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
    nasch, 13 Feb 2009 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re: News flash!!! Musicians return to their marketing roots...

    $10,000 to sing on the album? And if my angelic voice contributes to Jill's success how am I rewarded?

    By getting to sing on the album. That's what that fan wanted, and what she got.

    I guess I'm just far less accepting of "examples" which turn customers into non-profit sharing investors.

    Why must the customers share in the profits?

    Someone could claim that the customer who pays $5,000 for a backyard concert is a willing participant in the transaction, but it's all just polish on a turd.

    You say "could claim" as though it's a dubious claim, splitting hairs, or a technicality. Weasel words, really. If a customer pays $5000 for a backyard concert, then they're paying what they think is a fair price for a service. I don't see the problem, or the turd.

    The customer should never be a financial replacement for the record company.


    Willing or not, the customer is funding the artists recording session with no substantial return on his investment.

    How would it ever be unwilling? I don't think anyone's promoting the "mug your fans" business model.

    And the substantial return on investment is that the artist keeps producing music. If it's worth 10 bucks to buy an album, wouldn't it be worth 10 bucks to help ensure the album gets produced in the first place, if you (and everyone else) get it for free afterward?

    Is it that "everyone else gets it too" part that's sticking in your throat? Your first point that I mentioned kind of hints at that too - it's not OK to help Jill Sobule make money unless I make some too. Keep in mind that the fact that others benefit too doesn't diminish the benefit to you, despite how the music labels think of the world.

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