AC/DC's Reason To Buy: Get A Box Set Inside A Functioning Guitar Amp

from the now-that's-cool dept

We’re always interested in cool “reasons to buy” that different content creators are coming up with, so thanks to TW for alerting us to AC/DC’s latest effort, involving a special box set that is packaged inside a working guitar amp. The box set is $200, but beyond just the music (rarities, memorabilia, etc.) the casing itself is a 1-watt guitar amp, one foot wide by one foot high and four inches deep:

One of the fun things we’ve noticed in talking to various content creators about ways to better structure their own tiered “reasons to buy” is that it really helps to come up with some ideas that fit the content creator directly, and how they currently interact with fans. That is, you can’t just copy what everyone else has done, but need to find that special unique thing that matches the content creator. This seems like a perfect example.

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Comments on “AC/DC's Reason To Buy: Get A Box Set Inside A Functioning Guitar Amp”

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42 Comments
seamonkey420 (profile) says:

nice!

now that is a great idea! good to see some innovation in marketing from the artists.

thats the one thing that kills me w/all of this RIAA litigation is that NO ONE EVER HEARS FROM SAID ARTISTS whose music is the source of litigation.

i wish the current day ‘top’ artists would perhaps stand up a bit more for their fans/listeners. i know i don’t blog for a company that goes against everything i do. wait.. i remember the 80s term for it.

sellout

just my .02

again, great job AC/DC on using a little creativity!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

And your point is? Oh…right…you don’t have one.

RtB is not some magic new invention that suddenly makes money fly out of nowhere. It’s old, basic marketing strategy – the kind of stuff that the Entertainment industry has completely forgotten.

That’s the basic that Mike has being saying all along. Stop suing people and start hiring marketers that know how to add 2 + 2 together. If it’s nothing new under the sun, then why the hell are all the industries hellbent on selling plastic disks that no one wants?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Mike would try to make you think it makes money fly out of nowhere,

Stop suing people and start hiring marketers that know how to add 2 + 2 together.

No, he said “stop suing people, let them take all your content for free, and hope like hell you can trick them into paying $200 for a $10 chinese made amplifier”.

Her just used fancy university boy words to do it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I always laugh when someone pulls out the shill card. That’s just funny stuff. You are so stuck on one model (the one Mike spoon feed you) that you can’t accept what is right in front of your eyes.

Accord to Mike, music is free. Yet, tack a $10 cheaping piece of electronics with it, and suddenly it’s worth $200. Something doesn’t add up, does it? $10 + $0 doesn’t total up to $200. So either the consumers paying for this are being suckered, or the proof is that the music itself is worth a whole lot more than nothing.

You can’t have it both ways. Open your mind and think past the gob of techdirt pap in your mouth, and you might see it!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes, it was hyperbole.

The market for plastic disks is on the decline, the music industry is whining how piracy is killing plastic disk sales…etc, etc.

So yes, plastic disks still make money, but the market shift is clearly showing that they are losing favour. Meanwhile, digitial sales (AKA, plastic disks sans the plastic disks) are rising rapidly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Massive fail

At first you imagine $100 for the AC/DC content, $100 for the amp it comes in, which is AC/DC branded so that would be neat even if it were a shitty 25 watt debranded Fender amp.

Then you see it’s a 1 watt amp…

This is $200 for random crap and some music, this does not fly at all. I haven’t even heard of a 1 watt guitar amp before, it’s virtually worthless, and calling it a “Functioning Guitar Amp” is a serious overstatement.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Massive fail


This is $200 for random crap and some music, this does not fly at all. I haven’t even heard of a 1 watt guitar amp before, it’s virtually worthless, and calling it a “Functioning Guitar Amp” is a serious overstatement.

Heh. Who cares? People are buying it because it’s *cool* and they like it, not because they’re going to go on tour with the amp.

Honestly, I’m rather disgusted at how one of our commenters (and yes, it’s just one guy) keeps trashing rather creative marketing ideas, at the same time as he insists that there are no business models that work. In your zest to prove that no business models work, why be such a jerk towards creativity? How insulting.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Massive fail

All I’m saying is the music and the additional random items included are worth more than the amp which is really just a box that shouldn’t be advertised as an amp, but rather a model of an amp. I think it’s just in poor taste to go so far as to make the box an actual amp and then make it as cheap as possible when the box set is already $200.

What I mean is what’s included in the set itself should be worth quite a bit to AC/DC fans, as much as $100 alone, so why was the amp idea so skimpy? A normal $50 (retail) amp would do more than enough justice as a practice amp or for any garage rocker. It would have been a much cooler idea if it was at least 15 watts with more adjustments than volume and gain. Cost of production for an amp like this seriously would not have brought the price of this box set up anymore, so it would have been a descent profit margin although maybe a tad less.

