Today I was reading about a drummer named Josh Freeze and how he is marketing his first album as a solo artist. Josh Freeze has played with numerous bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Devo and A Perfect Circle and has recorded on hundred of albums. He is releasing his newest record, Since 1972, on March 31st. As a way to market the album, he is selling limited-edition packages along with the music. He is offering a free download of 1 song, or the entire album for $7, which is not too extraordinary. But he is also offering a lunch date with Freeze at P.F. Chang's or The Cheesecake Factory for $250, that is limited to 25 people, or for $2500 you can take 3 things from his closet, limited to 5 people, or for $75,000 people, you can take shrooms and cruise in Hollywood in Tool drummer Danny Carrey's Lamborghini.
However, this idea is not new. Nine Inch Nails did a similar marketing strategy in which they released their album, Ghosts, by either offering the album the first 9 digital tracks free on their album, or selling the entire digital album for $5, or a limited edition package for $300 would include the vinyl edition of the album in a fabric slipcase with 3 hardcover books containing the session files from the studio, a slideshow of the music, photographs, and other goodies. The limited edition package was only available for 2500 and they sold out!! What's interesting to me is that with all of the talk about internet piracy and digital downloads, artists still manage to sell records.
This goes to show us that some consumers are still willing to buy records if they find value in the music. For Nine Inch Nails to sell out of their $300 package tells us something. No one has to pay that kind of money and it is not usual for that kind of package to be offered for an album release in the first place. If piracy was so rampant that most people felt no real value for music other than free, then the $300 album package would not have been sold. These bundled packages seem to be a great way to add value to music. Die hard fans could especially appreciate the bells and whistles of an album and would pay for more. And those are the people that should be marketed to in the first place. Music is at most an intangible asset. It can easily be transferred, especially now with mp3 players, and can almost feel like it is and should be free. If it is bundled with other goods, it could be easier to market and profit from while also avoiding piracy. Some people are always going to try to get music for free no matter what. This happens in any industry, not just the music and film industry. There will always be a black market because every industry is affected by price and value of products. What I see as a new trend in selling music is finding ways to bundle the music with a medium that cannot be copied or transferred. This could include lunch date with Freeze, but it could also mean a vinyl album, or session files from the studio, or anything that is limited and therefore could assign more value to the music and give the fan more bang for their buck.