Band Celebrates 'Super Fan' Who Burns Their CD And Gives It Out To Everyone

from the treating-fans-right dept

While we still have various old media execs insisting that piracy is destroying content creators, every day we're seeing new examples of content creators who have learned to embrace sharing, recognizing that it's actually free promotion and free distribution. Via Ian Rogers, we find out about how the band Chester French isn't just encouraging people to share their music, they're actively promoting fans who are burning copies of their CD and handing them out to friends and strangers. In fact, they just put up a silly video of the guy showing others how to burn copies of the CD to hand out as well. The band gets it: these are "super fans." They're not "thieves" or "freeriders" or "leeches." They love the band and are helping to promote the band for free. Old school entertainment execs insist that bands won't have the incentive to produce if people are sharing this way, but this band seems energized in knowing they have such great fans.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 10:36am

    Which is fine if the band had no intention of making any income from selling their music.

    All of this still doesn't show a penny of income unless the band does something else beyond writing and recording great songs.

     

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    Tgeigs (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 10:41am

    Re:

    Like playing live, selling additionals to the music, selling other event type appearences, selling their music to others to implement it in OTHER media (movies, games, TV, etc.).

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 10:42am

    Re:

    Recorded music is a promotional item--those who like the recorded music will be more likely to come see a show.

    It's a simple numbers game. Let's assume a constant 2% of your fans, at any given moment, have the ready case, ride, and time to see a live performance.

    Let's say fans will pay $10 to see a show live.

    Now, let's crunch some numbers:
    Let's say you're selling CDs, and have 100 fans. This means you'll make $20 on your next live show.
    Or, let's say your flinging your music for FREE as far and wide as the internet and your fanbase will take it, and your new band has 5000 fans. This means you'll make $1000 on your next live show.

    Seriously, this stuff isn't that difficult. Try putting an ounce of thought into what you say before you say it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 10:43am

    So the republicans are now down to burning music?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re:

    I understand it completely. But this is treating the music as a black or white item: Either it is all free, or it isn't. Marketing by giving stuff away is remarkably easy, but it doesn't always generate revenue (even the revenue sources generally hit here).

    If the band records 20 songs, makes a mini-cd of 4 songs, gives that CD away, with links on the CD / videos to go somewhere to BUY more music, they can not only build their fan base, but they can also profit more directly from their efforts to write and record new music.

    If you band has 5000 new fans, great - but where are those new fans? Unlikely you gained 5000 new fans in any one place, so you have to tour to reach them all. Touring isn't free. So if your 5000 fans are spread over 20 concert dates, you having to figure that a good part of the income went away to getting there, equipment, crew, food, hotels, and all that other stuff. Performing isn't free, so it isn't like $20 goes in your pocket.

    Just like the distribution of shiny discs, touring costs money. So does designing and buying t-shirts to sell, so does all that other merch stuff that could be made available. There is RISK involved, similar to producing a CD. Remarkable,isn't it?

    In the end, you offer a black and white view of sell it and get no fans, or give it all away and get fans. The real answer is somewhere in the middle. Give away a taste of a new product, not a meal, and some people will buy dinner. Give away all the food, and people go away fat and happy and don't come back - they just go to the place next door giving away free food tomorrow.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 10:55am

    Wikipedia is such a waste, but every so often they point to an interesting quote, this time from Chester French band member:

    ""We did. The summer after our freshman year we created a little EP, and we sold it on the street. If people were reluctant to buy it, we'd offer to play them something live, with the agreement that if they liked our performance, they'd buy the CD for five bucks.""


    So wait, these guys were performing for free to sell CDs. What a novel idea. Perhaps they realized that the performances were infinite and could be done at any time, but that CDs of scarce new music had value?

    Ooops, Mikey stubbed his toe again.

     

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    Tgeigs (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Just like the distribution of shiny discs, touring costs money. So does designing and buying t-shirts to sell, so does all that other merch stuff that could be made available. There is RISK involved, similar to producing a CD. Remarkable,isn't it?"

