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Little By Little


harveydangerHarvey Danger has just released a new album.  Here is a sample song from the album:


I learned about this through a friend who saw this got slashdotted.  I seldom listen to rock music, because I need to concentrate on readings most of the time.  In addition, rock music is not the type for my office.  I don’t want Professor Malone to knock on my door to complain.  But this album is very nice, without the free download, I would have never come across this band. 

In his blog, Jeff Lin, wrote:

Record labels will cling to and fight for old models because that’s all they know (and change is always frightening). But there’s no reason why artists should be limited to just that model. Part of this experiment is to see/demonstrate that doing things in this manner can work, that it is a viable option — both artistically and economically.

I hope they can be successful, not just because of the great music, but also because of the big leap in faith.

I have done some research on music distribution in late 2001/2002, I dropped the project because the technology was not ready for big changes.  I even had a proposal of distributing music through P2P framework.  I can see that some music labels are experimenting some similar ideas.  These are all very encouraging, maybe it is time to look again at this issue now…

There are quite a few models out there to experiment “selling” “free” content online.  In 2000, Stephen King released a few chapters of his novel and said if he can get enough payment online (on average $1 per download), he will be releasing the rest part.  He did not get enough money in the end.  Recently, there is an online game design website that released a very well designed game system (a 6-page manual about how to play the game).  They did it because they have received enough donation (about $600, as I can remember), they will be exploring that model in the future for their future releases.  (they call it ransom model http://www.danielsolis.com/meatbot/)

To me, these types of pricing model are destined to fail because people like to free ride.  They give no incentive at all for people to pay the money. 

Harvey Danger’s experiment is different, though.  I certainly believe that there will be people donating money (it is much easier to donate small amount of money now than about 5 years ago).  But I doubt the donation would ever cover the cost ($30,000).  The real value should lie in the word-of-mouth associated with the release of the album. 

4 Responses to “Little By Little”

  1. John Taylor Says:

    Interesting blog post. What would you say was the most important marketing factor?

  2. ET Says:

    Hi John, thanks for the comment. I think the keyword is “viral”. If you believe the album is really a good one and you just don’t have enough marketing budget to promote it, it would make a lot of sense to offer it for free. Once a good product go “viral”, you don’t need traditional marketing.

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