Humble Bundle Expands Beyond Video Games; Offers Awesome Pay What You Want Music Package

from the rocking-in-the-free-world dept

We've written a few times about the rather awesome The Humble Indie Bundle folks who have built a business out of bundling up a few (independently produced) video games, and offering them in a simple to buy pay-what-you-want format, with certain incentives to get people to pay more. Each bundle has been more successful than the last. Today, the Humble Bundle folks are trying something new: music. Launching today, they're doing a similar offering, but rather than video games, it's music by They Might Be Giants, Jonathan Coulton, MC Frontalot, Hitoshi Sakimoto and Christopher Tin. And, if you pay more than the average price, you also get music from Ok Go. And, as always, there are options on how to allocate the funds you spend, including options to designate a portion to go to various charities.
I'll be interested to see how well this does, but they sure chose an amazing group of musicians who are really well known to the geek/gaming crowd. We've written about or mentioned Jonathan Coulton, OK Go, MC Frontalot and TMBG before. Christopher Tin and Hitoshi Sakimoto are well known for their work in video games as well. It certainly seems like a really well-suited bundle.

The bigger point, though, is seeing how the Humble Bundle is expanding its model to see how it works in other fields. If I were running an "affinity label" of some sort, where you have a bunch of different groups that attract a similar audience, I'd be watching pretty closely to see how this works out, because there's no reason you couldn't do something similar with a select group of artists.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:18am

    Jonathan Coulton

    Coulton's known for his work in video games too. Still Alive is probably his most famous work, even though he didn't sing it.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:21am

    It may work in it's first couple of passes, because it's dealing with an existing client base that is use to paying for things (through the software bundles in the past). But it's going to be hard in the long run to sell what is otherwise available for free.

    At best, people would be paying for the packaging (if they get it).

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:25am

    For what it's worth, there has been a similar attempt going for a few iterations in the Humble Game Music Bundle.

    Wonder if thie will lead to potential trademark toe-stepping, or how they intend to deal with possible confusion...

     

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  4.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:43am

    Re:

    Interesting, I downloaded minecraft for free. Then I bought it. I downloaded a few Humble Bundle games for free. Then I bought one of the packs. I'm going to download that music pack for free. And from the names in it I'm probably buying it too. Please explain your point and if possible back it up with evidence. I have my personal experience contradicting you but I might be the only human being in 7 billion that does it. Who knows?

     

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  5.  
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    BigKeithO, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:52am

    I'd like to buy this bundle just to support the effort but my god... That Youtube video they have embedded on their page is horrible. They couldn't pay me to download this.

    Too bad, maybe next time.

     

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  6.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:56am

    Re:

    Interesting new twist to Masnick's Law! It'll work now, but not in the indefinite future. Nicely done.

     

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  7.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re:

    The other 6,999,999,999,999 just want something for free.

    Duh. :)

     

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  8.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Those filthy pirates! Oh wait.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 11:02am

    'If I were running an "affinity label" of some sort, where you have a bunch of different groups that attract a similar audience, I'd be watching pretty closely to see how' i could put a stop to it or force them to pay me money for doing nothing, just like i am use to.

     

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  10.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 11:09am

    Re: Re: Re:

    6,999,999,999 got crazy with the 9's.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 11:13am

    Re:

    I look forward to seeing your goalpost moving.

     

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  12.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    "It may work in it's first couple of passes"

    Wasn't that your bullshit excuse for how the software bundles wouldn't work?

     

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  13.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 11:18am

    Re:

    Really, you'd turn down up to 6 albums for as little as you want to pay, with large chunks of money going to charities, because you didn't like a part of the advertising?

    Each to their own, I suppose. If you didn't like the bands, or objected to the beneficiaries I'd understand, but that seems rather petty ro me.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 11:20am

    I'm a big fan of the Humble Bundle series. And this is a really cool expansion of the program. I hope they continue to branch out. One thing I'd be interested in an eBook Humble Bundle. Of course, everything depends on getting quality items for sale. After seeing this article, I'll go ahead and give this one a try.

     

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  15.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 11:26am

    Waiting...

    What'll really get this going is if Notch and the Humble Bronies get on board.

     

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  16.  
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    PRMan, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 11:30am

    Re: Jonathan Coulton

    That's the ending song for the hit game Portal, for those non-geeks reading...

     

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  17.  
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    Dixon Steele (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 11:45am

    Re:

    No, "at best," people will be paying to support both the charities and the music involved. The campaign will get increasingly widespread support, shocking both the owners and the public at large. Child's Play will earn enough money to flood hospitals around the world with the most pleasing toys imaginable, immeasurably adding to the quality of life for ailing children everywhere. Meanwhile, the EFF will use its share to successfully lobby all world governments into establishing and enshrining free internet speech--and providing access to all citizens. The increased transparency and accountability that results will usher in a new golden era for democracy, as citizens demand an end to all war and agree to live together in brotherly and sisterly love.