    No it isn't, because that's not an accurate comparison. Touring DOES cost money, as do designing tshirts, etc., and their IS risk involved, but none of those physical things or experiences are easily copiable, nor are they scarce, nore are they falisfied scarcities used to prop up an industry.

    The key part of what you said is that there is risk in producing a CD, which is true. However, there is nearly zero risk in reproducing music. What people tend to miss here is that the artist is selling music, but the labels never have. They sell the disc. Without the disc, the sale becomes more difficult, and with the advent of larger hard drives and MP3 Players we don't NEED the disc anymore. To a large extent, we don't NEED the record labels anymore either. They used to be the distribution network for the band, but now that network is US.

    So they're trying to falsely create our NEED for them. And they're failing.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Indeed, Coward, that is correct.
    Things cost money. Your wisdom in recognizing this is astonishing.

    [satire]If only there were a method of distribution by which the costs were voluntarily taken on by those desiring the product being distributed...but alas, there is not.

    And, if only there were a way to have t-shirts made on demand...

    If only there were a venue by which one could pre-sell tickets to an event in order to raise enough capitol to make the event happen... [/satire]

    (PS You're a short-sighted git; don't feel bad about it, you're in the majority)

     

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    Shawn, May 27th, 2009 @ 11:02am

    The "CDs of scarce new music" is scarce until the sell one

     

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    Tgeigs (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "nor are they scarce"

    Should have read "but they are scarce"

     

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    mrtraver (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 11:08am

    speaking of superfans...

    Has anyone been following Trent Reznor's tweets (http://twitter.com/trent_reznor) about raising money for someone who needs a heart transplant? On nin.com, people can do anything from donate $10 thru buy a VIP package with tickets, backstage pass, and dinner with the band. Since May 20, almost $860,000 has been raised, and they had to stop accepting VIP offers because they simply could not accomodate anyone else.

     

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    Anonymous Poster, May 27th, 2009 @ 11:09am

    Re:

    Hi, Mr. RIAA Shill! You want some cheese with that whine?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "No it isn't, because that's not an accurate comparison. Touring DOES cost money, as do designing tshirts, etc., and their IS risk involved, but none of those physical things or experiences are easily copiable, nor are they scarce, nore are they falisfied scarcities used to prop up an industry."

    They are all false scarcities. If a band is playing a place with 500 seats and 600 people want in, why not play at a bigger place? Because at 500, you create a false scarcity. Except for the very biggest of bands (think Rolling Stones, example), most groups can't fill a series of football stadiums with 100,000 people per city day in and day out. Everything else is absolutely a false scarcity, because they control the size of the room to stay under demand, thus supporting higher ticket prices.

    This is particularly true on Arena tours. Many of the arenas have different layouts available, depending on the size of the act. So you could seat as low as a few thousand, or as high as 25,000 in the same venue, depending on the configuration and placement of the stage. Each one of these choices is made in part to create false scarcity.

    T-shirts are the same. Special "we don't sell them in stores" t-shirts are a false scarcity, they are only scarce because the band / management has chosen not to sell them elsewhere.

    Scarcity is what you make it. IF a band chose only to sell 1000 copies of a CD, that is it, never again, then the CD is artificial scarce. The music on it might be copied, but the original CDs are scarce. But since they could have easily made twice as many CDs, it is in fact an artificial scarcity.

     

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    Danny, May 27th, 2009 @ 11:16am

    What I find funny....

    is that given that the record execs are nearly second to none (second to only actual politicians) when it comes to taking advantage of something they have not seen how they can take advantage of the idea of giving a bit of free music to rope fans in and make the big score on merchandise and tickets.

     

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    Rob R. (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    Re:

    How did this go from "Sharing their own music with the world is a good thing" to "Blame Republicans!"

    I guess some people just want to be a victim. They just need to blame someone for something. So sad.

    How about we talk about sharing music here instead of trying to make everything a political attack? Hmm?