And I hope you’re not saying that I’m that guy. I could understand your frustration in someone behaving like that, but this is actually one of about 6 or 7 times I’ve posted here over the course of a few years. I only posted to share my frustration with AC/DC’s buy-line, or maybe the title here are your own words, which got me hyped up and then let down. I’m just expressing my flash in the pan frustration with that, so I hope that was your choice of words and not something from the marketers because that might dissuade customers, it would feel a little disrespectful if that came from the mouth of the horse and I knew it was a 1 watt amp.

I’m not trying to disprove any business models, in fact I think any collectible is valuable to the right audience. I think just selling plain old music is an effective business model, as long as you’re willing to accept not everyone remotely interested in your music will purchase it. This is where loyal fans and social people (concert goers) come in. So going a step further like with this box set is a commendable idea, but I just think if the Amp/Box thing isn’t actually a good small one for the bedroom then maybe $200 is a little steep until this collectible set actually goes out of production and becomes a true collector’s item in a few decades.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Massive fail

Oh Mike… it isn’t “being a jerk” toward creativity, rather having a very good laugh at what you consider creative marketing.

For me, it is sad to think that music that is (or will be) widely available for free is suddenly worth $200 because someone stuck the CDs in a box with a $10 retail novelty guitar amp. Does that guitar amp suddenly add $190 worth of market price to the music?

For the real fans the value is elsewhere in the package:

The working amplifier comes packed with three CDs, two DVDs, one LP, a 164-page hardcover book and “memorabilia from the band’s earliest days of touring,” including a button, sticker, tour flier, track sheet, temporary tattoo, guitar pick, three lithographs, a poster and a replica of one of the fake $100 bills used to shower audiences during the ‘91 Moneytalks tour.

The Amp is just the box is all comes in, the cheap little bonus on the side. But the real value for fans is in the content. No gimmicks required.

For me, this is a Techdirt classic case. (a) it supports a Wired story (Yeah Chris!), (b) is focuses on a very narrow part of the project, and tries to make it look like the main part of the deal, and (c) fails completely to give any value to the actual products that fans would value.

You would have had a much better story here pointing out how they are marketing by selling “rarities”, except that it appears that many of those rarities may be only reproductions.

Brooks (profile) says:

Re: I agree with this comment

Um, yeah. You seem to have hit on the idea that not every musician, and not every AC/DC fan, will buy this. It is, in fact, not going to be a great amp for either practicing or playing gigs. In fact, it’s going to be toy quality.

Think about target markets for a second, and how many of these they need to sell. They’re aiming at collectors, and people who have the disposable income to say “hey, that’s cool, I want it.”

The idea isn’t to sell guitar amps. The idea is to use a relevant and fun gimmick to sell boxed sets and to make some money. If you’re looking for the best price/performance combination of guitar amp + AC/DC music, you’d be crazy to even consider this. That’s not what this is for.

Jake (user link) says:

Mixed feelings on this one. The principle’s sound, and much kudos to AC/DC for trying to encourage other wannabe musicians, but I don’t think this particular gimmick is going to see much uptake outside the ‘more money than sense’ demographic. If it was me, I would have gone with a promo code for $100 off an amp bought direct from whoever supplies their gear for touring.

Anonymous Coward says:

now that is a great idea! good to see some innovation in marketing from the artists.

I would rather creators concentrate on being artistically innovative rather than having to constantly think up new marketing gimmicks.

Art shouldn’t have to be fluff sold like a McDonald’s happy meal. You shouldn’t need some cheap, Chinese-made trinket to make a great album worth buying. It’s completley backwards.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Marketing the fluff

“Art shouldn’t have to be fluff sold like a McDonald’s happy meal.”

That’s what I write about a lot.

For a lot of musicians, they don’t want to get into the “stuff” selling business. And I can understand why. That’s not why they took up music.

But in today’s market, when it is harder to sell recorded music and with competition for gigs going up, these are the options:

1. Learn how to sell stuff, or to sell relationships (like Amanda Palmer does).
2. Get so good at selling stuff that it becomes a separate business for you (I’m trying to cover that quite a bit. For example, if you are going to go into the t-shirt business, learn the nuances of selling t-shirts).
3. Accept that music doesn’t pay well and don’t depend on it for money.

The arts aren’t lucrative for most people. So you either get into a related business that makes you money, or you have a non-related business that makes you money.

