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In response to Radiohead‘s much-discussed “You can have our new record for free if you want to be a prat about it” plan, musician, blogger, and CP columnist Bob Mould proposes a handful of possible business models for selling his music online:
Individual songs, $1 – 2
When I finish a song, you are notified by e-mail. You are directed to a secure site, some sort of unique password is generated, and you download the DRM-free file.
Album length release, $10 – 20
When I finish a group of 10 songs, you are notified by e-mail. You are directed to a secure site, some sort of unique password is generated, and you download the DRM-free files.
Annual fee, $20 – 40
Artist subsidy. In return for underwriting my work, you receive all music as it is completed, as well as exclusive content (video, artwork, stuff from my storage space). When tours are scheduled, additional consideration at each venue (VIP seating, etc.).
Mould has attached a poll to these questions, and so far the tally is heavily in favor of Door No. 3. Of course, it’s Mould’s blog, predominantly visited by Mould’s fans, so the respondents are likely eager to hear/see/experience anything he does. (Still, last I checked, absolutely nobody wants to pay $2 for a track, which speaks to how deeply Steve Jobs‘ a-song-costs-a-buck mantra has penetrated.) All of which begs a few questions. How serious of a fan do you have to be of a musician to essentially subscribe to his or her work as if it were a magazine? If you’re a musician and do this, do you start getting into the game of subscriber-retention efforts if your fans cancel on you? And what if an advertiser would like to pay you to send a message to your fans?