     

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    Designerfx (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    Re:

    This exact promotion makes a whole lot of income. Just not the direct up front kind. having a little patience to make more money (and easier) in the long run is what makes people good business folks as opposed to a waste of airspace.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "and their IS risk involved"

    Should have read "and there IS risk involved"

     

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    minijedimaster (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 11:45am

    If you make good music and let people hear it, there is plenty of money to be made. Just not for the label execs... but for the band that created it in the first place? fer sure.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 11:49am

    first book burning, now CD BURNING??!?!?!

    :P

     

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  20.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah it should have. You'd think someone attempting to get some writing published would be more careful with their grammar. Shame on me.

     

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    Joshua Jones, May 27th, 2009 @ 11:55am

    Re: Ooops, Mikey stubbed his toe again.

    I still find it interesting that you guys cannot see the difference between selling a CD (a scarcity) and distributing music online. After a great enough distribution online, the cost per item of distribution hits near-to-zero, making it into an infinite good.

    It wouldn't make any sense for them to give away their CDs for free, because it costs them considerably more to produce each individual CD than it does to distribute the same information online.

    Of course, live performances are also not an infinite good, as you seem to think, because the band's time is equivalent to money. That's why you don't see them performing all of their live shows for free - that would simply be idiotic. In the example you've provided, they were selling one scarce good (the CD), and offering another scarce good (the simple one-song live performance) to give the customer a reason to buy.

    Even a small live performance to go along with your CD purchase would certainly make them more willing to buy, and in that sense, you have done nothing but prove that going along with Mike's suggestions (giving a reason to buy, connecting with fans) work and work well.

    Guess Mike's not as clumsy as you thought.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 11:57am

    Re:

    lol, so what is your point? These guys are people fighting tooth and nail to make whatever money they can. What year did this take place? Is this post or pre youtube wide popularity? Hey guess what, way back when musicians were commissioned to create music that a big group of other people played then only got more money if people gave them more money to make other works of music.

     

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  23.  
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    Pjerky (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 11:57am

    Making Money via Music

    On one hand I see this as a great promotional tool for a band and it can be highly successful for them. However, at the same time, if you rely on concert attendance alone for income then you will severely limit your physical reach to your fans and thus your income. So saying that concert attendance and sales at concerts is where the money comes from is very limiting.

    That said, there are obviously other ways to make money. Selling merchandise online; Packaging other things with music sold online such as lyrics, album art, autographed covers, and concert coupons along with other things that add value to purchased music can also bring in money. There is also online merchandising.

    I think the best thing about this new revolution that the internet has brought about is that it allows artists to cut out the middle men that they relied on for promotion and distribution of their music for so long. This means more money goes to the artists who do all the work and less money goes to RIAA mafia. This leaves the songwriting/performing to the artists, the production and recording to the artists or specialists, and the money gets a more balanced distribution. Another positive side is it removes those contractual obligations and pay advances that create more problems than they solve. I am all for it.

     

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    Jeff, May 27th, 2009 @ 11:58am

    GENIUS IDEA!

    First off, giving out music for free, let EVERYONE hear it, become fans and stuff, make lots of fans... then, the band can do concerts and sell other stuff and KA-CHING! Lots of fans buying!

     

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  25.  
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    Dan, May 27th, 2009 @ 12:43pm

    Desire

    Sure, allowing your music to be freely copied and distributed doesn't generate any direct revenue. But it also doesn't incur any costs either. There isn't anyone alive who 'needs' to listen to a particular band, wear a certain t-shirt or own a cd/dvd packaged in such a way. These are not life or death situations. people do so because they are fans. True fans will pay to support their band in any way if they are made to feel special.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 12:47pm

    Re:

    "So wait, these guys were performing for free to sell CDs. What a novel idea. Perhaps they realized that the performances were infinite and could be done at any time, but that CDs of scarce new music had value?"

