY BORG is the author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack On A Low Budget (September 2014). The book is available on Hal Leonard website under “Trade Books” http://bit.ly/1po5FyO (ISBN: 9781480369528), AMAZON http://amzn.to/X4Fwst, or Bobby Borg (www.bobbyborg.com). 

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  1. Awesome Stuff: As an indie artist, not all of these strategies will work for me, but it shows that with some creativity artists can get their fans to purchase their music, and artists can price their other products and services (like tours and merch) with more creativity too. I’m going to check out your BOOK MUSIC MARKETING FOR THE DIY MUSICIAN TOO. I hear that it is pretty awesome. God Bless.

  2. Thank you for your comments Rhonda. In Music Marketing For The DIY Musician, I list over 20 strategies for pricing. Please consider checking out the book at http://www.bobbyborg.com. it is available on the AMAZOn and iTunes as well in digital format. Thanks you. Bobby Borg

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