Music Development On The Upsell

Online audiences are growing daily, and the most highly valued new sites have a number of things in common: they allow huge numbers of people to interact with one another, they provide simple means for users to post their own content and they provide easy access to existing content and/or services – for free. DRM now seems doomed, so how can the music industry adapt to capitalise on the ever-increasing numbers of music consumers online?

Get Them Hooked For Nothing

As every good marketer knows, the real value is in the upsell: it’s much easier to sell something to someone you’ve sold to already. So if you get people ‘sold’ on the basic music service – which must be free – then you can try to leverage that audience. But if you try and offer a lower-quality basic (free) service, the audience will either leave or not come in the first place – because there are sites already out there that offer a great user experience without the user having to pay a dime.

Music Development Online – What Will People Pay For?

On Monday I mentioned that despite the huge volume of traffic to the Yahoo! Music site, subscription revenues in this arena remain remarkably low. But why is this? The casual listener might point out that the main advantage sites like Pandora and have over Yahoo’s Radio Stations is the absence of ad breaks. There is a huge difference between having even one short ad every half hour and no ads at all. So you have to ask – which one would the consumer choose? Which one will help to grow audience share?

An added-value premium subscription could succeed if a number of important critera are fulfilled. What would it need to provide?

– value and perceived value ($6 a month isn’t much, but why not $4.99?)
– access to additional artwork
– access to higher-quality downloads
– plus some unique promotional angles – for example…

Other ways to develop value for music fans:

Discounts on CD purchases, discounts on concert and festival tickets, priority booking for high-demand concerts. This last feature could sell a site on its own – if you sign up knowing that you’ll never miss another sold-out concert again (because you were too slow with your credit card) that will make you eager to join, and happy to stay joined. With a Yahoo Tickets service, it would simply be a matter of reserving a certain number of tickets for members’ first refusal. Members could select the artists they are interested in reserving this option for, and in which location(s). There is obvious long-term value in being a member of such a site, especially if the primary service of digital music provision is up to scratch.


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