by Mike Masnick
Tue, Sep 15th 2009 7:02pm
from the worth-a-read dept
What does NOT work (well)I think this is a fantastic list -- and the results of other experiments we've seen seem to support many of the points on this list as well. The rest of the paper is also worth reading, and I look forward to the final thesis. Of course, two small quibbles: the paper cites me a couple times, including claiming that I coined the term "competing with free." I can't take credit for that, though I have no idea who coined it. I was under the impression the phrase was in widespread and common usage prior to me ever mentioning it. Second, it claims that to get In Rainbows that the "minimum donation" was a penny. Perhaps that's technically true, but the real minimum donation was nothing at all -- and you could still download the album. Bas seems to recognize this, because later in the paper it mentions that many people got the album for free. Overall though, for folks who are paying attention to this stuff, this is a nice summary.
- Not going all the way. Fans love free music and so do people that are not familiar with an artist's work, but if you're going to give something away then really give it away. If you don't, you won't get the attention you were hoping for and might even disappoint some fans instead of connecting with them.
Creating unnecessary mediums instead of utilizing existing ones. While the Bacardi B-Live Share application looked cool (now offline), it was completely unnecessary. Instead of creating a digital dashboard with meaningless graphics, it could have been executed in a much simpler fashion by utilizing existing social networks or filesharing websites. IF you're going to set up such a thing, then at least make it interactive, social (in terms of enabling users to interact with each other) and add value (with videos or a game for instance). You could even use it to sell other products of the band or artist. Expecting people to pay for what they can get for free. People might pay, but most will pick whatever way is most convenient. Usually, this is by remaining seated at your computer and by avoiding complicated online payment procedures. Sure, people should use legal ways to buy music, but the reality is that people go for convenience.What does work (well)
- Giving fans a reason to buy. Instead of expecting people to pay for something which they can, perhaps more easily, get for free, create added value. This is what Nine Inch Nails, Mos Def and Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse all did very well. Instead of expecting people to pay for the music, they all created something besides the music which people would be more willing to pay for.
- Freemium. By offering something for free, one connects with fans and they will spread the word about you (as long as what you're offering has value). Once attention has been garnered, and perhaps sympathy has been won, you can offer a premium product. This is how Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have been successful with aforementioned albums. First you give something for free, then you market your premium; freemium.
- Understanding that the package IS the product. This goes for all of the cases, except for Groove Armada. In the case of Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse as well as Mos Def, the package was actually the reason to buy the product. In the case of Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, they marketed the package as premiums, perhaps understanding that it's hard to make money if you have to compete with free, meaning music downloads.
- Buzz. By generating buzz, you can turn people just turned on to your product into fans. These fans can then later be marketed to when trying to sell premium packages (or subscriptions for example). Even if they don't buy, having them talking about your brand or product increases the buzz. This works best if they can give others free samples (free music) to see for themselves how great the brand or product is.
- Co-branding. By co-branding, the two brands can both benefit of each others' resources and skills. In the case of Groove Armada and Bacardi, the latter benefits mostly from Groove Armada's image and the ability to promote themselves on all Groove Armada-related products, this includes live performances. Groove Armada on the other hand, benefits from the resources Bacardi has, for instance to set up the website and network for the distribution of the music, as well as their marketing capacities. Both are connected to different audiences and by working together, they can promote each other to their respective audiences, perhaps new ones.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Aug 28th 2009 10:13am
from the left-hand,-meet-right-hand... dept
Noz didn't see the email, which his filter assumed as spam, but his hosting company did and suspended his entire site. Nice of them. When Noz contacted them, they told him that, based on the above sentence, he needed to go through his blog and remove every reference to Gucci Mane (after all, that's what letter said). Apparently, Noz had written about Gucci Mane quite a bit, so that was a lot of work. Of course, the letter is wrong. While there may be a copyright issue with downloads, it's difficult to see where there would be any copyright claim at all when it came to links, embedded videos (hosted elsewhere) or references. That's actually copyfraud by Gray Zone, on behalf of Warner Music Group, by claiming copyright on things that it does not have rights over.
Either way Noz scrambled and spent hours deleting everything on his site about this particular artist. After all of that, he spoke with a VP at Gray Zone who said that Gray Zone and Warner were really only demanding that he take down a single track. But, of course, that's not what the takedown notice said. Noz points his anger at Warner Music, asking why folks from Warner Music email him tracks all the time... but then get his entire site taken down for those very same songs? This isn't just the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, it's the right hand shaking someone's hand, and the left hand smacking that guy in the face for shaking the right hand. And people wonder why the big labels are so hated?