All the selling “stuff” like AC/DC is doing ISN’T the music business. It’s the selling stuff business. But sometimes you can make it work for you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Marketing the fluff

Except that:

1) I don’t want salesmen playing music, no more than I want good musicians to waste their times selling stuff. opportunity costs, you know. (and facepalm palmer sold out to live nations, it seems)

2) I would rather that musicians got good at music, at writing, recording, and performing. I don’t expect my doctor to also be able to dance the Nutcracker, why should I expect musicians to do anything other than create and perform great music.

3) Nobody should have to accept that music doesn’t pay well, especially when the main reason it isn’t paying well is virtual shoplifting.

The arts aren’t lucrative for most people, and they do it for love. They don’t love to sell t-shirts or run online auctions or whore themselves out for a pittance.

All the selling “stuff” like AC/DC is doing ISN’T the music business. It’s the selling stuff business. But sometimes you can make it work for you.

The real point is that AC/DC themselves probably didn’t have much to do with this set, except maybe to look a the overall content. I am sure none of them spent time wandering the factories of China looking for someone to make them a little amplifier. In simple terms, they have “people” for that. Those “people” probably aren’t musicians, and that is probably a good thing.

DIY is fine, until you wake up and realize that you should have just paid a pro and been done with it.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Marketing the fluff

“The arts aren’t lucrative for most people, and they do it for love. They don’t love to sell t-shirts or run online auctions or whore themselves out for a pittance.”

Yes, that’s pretty much what I tell people. And if you aren’t trying to make money from your art, you have a lot more freedom to do what you want, which makes it more satisfying.

All the pep talks about how this is a great time to be a DIY artist usually don’t emphasize the work and sacrifices that are involved. The two groups who seem to be happiest now are those who used to be signed, but now aren’t and get to keep a greater percentage of their sales, and those who are relatively new at this and are seeing their income go from nothing to something.

But if you have been a DIY artist for about ten years and you used to sell a lot of CDs at your shows, it’s harder now to replace that money with some other source of income.

catullusrl says:

I find it funny that Masnick would quote AC/DC as an example of his freetard theories. They don’t even sell their music via Itunes because they believe album unbundling will depress their sales.And they’re right. Their last album sold 5 million copies and was the third biggest seller in 2008.Perhaps not distributing via Itunes is their RtB !

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Lesson learned

One takeaway from this discussion is that if you are going to use a box to put music in and you are going to use that as an added value, don’t use something that has comparable item on the open market. By comparing prices of amps, people can say this is a junkie or toy amp.

It probably would have been better to create something with truly unique.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Lesson learned

One takeaway from this discussion is that if you are going to use a box to put music in and you are going to use that as an added value, don’t use something that has comparable item on the open market. By comparing prices of amps, people can say this is a junkie or toy amp.

You are assuming — entirely incorrectly — that people are looking to buy this as an actual amp that they would use in a performance. It’s not. It’s something *cool* and different. The response we heard from this was almost universally positive (other than our usual troll above). Look on Twitter, almost everyone was talking about how brilliant this was and how they were buying it.

It probably would have been better to create something with truly unique.

How is this not unique? Who else is selling a box set that comes inside a customized amp?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Lesson learned

Hey Mike, there are plenty of negative comments just in this thread alone. I would say there is no trolling involved, just a common thread of people who see this as a cheap gimmick, nothing more.

Further, you still haven’t explained why putting their CDs in a $10 amplifier suddenly makes them have $200 of value. If anything, you should be all over this as the music industry ripping the fans off with overpriced music.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Lesson learned

Hey Mike, there are plenty of negative comments just in this thread alone. I would say there is no trolling involved, just a common thread of people who see this as a cheap gimmick, nothing more.

There is one anonymous coward (you) making negative comments. The vast majority of comments were quite positive. Nice try.

Further, you still haven’t explained why putting their CDs in a $10 amplifier suddenly makes them have $200 of value.

Ask all the people who said they were going to buy it.

Clearly, they see the value.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Lesson learned

While some folks here do think the idea is cool, I saw enough negative comments that I can see the downside of putting music into a “toy.” While I personally have no strong feelings about it one way or the other, those comments brought up an aspect of the promotion I hadn’t considered before and now I will when thinking about music and packaging.

The amplifier gives people a point of comparison to other products on the market, while an “art box” with no similar products wouldn’t offer the same opportunity. You could run into a similar argument if music was put into a stripped down computer that was priced nearly as much as something on the market but didn’t do as much.

Your blog can be viewed as something of a focus group, so why not take their viewpoints into consideration?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Lesson learned

Your blog can be viewed as something of a focus group, so why not take their viewpoints into consideration?

I do. But since it’s mostly one guy who posts blatantly false info on this site on a regular basis — AND he’s someone who contacts in the recording industry have passed over some evidence that he is paid by industry interests to purposely trash this blog… I don’t take his comments very seriously.

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