Rock Band Video Game Selling T-Shirts Of Fake Bands

from the lotttttts-of-t-shirts dept

When critics of our analysis of the economics of infinite and scarce goods want to mock our ideas or make fun of us, they often fall back on the false claim that the business model we advocate is "give away everything and make it up by selling t-shirts." Or, rather, if they're really in a mocking mood, they usually write "llllllloooooooooooooooooootttts of t-shirts." It's quite amusing, though, of course, it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what we mean by scarce goods.

That said, t-shirts can make up one part of the scarce goods that someone sells, though, it will almost always be a small part of it. And, there's no reason to mock the contribution that selling t-shirts can make as part of a larger business model. Reader Aaron de Oliveira points us to the interesting news that the super popular video game Rock Band is now letting players who have uploaded their own fake rock band logo order t-shirts, keychains and other merchandise from their fake band. As de Oliveira correctly notes, not only does this make some money, but it also makes the gaming experience better, connects fans more closely to the game and their own fake rock band in the game:
The company realizes it's not in the music business or in the t-shirt business. Its business model is the custom experience and it uses music (fun & free or cheap) and t-shirts to improve that experience in such a way that people are willing to pay for it.
Bingo. So go buy llllllooooooooottts of t-shirts to make it work.

Filed Under: business models, economics, infinite goods, rock band, scarce goods, t-shirts, video games


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  1. icon
    Aaron deOliveira (profile), 13 Oct 2008 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Financial Crunch

    i think the point of the infinite goods isn't that there is a magic pill cure all for every market. rather, by adding value to a scare good (t-shirts, figurines, etc.) with an infinite good (music, 3-D digital models, etc.) you give your customer a reason to buy. you can also add value to an infinite good to give your customers a reason to buy.

    i think a very early example of this was the advent of coupons. this may be an old wives tale as i can't find the reference to cite, but it makes my point. soap sellers began wrapping their soaps in paper. women who where buying it expressed concern that they were paying more for the paper when it was the soap they wanted. to alleviate their concerns, the soap seller began printing coupons on the paper for soap to give the women added value to the purchase.

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