Bob Baker: Giving Music Consumers These 3 Choices Leads to More Revenue

This guest post comes from Bob Baker of TheBuzzFactor, author of the "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook," Berkleemusic's "Music Marketing 101" course, and many other books and music promotion resources.

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Are you pulling your hair out trying to figure out how to make money selling single digital downloads and albums, while also wondering where physical CDs fit into the mix these days?

Well, Scott Cohen may have an answer. He manages a band called the Raveonettes and is the co-founder and international VP of The Orchard. Cohen just wrote an op-ed piece that appears on the Billboard web site. In it he reveals some interesting numbers from music sales data he's been able to crunch.

Here are the figures I found most interesting:

When Raveonettes fans were given a choice between purchasing a full-length digital album for $7.99 and buying a single track for 99 cents, they chose the single track 75% of the time.

As Cohen points out, most of a band's music sales revenue comes from album sales, not single-track purchases. So that wasn't a percentage to celebrate.

So the Raveonettes decided to try something different.

They released three digital-only EPs of new material and sent their fans a new offer. And the results were surprising. When given the choice between a $3.99 EP and a single 99-cent track, more than half bought the higher-priced EP.

Cohen writes, "By providing different pricing and format options, we were able to increase our sales from casual fans who want more than a track and less than an album." He goes on to ask, "Should we consider selling full-length albums on physical formats and dividing the album into three EPs for the digital release? The evidence suggests that this would generate more money."

So here's a possible list of three choices to offer your fans with your next album:

  • The physical CD - Let's say it features 15 songs and cool liner notes on the insert. Price: $15 - or more if you combine it with a DVD or some other type of upgraded packaging.
  • Three digital-only EPs that feature five tracks each. Price: $3.99 each. Take all 15 songs from the album and break them into five groups of complimentary tracks.
  • Digital download singles - Every track is also available for 99 cents each.
This pricing and format strategy would satisfy all three of the fan types Cohen describes in his piece: new fans (who mostly buy singles), casual fans (who may purchase from any of the format choices), and core fans (who purchase almost everything an act produces).

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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