Yet Another Musician Offers Tiers... Including A Backyard Concert

from the awesome dept

Way back in 2003, I put forth a potential business model for the music industry that encouraged free file sharing. If I believed in the old saw that "ownership" is everything -- perhaps I could have tried to patent it as a business method patent (I'm joking, people). Of course, I'm much more excited about seeing it put to use -- and we've definitely seen various musicians over the past few years adopt variations on this business model put into place. But I find it especially amusing that one throwaway idea I mentioned in that post seems to actually be getting some use: the backyard concert. Specifically, the business model I put forth was that the musicians could give away the music for free, but could offer various (scarce) goods to sell: with a big one being access to the artist. And, I thought, what better form of access than a personal concert? You could do backstage passes, but why not also have some sort of option for the musicians to actually play at your house. If you're a major fan, how awesome would that be?

Last year, Jill Sobule was the first well-known artist we saw who actually offered that. And, now, Boing Boing is reporting that John Wesley Harding is doing something similar. Like Sobule, Trent Reznor, Kristin Hersh, the Beastie Boys and many others, Harding is offering a variety of options for ways to support him -- starting with a download plus CD with bonus live disc for $16 (a bit high, honestly). But at the top of the list is a $5,000 option for... a backyard concert. Sure, perhaps no one will actually take him up on it, but I have to admit I'm thrilled that multiple musicians have now "stolen" this idea and at least are testing it out (though, my original idea was to make it more of a raffle: if you buy into something else, you get a random chance to win a backyard concert).

That said, I'm not all that impressed with the overall offering. It doesn't include a free component, which makes all of the paid options a lot less valuable. If you get more people into the music, they're more willing to buy all those other scarcities you're offering. And, the basic prices seem a bit high. When Reznor did his experiment, the "basic" two disc CD was $10 for 36 songs and there was a $5 option and a free option as well. Starting at $16 (not including S&H) seems a bit high. Still.... great to see that backyard concert option gaining traction.

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  1. identicon
    Blort, 12 Feb 2009 @ 6:38pm

    Too expensive?

    Re: $16 being too much for a CD. In general I agree. BUT, for an artist I like, where I know they are getting the whole $16, I'd pay it pretty gladly.

    I think the pricing thing is kind of variable and sort of requires a more personal communication between the artist and his fans. A really big name who can't possibly do much 1 on 1 or 1 on small group interaction, sort of has "economy of scale" on their side and can charge a lot less and still make a good profit, or even use the "pay what you want" paradigm.

    But if there is a relatively unknown artist with just hundreds or a few thousand fans, and they can communicate more directly with them and sincerely convince them that the price is necessary for him to keep performing and producing new music, I think a lot of people would find it a reasonable price for their very favorite artists.

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