    I applaud your ability to completely miss the point. Take your head out of ... wherever you keep it and think about it for a minute. This band understands the concept of free as a marketing tool. Completely and 100% understand and make it work for them.

    When they were standing on a street corner trying to sell their CD for a measly $5, they found that if they played people a song for free, they were more likely to buy the CD. Give them something for free, and get paid!

    Now they are applauding fans who are giving away the CD. Why? Because some of those people will pay to see the band live. Give them something for free, and get paid!

    They get it. You don't

     

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    Derrick Hinkle, May 27th, 2009 @ 1:02pm

    You're an idiot

    Music, as a digital good, is also infinite. Any given produced product has some limits. It's the same idea that Mike mentioned in his article, applied to performances instead of CDs. In your mentioned case, it was more profitable to give the show and sell the CD. In Mike's mentioned case, it was more profitable to give the CD and sell other things.

    Quod Erat Demonstratum

     

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    Kyros (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 1:06pm

    Re: You're an idiot

    Sorry, that was aimed @6

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re:

    No, I get it exactly - it's you that missed the point entirely.

    The music doesn't have to be free. People see the value in either part of the equation. So to sell CDs, they played music. This is exactly opposite of the Masnick theory, which means that either these guys were wrong, or perhaps they got it more than anyone here ever will.

    "Now they are applauding fans who are giving away the CD. Why? Because some of those people will pay to see the band live. Give them something for free, and get paid!"

    Not exactly. Give something away for free, take the risk on going on tour,and MAYBE people will pay to see you. Just as importantly, if everyone and their dog is giving away all their music, how many fans will each band have? You end up with a massively fragment market, with each band getting, what, 10 fans each to their shows? 1 million people have the music, and nobody shows up at the shows because they haven't had the time to listen to your music, because they have a long tailback of music they have listened to yet.

    The correct answer is give away something for free and PRAY that people come to your show (or do whatever else it is that you can actually make money from). It's cool that they have found a collection of fans stupid enough to pay out of their own pocket to promote the band, more power to them.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 1:37pm

    Maybe....They love playing music and want to share it with the masses. Maybe....They arent in it to get rich. Maybe...we all could learn a little something from them.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "The correct answer is give away something for free and PRAY that people come to your show"

    Well, technically, isn't that how everything has been working? Give away a free sample of a product and pray someone buys it. That's how it works at Sam's Club (and other grocery stores). Isn't that the risk that everyone takes when they put a product out? Give away the experience of the commercial, trial, sample, whatever and pray someone like it enough to pay. Seems to work for everything else. If you have a good enough product people will buy it.

    The beauty of the Internet is it opens up opportunities for everyone. Not all opportunities will pan out, same with any business venture or investment. And that is what the recording industry is so worried about. There was vary little risk in the old model. There is real risk now.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Well, technically, isn't that how everything has been working? Give away a free sample of a product and pray someone buys it. That's how it works at Sam's Club (and other grocery stores). Isn't that the risk that everyone takes when they put a product out? Give away the experience of the commercial, trial, sample, whatever and pray someone like it enough to pay. Seems to work for everything else. If you have a good enough product people will buy it."

    Well, that would be true if they were only giving away a sample, which they are not. Sample implies a small part, a taste. It's the difference between a small 1 inch by 1 inch piece of pizza and giving away the whole thing. One creates desire, the other satisfies more or less completely.

    For these guys, they are giving away everything, hoping that people will like the store, not the pizza. It's too bad, because selling Pizza all over the world is a great business.

     

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    teknosapien, May 27th, 2009 @ 3:23pm

    How quickly people for get or not...

    For years the Dead followed this business model. the reason why the record companies hate it is that most bands that do this sort of thing never sign with a label. Face it the band hardly ever sees a penny from the sale of CD's/tapes/records/whatever, where they do make their cash is in the live performance - so handing out free CD's to get your name out there is a great way to bypass that Middle Man (read recording industry assholes).the distribution costs are offset by the current fan base If you are a band with talent then you're one step ahead of the rest of them waiting for the "man" to show up and sign you.

