Another Reason To Buy: A Unique CD For Fans That No One Else Will Get
from the neat dept
One of the cool things we’ve seen in collecting various examples of cool “reasons to buy,” that musicians and other content creators use, is the creative diversity we find. I find it somewhat frustrating when critics in the comments try to reduce the whole “CwF+RtB” concept to ridicule by picking a single example from a single content creator (Josh Freese’s mini-golf is a popular one) and assume that we’re saying the future business models is that everyone should just do that. Of course that’s not what we’re saying. In fact, part of the point is that we are assuming that these creative content creators will be creative in developing “reasons to buy” as part of their business model that is unique and special to them — which will resonate quite well with their own fans and community. In fact, we’ve referred to this process as improvisational business modeling. Just as musicians learn to improvise and try out new things within their music, these days it makes sense to improvise within your business model as well — and quite frequently we find out about cool, unique ideas that no sideline commentators would ever think of — but the musicians who are in the thick of it can come up with directly on their own.
The latest such example is from musician Brian Hazard, who recently recorded his 8th full-length album. He claims this is his last physical release (in the future, it’ll all be digital), he decided to still press the CD after he won a songwriting contest for free CD manufacturing. With that process underway, he decided to “improvise” a bit on the business model side, and see if any of his fans would be interested in an Individual Edition CD. This isn’t a “special edition,” but a totally uniquely individual edition, that no one else would get:
As a souvenir of your support, I will create a personalized custom CD featuring unique mixdowns of each of the 12 songs I recorded for the album. The outtakes “Touch” and “Release the Hounds” are not on the standard Limited Edition CD and will not appear on any future physical release. The disc will open with a token of my appreciation — a spoken “thank you” mentioning you by name.
He figured out that it would take about 3 hours to create each special mixdown — which is not an insubstantial amount of time, but he figured if anyone was willing to pay $99 for it — with a limit to only 20 such individual editions being offered, he’d be willing to do it. Anyone who bought the offering also got the regular Limited Edition version as well. If no one bought it, no big deal. In the end, 13 of his biggest fans felt it was worth it — representing $1,300, more than 50% of the $2,500 he made since releasing the album earlier this month. It’s not earth-shattering money, of course, but it is yet another example of a unique “reason to buy,” that clearly worked for this artist.
Not only that, but Hazard isn’t stopping there. Based on that experience, he’s suggesting variations (improvisations) that others might try as well:
- Deleted scenes. Remember that guitar solo you cut because it seemed too “self-indulgent”? That redundant 3rd verse? That 45 second fade-out? Your fans might enjoy hearing them in an extended arrangement, if only to compare and contrast with the album version.
- Live show for one. How about a personalized one-off live recording of the album? Make sure to mention the guest of honor by name and leave in the mistakes! If playing through the whole album is too much work, how about dedicating a single song of their choice from your discography?
- Unique vocal. You could use alternate vocal takes, or even change a line of the lyrics to include a fan’s name. How about inserting a clever line about how you’ve “done this 12 times already” and increment the number with each take? Even if you’ve already finished tracking the band, overdubbing a vocal is relatively quick and painless.
- Fan sing-a-long. Anyone with an iPhone can record themselves singing along to the chorus of your song. It wouldn’t be too hard to tune it and layer it with the lead vocal. Who wouldn’t want to share the results with everybody on their friends list? Alternately, you could layer takes from any fan who wants to contribute and sell the same “fan sing-a-long” version to everyone. It could even work in a live setting by recording the audience singing along, then handing out download cards telling them where to get the recording.
He notes that not all of these are easy, but it’s a good list for brainstorming purposes, and to get others thinking about cool ways to improvise as well.