I actually spoke with both Warner Music Group and Noz to try to find out more about this. Noz says that he's not sure if the one particular song was actually sent by someone from WMG, but that he gets hundreds of songs a week, many of which come from WMG, and he helps promote many of those tracks, so he finds it pretty ridiculous that rather than just contact him and politely ask him to take down the song, they had his entire site taken down. WMG noted that it, as a corporate entity, wasn't directly involved with this, but that it was handled by a subsidiary, Asylum Records. Asylum then sent over a statement:
Apparently, unauthorized copies of the unfinished and unreleased track "I Got All Of That" by Gucci Mane have been stolen and sent out to certain websites by parties unknown to us. In cooperation with the artist and his manager, we instructed our third-party vendor to notify websites to take down the unauthorized track from their sites immediately. We appreciate the cooperation of sites that recognize that this unfinished song does not represent the artist's complete vision and may have been obtained illegally.Of course, that doesn't really address the issue. The complaint from Gray Zone didn't just target that one song, but all content related to this artist, and because of that, it forced the guy's blog offline -- all the while he's receiving plenty of songs directly from the record label. You can understand where there might be some confusion there. At the very least, someone should have just contacted the guy directly with a friendly request, rather than sending the immediate ALL CAPITALS cease-and-desist threat.
Mon, Aug 10th 2009 12:28pm
Closed: 17 Aug 2009, 11:59PM PT
As you know, we've been running our CwF+RtB experiment for a few weeks now. We're looking to do new promotions and special "this week only" types of offerings, on a regular basis. Two weeks ago, the special offer was a free Techdirt hoodie or free lunch with Mike Masnick, with the purchase of both the Book Club and the Music Club packages. This past week, we tried separating out just Amanda Palmer's signed book and CD for those who didn't want the entire Music Club. We've got plenty of ideas for other promotions, but we thought, why not get some ideas from you? And we'll do it as an Insight Community case, as well, to demonstrate again how the Insight Community works. So, the way this will work is that you get to suggest ideas for promotions within CwF+RtB (or potentially new tiers that go beyond the 1 week promotion), and if we use your idea (this only applies to the first person to suggest that particular idea), you'll get a free Approaching Infinity package, with the book signed by Mike (that doesn't come with the regular package). So, you'd get Mike's signed book plus a free t-shirt. We look forward to your ideas!
by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 6th 2009 11:51am
from the nice-one,-guys... dept
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Oct 31st 2008 5:24am
from the that's-how-it's-done dept
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Aug 26th 2008 10:46am
from the doing-the-same-thing-repeatedly... dept
Now, Hasbro only owns the rights to Scrabble in the US and Canada. Mattel owns the rights elsewhere. Now, seeing that Mattel had the distinct advantage of seeing how much backlash there was against Hasbro for its actions, and how poorly Hasbro's own Facebook Scrabble was received, you might think that Mattel would try a different path. Nope. Mattel has now forced Scrabulous offline outside of the US as well. To be fair, the guys from Scrabulous overplay their reaction as well. It's not that shocking. After all, this is how companies react these days. Rather than going with the faux outrage, why not just release WordScraper and get people to sign up for that, rather than any "licensed" version of Scrabble?
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Aug 7th 2008 11:53am
warner music group
from the are-they-serious? dept
"The amount being paid to the music industry, even though their games are entirely dependent on the content we own and control, is far too small."Fine. This is the point at which both of those video games should stop using any Warner Music content, and see how Bronfman feels when everyone else is jamming to content from his competitors, increasing the attention and sales that they get -- while Warner musicians are left out in the cold. Once again, we're seeing how Edgar Bronfman Jr.'s supposed epiphany about the digital age of music was no such thing.
The industry simply assumes that, if something makes use of their content, all of the value is in the content. That's incorrect. Yes, the content is a part of the value, but it's the game that's making that content valuable. This is the same thing that's been true of so many other services that the industry has freaked out about -- from Napster to YouTube to Seeqpod and many others. Until the recording industry recognizes that this isn't a zero sum game, and someone out there promoting your content is helping to make it more valuable, the industry is never going to figure out how to really adapt.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jul 29th 2008 11:46am
from the too-bad dept
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jul 24th 2008 1:49pm
from the don't-you-ever-do-that-again dept
It's rather telling that Hasbro waited until its own version was online to file the lawsuit. What the company is basically admitting is that Scrabulous was a great promotional vehicle for Scrabble (otherwise why leave it up?), but now that Hasbro is competing with Scrabulous online, it wants to cut out that competition. Hasbro's General Counsel is being quite misleading in saying: "Hasbro has an obligation to act appropriately against infringement of our intellectual properties." That's not quite true. There is no "obligation" to sue someone who made your game popular again just because you were late to the game.
Scrabulous showed Hasbro that there was a huge market for their game. There was no indication that Hasbro had any interest in Scrabble for Facebook prior to Scrabulous' success.
Then there's this bizarre quote from Hasbro's GM of digital initiatives: "Hasbro has always had the same two priorities. One is to offer a great playing authentic game for fans and the second is to protect our intellectual property. This was theft of I.P., plain and simple." Really? Your second biggest priority is to protect your IP? Then why did you wait all this time to sue? Clearly there was a benefit in leaving Scrabulous up while your own version was being developed. Clearly the comparison to "theft" is incorrect. No one would let "theft" go on for months on end before suing, just so they could create their own competitive offering.
The Scrabulous/Hasbro situation is a perfect example of Matt Mason's thesis that "piracy" is almost never about "theft." It's almost always a market indicator that the market is unhappy with what's being offered. It's the market showing companies what they want.