     

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    Headbhang, May 27th, 2009 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It's an interesting example, yet you DO miss the point of it, despite your denial.

    What you don't seem to get is that all depends on context. What is "scarce" and what is "infinite" can easily switch according to the circumstances. In the case of a starting, unknown band the CD is going to be a scarcer good than the performance. The point of the "Masnick theory" is precisely making use of the abundant/"infinite" good to boost the value of the scarce one. The case presented is not the opposite of it, it's actually a great (albeit paradoxical) example of it.

    Your argument about what would happen if everyone gave away the music is stupid to the extreme. People have music preferences and some bands are more popular/better than others. Consequently, some bands will continue to fill arenas and others play in small pubs. Why bands would handicap themselves by putting barriers to getting heard is what doesn't make sense.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 4:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Your argument about what would happen if everyone gave away the music is stupid to the extreme. People have music preferences and some bands are more popular/better than others. Consequently, some bands will continue to fill arenas and others play in small pubs. Why bands would handicap themselves by putting barriers to getting heard is what doesn't make sense."

    Those that are filling the arenas got there on the back of the classic music industry, not from any great free givaway scheme. Those in the pubs are likely giving their music away.

    What you are forgetting is this: The record industry, amongst other things, takes care of the important function of pre-filtering music for the masses. What it means is that they are able to focus the R&B scene onto maybe 100 acts, as opposed to the tens of thousands of wannabes out there, playing pubs. Occassionally there is a good pub band that moves on and joins that 100 or so acts. But in the meantime, as music consumers, we aren't inundated with an overwhelming flow of crappy music. Some would say that we are left choosing from 100 crappy artists instead of 10,000. At least someone has filtered down the mass for us.

    Without filtering, there is little or no way for a band to reach truly critical mass. replace arena rock with pub rock.

     

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    Headbhang (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Pizzas

    A great business perhaps to the pizza delivery guys, because the cooks get but a small fraction of the price.

    The problem is that, in this fictional world, people are technically able to shit multiple perfectly edible copies of the pizzas they have eaten and throw them around like homing frisbees to anyone in the world. No wonder the pizza delivery people are shocked witless. Nevertheless, hot pizzas freshly out of a stone oven with the cooks themselves serving them to your table and putting the house seasoning on them is usually a much more rewarding experience that people are willing to pay good money for.
    Suddenly, free flying pizzas all over the sky might actually look like a good idea to bring people to your restaurant, don't you think?

     

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    Headbhang (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And there you go wrong yet again. Twice.

    There already are arena-filling artists who were made from basically free giveaway schemes. Arctic Monkeys comes to mind. (Eventually they did get on a label boat -independent, not RIAA-, but their critical mass had already been reached). More will follow suit, no doubt, as soon as they start figuring out the ropes.

    People are able to filter the wheat from the chaff just fine without the help of record industry. The internet takes care of that, too. In fact, Big Music Industry often seems to be actually filtering the good, innovative musicians in favour of the plastic, processed, more-image-than-substance one.

    No doubt there are still valuable roles to be filled by the record industry, although likely of dwindling criticality. Such is the way of technological progress. Still, instead of jumping on a smaller yet safer boat, they insist on sinking inside their vessel of former hegemony, further poking holes into it.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, that would be true if they were only giving away a sample, which they are not. Sample implies a small part, a taste. It's the difference between a small 1 inch by 1 inch piece of pizza and giving away the whole thing. One creates desire, the other satisfies more or less completely.

    Yes, but if you took the time to understand the economics of digital goods, you would recognize that it no longer makes sens to just give away a tiny sample, but to give away all the digital goods -- because the "cost" of giving away the sample is the same either way.

    For these guys, they are giving away everything, hoping that people will like the store, not the pizza. It's too bad, because selling Pizza all over the world is a great business.

    Sure. Until the Star Trek Replicator is built and suddenly pizza is free. Then what? Well, there are still plenty of options, but you seem to be of the opinion that pizza companies should just pretend the replicator doesn't exist and everything will be just dandy.

