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. identicon
    Twinrova, 14 Oct 2008 @ 4:23am

    Excuse me, Mike

    In case you haven't realized, Rock Band is not free.

    Nor is downloading new tracks.

    And the official Rock Band store starts a price structure of $24.99 for a tshirt.

    Tell me again how this model of "freeconomics" works in this environment, where nothing is "free".

    No, this is just another example of finding other revenue elsewhere while overcharging what they offer now.

    Sorry if this sounds cynical, but it's not. $24.99 for a damn tshirt is ridiculous, let alone charging gamers to get their band logo on a shirt.

    In the worle of "freeconomics" you talk about, shouldn't this feature be free to Rock Band fans?

    Stick on point, Mike, because if you're going to accuse me of mocking your model, then you should make better arguments for your stand on "freeconomics" and not try to stick one in where there is no clear evidence of free anywhere to be found.

    Oh, and just to reiterate my defense (not mock): Nothing is free. "Free"'s cost is made up elsewhere, usually in the overinflated price of "scarce" goods.

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