Street Performer Explains His Experience Connecting With Fans, Giving Them A Reason To Buy

from the experiments-in-progress dept

Onyx Ashanti, a street musician ("busker") who has apparently been reading Techdirt for some time, has been trying to put some of what we discuss here into practice, looking for better ways to connect with fans, while also providing them something worthwhile to buy (noting that "tips" aren't a very good business). He recently alerted us to a blog post he wrote detailing the results of some of the experiments, which appear to be ongoing. He's tried a few different things, even trying to set up a WiFi connection where he's performing to let people download music (didn't work, as it was too confusing) or giving them flyers with a code to download (again, not very effective). He did realize that performing directly on the street enabled him to connect and build up a mailing list, but what could he give as the "reason to buy." He settled on a CD, but with cool (homemade) origami packaging. But he still wasn't sure on the pricing. He tried $10 -- which was decent. He then dropped the price to $5, which actually caused him to sell fewer CDs. But then he tried the model Dave Allen has suggested for merch: pay what you want, and found it worked wonders. He ended up making a lot more more money, though it helped that he explained the whole thing clearly on a sign. Allen, too, has mentioned that it all depends in how you explain the offering.

I've said before that I'm not necessarily a fan of "pay what you want" pricing schemes, but I'm beginning to think there may be areas where they do make sense. The success stories of bands using it for merch over and over again are making me wonder what factors make "pay what you want" work. Any thoughts?

Either way, I'll be curious to find out more from Onyx as he continues to experiment.

Filed Under: cwf, onyx ashanti, rtb


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    Eric Samson (profile), 19 Aug 2009 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re:

    Bingo.

    The problem with dilbertrocks's idea that this specific model is guilt-driven (therefore that it works well for in-person transactions, but not so much online, where you ALWAYS have change) is debunked by many online experiments (Radiohead being one of them). You don't give $20 because of the guilt-cost of getting change for your $20, becaue online, you can just as easily give $9,42 than $20, and people STILL overpay.

    I put forward the idea that people who WANT to pay, want to do so to SUPPORT the artist, not just to get the plastic thingamajig in return. This is why people WILL pay for intangible goods online, if only to get that warm, fuzzy, helper-of-the-arts feeling.

    Name-your-own-price therefore also puts a "how-much-do-you-love-me" premium on the goods themselves, whether physical or digital. The same thing happens in sports: someone who loves Ferrari will pay indecent amounts of money for a Ferrari polo / baseball hat, because it shows their affection for the brand, and their support for the company (and, presumably, their sporting endeavours). They're basically saying "We know a polo is worth $15, but we're ready to pay ten times that amount because we love you".

    (Has anyone explored the idea of comparing the music-trinkets business with any other derivatives-based market, like sports?)

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.