    Ignoring the basic economics of the market you're in is not a very smart move.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 5:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Yes, but if you took the time to understand the economics of digital goods, you would recognize that it no longer makes sens to just give away a tiny sample, but to give away all the digital goods -- because the "cost" of giving away the sample is the same either way."

    You are thinking "cost" in terms of the cost of distribution only, which if done digitally is low (but not free). However, you aren't considering the lost income costs. A well done sample that sells not only the band (as a concept) but also sells more music (the rest of the catalog) is a very sound business model. You may not remember back in the vinyl record days where 33rpm discs would come out that were complications of arts from a record company. Stiff Records (moto: if it ain't stiff, it ain't worth a f---) did that, breaking any punk and proto-punk bands in the day. Most people don't need 20 songs or 30 songs to decide if they like a band, They only need a taste, a sample.

    So in the end, where you are seeing no "cost" to give it all away, the cost is that lost sale. Even at $10, if you get 10,000 sample downloads / distributions, and 10% of those people buy your $10 upsell CD / download / whatever, there is a difference of $10,000 dollars, which would be a major success for most bands. So the cost of giving it all away is what is lost in sales. It is a question of balance between getting the benefit of sampler givaways, while retaining some sort of sellable product.

    As for the concern that the "pay" part would be rapidly digitized and distributed online, that is a concern, but only for the 15-20% of internet users who actively download. For the rest, it is a non-issue.

    it isn't all or nothing, now is it?

     

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  40.  
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    Buzzluck (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 6:40pm

    No matter how you put it - entertainment industry revenues are down

    With P2P networks on the rise and piracy rampant in 70% of the countries in the world - the revenues will suffer greatly until the content can be hundred percent protected. Some argue that fans who distribute copyrighted material are helping to promote it, but this concept is wrong because most of the people who get it for free will not buy the authentic material unless they absolutely loved it. Then some others reason that people will want to buy the original work after testing the free or pirated one, and that this way a lot more people will get exposed to the product and thus sales will increase. But how do they know for sure? What would guarantee that people after testing free samples will not go and get the whole product for free on P2P networks or buy a pirated copy much cheaper than original? The whole paradigm of how people make money in the entertainment industry is changing. With internet, authors can distribute and promote their work more freely and cheaper than through labels and can charge whatever they deem appropriate but it will not solve the problem of piracy. The way I see it, in the future some mega-network will evolve which will tie up together physical item sales with performances and on-demand TV over internet where all work is protected and prices are dynamic depending on demand. The big IF is to find a way to protect the work 100%.

     

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  41.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 7:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are thinking "cost" in terms of the cost of distribution only, which if done digitally is low (but not free). However, you aren't considering the lost income costs.

    Lost income is not a cost. If it were, then any time I choose the pizza shop instead of the deli next door I've "lost" the deli income. That doesn't show up on the income statement.

    "Lost income" just means a missed opportunity. That means it's a business model issue. Put in place a better business model and convince me to spend my scarce dollars with you instead of someone else.

    There are no "lost income costs." Such a concept is mythical.

    A well done sample that sells not only the band (as a concept) but also sells more music (the rest of the catalog) is a very sound business model.

    Not when everyone else is giving away their music for free. Music fans have scarce dollars to give out. And these days, they're increasingly looking to give those dollars to bands that treat them right -- and that includes embracing free music. This makes people WANT to pay.


    So in the end, where you are seeing no "cost" to give it all away, the cost is that lost sale. Even at $10, if you get 10,000 sample downloads / distributions, and 10% of those people buy your $10 upsell CD / download / whatever, there is a difference of $10,000 dollars, which would be a major success for most bands. So the cost of giving it all away is what is lost in sales. It is a question of balance between getting the benefit of sampler givaways, while retaining some sort of sellable product.


    If only those economics were correct. They're not. If you're lucky, you'll get maybe 0.05% paying for other songs. So why not just make yourself look good, and increase the number of folks willing to support you in other ways.

