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.

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Companies: humble bundle

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Comments on “Humble Bundle Expands Beyond Video Games; Offers Awesome Pay What You Want Music Package”

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Anonymous Coward says:

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).

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: 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?

gnudist says:

Re: Re: Re:

The maximist have lots of things like that.

“It’ll only work for the little guy who has few fans anyways”


“It’ll only work for the big guy who has lots of exposure”

“Damn pirates not paying for content”


“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”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: 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?

Dixon Steele (profile) says:

Re: 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.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: 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.

F! says:

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.

Tobias Harms (profile) says:

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
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 ๐Ÿ˜€

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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).

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