Inspired by the massive success of Radiohead’s openly priced release of their latest album In Rainbows – in case you missed it: you pay what you want for the download, 1.2 million copies have been downloaded within two days, about 4 out of 10 customers have paid $6 on avarage each, see ComScore for a detailed breakdown – 2nd rec from Hamburg picked up the idea of open pricing as well:
The idea was in our head for quite some time, we even designed the website some months ago, but we were too busy to complete it, so we put in on hold, delayed it, almost forgot about it… now that our main distributor has closed down and everybody talks about Radiohead and their pricing model, the time is ripe to finally introduce a really special offer:
CHOOSE A CD, LISTEN TO IT, PICK A PRICE
We’re offering nine CDs from our backcatalog. Pick one that sounds interesting to you, fill out the order form and we’ll send it to you free of charge. When you have listened to it, you decide what you want to pay for it.
While I like the fact that they are at least trying to rethink the pricing model I think they are addressing the wrong issue. They probably want to do the right thing for their customers (giving them the chance to discover their artists risk free etc.), but under the bottom line what they are doing is to squeeze maximum sales out of their back catalog while trying to minimise the risk of folks taking advantage of this offer without the intention of ever paying anything. Only limited quantites of older albums are available and only one CD per customer can be purchased under these terms.
2nd rec is a small record company and their artists are hardly known (maybe I’m out of sync with what’s hip) so what they should be focusing on is – well the old – connecting the artists with the consumers and/or using the web to spread the word, trigger catalytic effects, build a fanbase, etc. All they offering are lame 30sec samples, which are all excellent btw., but too little to make a random traveller stick, last.fm and Hypemachine are just around the corner.
Related articles: Justaloud – A New Marketplace For Musicians
(This article originally was written for blognation Germany. Since blognation is gone I have reposted it here)