    Offering up just a few tracks and forcing people to pay for more is treating them wrong. That's much more of a "give it away and pray" business model than anything I've ever suggested. I find it amusing that you trash such models, and yet you're basically promoting one.

    it isn't all or nothing, now is it?

    You know, there was a time when only 20% of the market had cars. And I'm sure the horse carriage makers were sure that it made sense to stay in the carriage business.

    It helps to understand dynamic markets and trendlines.

     

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  42.  
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    crustygrease (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 8:01pm

    Music is the point...

    I applaud these guys for doing whatever they want with THEIR music. Whose business is it? They're the ones who got together and did whatever work was necessary to create their art. Their chosen distribution model is a much simpler approach to "getting your art out there", and why not? If there are people willing to show them support, then they've created something of worth to others. Leave it at that.

     

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  43.  
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    JP_Fife, May 28th, 2009 @ 2:36am

    Don't forget that one of these guys married Peaches Geldof so they can't be that clever.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2009 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, where do I start? You offer up so many juicy but misleading statements.

    "Lost income is not a cost. If it were, then any time I choose the pizza shop instead of the deli next door I've "lost" the deli income. That doesn't show up on the income statement."

    This is a classic error, you are think of it as "either or", which it is not. The question is the pizza place giving you a sample and luring you in for dinner, or the pizza place giving you a free pie and saying "have a nice day". The sample had a small cost per person, but giving away the whole pie not only had cost (to make it) but had cost in the lost sale.

    For the music, the cost to make the CD is the time and the CD itself, so those costs are low. But the cost of the lost sale (because you gave it away) is higher. If the band ends up with 1000 less record sales as a result of giving it all away, they have cost themselves $10,000 of income.

    "If only those economics were correct. They're not. If you're lucky, you'll get maybe 0.05% paying for other songs. So why not just make yourself look good, and increase the number of folks willing to support you in other ways."

    With the "infinite" distribution of the free sample songs (your own model), 0.05% of the earth's population are potential buyers. If you give away all of the music all of the time, that total potential buyers drops to zero.

    "Offering up just a few tracks and forcing people to pay for more is treating them wrong. That's much more of a "give it away and pray" business model than anything I've ever suggested. I find it amusing that you trash such models, and yet you're basically promoting one."

    Again, not at all. It isn't give away and pray, because give away and pray gives away the music praying that the "new fans" take an additional step to spend money outside of the music / CD cycle (buying concert tickets, example). It would be like giving away Pizzas and hoping people fly to Italy. Giving away a sample to get people familar enough with your product to want more of the same product isn't anything like "give away and pray". It is one of the areas that you aren't seeing that there are other ways than your one way to work.

    "You know, there was a time when only 20% of the market had cars. And I'm sure the horse carriage makers were sure that it made sense to stay in the carriage business."

    Again with the buggy market. I am sure it makes a great visual in your presentations, but it is remarkably misleading.

    Cars were a remarkable improvement over carriages. We are talking a quantum leap similar to the typewriter to word processor jump. Those things happened because the replacing product was that much better, so signficant of an improvement that it was obvious to all involved. Making music "free" on the internet isn't exactly in the same scale. Again, you are making a classical mistake of confusing "product" with "sales method".

    Is the music produced today significantly different from yesterday? Nope. Has the quality of the music improved dramatically? Nope. Are people's lives signficantly better? Nope. The reality is that the product has not changed.

    So what has changed? Well, internet distribution, which removes much (but not all) of the costs of reproduction has allowed a thriving black market to appear. This isn't a buggy to car transition, it's more of a rental car to stolen car transition. It is remarkably cheaper to drive a stolen car than it is to rent one. If you could just get the police to consider driving a stolen car as "infringing on the owners rights" rather than theft, you would have it made.

    "It helps to understand dynamic markets and trendlines."

