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What I Learned At NMS: Count Clicks To Content

This post is by Ryan Van Etten (@ryanve), Editor/Producer of VirtualMusic.tv; he was our featured corespondent at New Music Seminar in New York.

Mr. Owl, How many clicks does it take to get to
the rock n' roll center of a retail mp3?
Let's find out.

A One... A two-HOO...too many!

wrappers ... Explore #116

Mr. Owl just Bit Torrented right into your album because it was easier than buying it on iTunes. It took less clicks.

Jay Frank suggested counting "clicks to content." iTunes and Amazon send you through more than 10 clicks if you don't already have an account but P2P takes only four clicks on average, he said. Streaming takes one or two. Think YouTube or Google, who nailed it with OneBox—the player that appears in their search results. "Anything more than two clicks and you're missing out on the majority", said Frank, "Impress them fast."

Ariel Hyatt asked NMS attendees to raise their hands if they've ever bought their own songs on iTunes. The crowd was split but most hadn't. She used the analogy of cooking: you wouldn't serve food to guests without trying it first, would you?

"Make it easy to buy" said Tony Van Veen. Have "compelling offers" such as package deals or name-your-price, and "take away the fear of buying" with a money-back guarantee. He told the story about an 80s band (I forget the name of the band but please comment if you know it) who recently sold their entire back catalog + their entire future catalog + free entry to any of their shows forever all for $100. For a superfan that's a compelling deal.

Ripping and Burning > P2P

Eric Garland and Tom Silverman talked about the so-called problem with illegal downloads. If it's hosted on an upload site like RapidShare, then "there is a place we can bomb", said Silverman, "but not with P2P." Research showed that more music is actually ripped/burned than it is shared via P2P.

Bombing the service provider is no solution when
"people and their insatiable appetite for free music
are the real problem." –Eric Garland, CEO, BigChampange.

Eric Garland and Tom Silverman talked about the so-called problem with illegal downloads. If it's hosted on an upload site like RapidShare, then "there is a place we can bomb", said Silverman, "but not with P2P." Research showed that more music is actually ripped/burned than it is shared via P2P.

The desire for free music isn't going away. Don't blame the consumer. Musicians need to find ways to work free into their strategy. e.g. Free downloads for email addresses. Use free to convert strangers into fans. Tony Van Veen said, "Free music is the way to do it. Aggressively offer free. Do swaps. Use P2P. ...Don't fear free. ...Build your list. ...Don't be afraid to steal a good idea and make it your own."


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