    Paying for the packaging is maybe third best, tops.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 11:55am

    Re:

     

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  19.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 12:18pm

    Re:

    But it's going to be hard in the long run to sell what is otherwise available for free.


    Why does this objection keep coming around even though people gladly pay for things they can get for free all the time?

    People happily pay for value. Even when the underlying product is the same, the value propositions can be very different.

    Even aside from that, lots and lots of people (myself included) pay for things they can get for free even when there is no value-add for paying for it.

    It is simply untrue to say, as a blanket statement, that people just want everything for free.

     

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  20.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 12:41pm

    Paid for AND passed on the info. Which is not something I'd normally do.

     

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  21.  
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    gnudist, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re:

    The maximist have lots of things like that.

    "It'll only work for the little guy who has few fans anyways"

    AND

    "It'll only work for the big guy who has lots of exposure"



    "Damn pirates not paying for content"

    AND

    "Pirates wanting to pay for content if we offer the product they want? HOW DARE THEY WANT TO BE PAYING CUSTOMERS. WE DON'T WANT YOUR DIRTY MONEY"

     

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  22.  
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    drew (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re:

    But without that maxim so many other arguments fall apart. Certain people need this to be true regardless of any evidence to the contrary.

     

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  23.  
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    gnudist, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:56pm

    Re:

    The bible has been free for a long time yet still sells lotsa copies

    Ditto those public domain books and videos I keep seeing in stores.

    .

     

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  24.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re:

    It is really is getting old isn't it.

     

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  25.  
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    F!, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 3:21pm

    Re:

    They aren't offering the video. I'm not sure that's legally downloadable.

     

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  26.  
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    F!, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 3:28pm

    done deal

    Just bought it! Looks like a fantastic deal, great artists. Never heard of Christopher Tin though, so he gains a new set of ears here. Considering the company he's in, I expect to like him!

    Have bought the games bundles in the past as well. Always a bargain! I'd be less likely buy if charities weren't involved (or if it were different charities), but support for EFF? Hells yeah, I'm in!

    These artists deserve major kudos, because in a big way, it's really them making the donation! Awesome stuff.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:05pm

    Re: Re:

    "Wasn't that your bullshit excuse for how the software bundles wouldn't work?"

    WTF? No, software bundles like that will always work, provided there is enough value in them. If there isn't value, people won't pay, pure and simple.

    The problem of music is that there is not much value to add. The music is the music, it's probably out there in a FLAC or other high quality version already, totally free. So why pay?

    For the moment, people will pay because of the "Humble Bumdle" tagging. In the long run, it's not clear that trying to sell something that is generally available for free is a valid business model.

    Then again, if it's working, it's proof that people will still pay for music, which sort of shoot down many of Mike's more interesting claims.

     

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  28.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 10:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "The music is the music, it's probably out there in a FLAC or other high quality version already, totally free."

    So is the software.

    "For the moment, people will pay because of the "Humble Bumdle" tagging. In the long run, it's not clear that trying to sell something that is generally available for free is a valid business model."

    So, you're just going to go with exactly the same bullshit argument that's already been proven wrong again, and again, and again...

    In case you're too dim to have noticed, the "humble bundle tagging" IS the added value in this case. Other projects have different values added. Waving away each instance as they happen really isn't a viable tactic for dismissing them all.

    "Then again, if it's working, it's proof that people will still pay for music, which sort of shoot down many of Mike's more interesting claims."

    Erm, which are? I always thought Mike's claims were that you can compete with free, and that there are ways to deal with piracy that don't involve treating your customers like shit and reducing the value of your own product.

    Have you been reading some other meaning into the articles here? What is it? What is "shot down" by further proof of everything that's been said here for a decade?

     

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  29.  
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    Tobias Harms (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 1:42am

    What surprises me is that neither Techdirt nor the humble bundle email I got makes a big deal out of They Might be Giants. They are the oldest band of the lot http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_Might_Be_Giants
    When I buy this it'll be because of Coult and Might be Giants. A tinytoon version of their song Istanbul saved many road trips with my son when he was younger and hated going by car. Remember sitting for what felt like hours with my arm in strange angles holding my mobile so he could watch it. Was one of the few things calming him down. And I still love the song :D

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 6:14am

    Re: Re: Jonathan Coulton

    Also, he sings it now.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 6:20am

    Re:

    I got the bundle. I paid above the average to get the OK Go Bonus. I suggest you do likewise.

    That being said, TMBG on here was pretty disappointing. their age is really starting to show and a lot of their songs here fell flat for me, or where impossible to listen to, including the "electronica" remix of Istanbul (though YMMV).

    I'm kind of glad they didn't make a big deal about TMBG, 'cause I'd be upset if I'd bought because of them. Coulton's great, too, but I don't think there's anything new in his set (though I don't remember hearing "Redshirt" before).

     

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


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