    Here is something to consider. Every season in clothing, the length of women's skirts are a big discussion. Often over a few years, the hems move up, making the skirt shorter and shorter. If you ONLY follow the trendline, you would be making skirts that looked like belts, because the trend line indicates shorter and short skirts, so why not jump ahead and just go as short as possible? After a while, the trend shifts to longer, so perhaps making skirts with mile long trains would be a great way to jump ahead of the curve.

    The reality is that trendlines are more of then not misleading if not taken in context. Most trends have external restrictions, social implications, economic implications, whatever those may be, that will limit a trend in any given direction. Taking the time to consider those restrictions means you can position yourself within the probably outcomes, without jumping so far out of the box as to be a certain failure.

     

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  45.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 28th, 2009 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This is a classic error, you are think of it as "either or", which it is not. The question is the pizza place giving you a sample and luring you in for dinner, or the pizza place giving you a free pie and saying "have a nice day".

    You are making the logical error, not I. Giving away a physical pizza is a cost. Lost sales are not a cost. Show me any company that has a "lose sales" cost on their income statement?

    I'm waiting...

    For the music, the cost to make the CD is the time and the CD itself, so those costs are low. But the cost of the lost sale (because you gave it away) is higher. If the band ends up with 1000 less record sales as a result of giving it all away, they have cost themselves $10,000 of income.

    Learning some economics would be a BIG start for you. Try the chapter on fixed costs vs. marginal costs.

    Otherwise you are arguing from a position of near total ignorance.

    You do not account for fixed and marginal costs the same way. It makes a huge difference. You seem to be ignoring that.

    With the "infinite" distribution of the free sample songs (your own model), 0.05% of the earth's population are potential buyers. If you give away all of the music all of the time, that total potential buyers drops to zero.

    But the number of buyers of other goods, if you create the proper business model grows substantially. That's the point that you seem to have trouble grasping.

    Again, not at all. It isn't give away and pray, because give away and pray gives away the music praying that the "new fans" take an additional step to spend money outside of the music / CD cycle (buying concert tickets, example). It would be like giving away Pizzas and hoping people fly to Italy. Giving away a sample to get people familar enough with your product to want more of the same product isn't anything like "give away and pray". It is one of the areas that you aren't seeing that there are other ways than your one way to work.

    Ok. You can bet on that, but good luck making it work when everyone else is giving away their music for free. If you want to bet on an obviously obsolete business model just because you can't understand basic economics, that is your choice. But don't come crying when it fails.

    Cars were a remarkable improvement over carriages. We are talking a quantum leap similar to the typewriter to word processor jump. Those things happened because the replacing product was that much better, so signficant of an improvement that it was obvious to all involved. Making music "free" on the internet isn't exactly in the same scale. Again, you are making a classical mistake of confusing "product" with "sales method".

    Heh. Well, we disagree. The ability to distribute and promote infinite goods for free is a much BIGGER quantum leap than the automobile or the word processor. They're not even in the same class. The changes it enables are beyond any kind of change that automobiles enabled.

    Is the music produced today significantly different from yesterday?

    You're confusing the PRODUCT. The product is DISTRIBUTION. And the ability to distribute content is MASSIVELY and RADICALLY different than ever before.

    But, now I understand why you seem to have trouble understanding all of this. You think the music is the product. That's a bad assumption, but it explains your thought process.

    The music is not the product. Never has been.

    Here is something to consider. Every season in clothing, the length of women's skirts are a big discussion.

    You are confusing consumer preferences with economics. Try again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    cb, Oct 22nd, 2009 @ 5:58am

    My band was very reluctant to hand out our recordings for free after we payed alot of money getting our material recorded (we wanted to try sell the cd's and mp3's to try make our money back)... but after a meeting and alot of discussion we decided that giving out our music for free on our first release would be the quickest way to try build a loyal fan base. While distribution of music is easier then ever through technology (especially the internets file sharing capacity), its quickly leading to the downfall of the music industry. Eventually there wont be any chance for independant musicians to make a few bucks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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