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Re: Bandcamp "let fan name price"

Am 11.08.2011 14:42, schrieb Michael Peters:
My Bandcamp albums aren't selling very well. I know I'm not gigging a lot
and very few people (outside of this livelooping community) are aware of my
music ... but maybe the albums are also too expensive (10 Euros mostly) now
that people are used to getting tons of stuff for free. Has anyone tried 
Interesting discussion so far...the short answer is "yes" and "can't tell", the slightly longer one.

1. why people buy your stuff:
For someone to buy your stuff (and for simplicity, I'll say "buy" even if the price is zero), a few things need to happen. The potential customer
a) needs to know about your album and where to get it,
b) needs to be interested enough to go have a look,
c) needs to be interested enough to download it,
d) needs to be willing to pay the price you ask.

In a simplified approach,
a) and b) are influenced by marketing,
d) is influenced by the price you ask,
c) is influenced by the quality of your product (insofar as it captures the listener/viewer quickly).

In your email, you did only look at factors a) and d), and you only considered changing d).

(Bandcamp can help you to get some numbers there. The absolute value for b is the plays on your album page. the absolute value for d is the downloads. There, you got a ratio).

2. prices...and costs:
Per sez:
"If anyone is capable of setting a prize on your music it is YOU! Why? Because you created it and you know what you need for compensation."

...which is true if and only if you replace the word "prize" with "cost" in that sentence. If you need €10 for compensation (by whichever means of calculation) but the customer is only willing to spend €5, then you won't sell anything. If you need €4 and the customer is willing to spend €10, then your margin is €6.

All in all: the price is set by the customer, never forget that.

You may or may not have an understanding what your cost total is. You do, however, have a very simple way to find what your order-to-delievery cost and margin is. (that being, the cost from the moment someone decides to buy the thing on bandcamp until he has it). The cost is what bandcamp/paypal etc. charges, the margin is what remains after that from the price. The design and production costs, in this case, don't play that much of a role here, simply because they have already been spent. It's different if you decide if you're gonna to release another album or spare yourself the trouble because nobody buys it, anyway...

3. marketing muscle:
Several posters (e.g. Daniel, Reyn) agreed on the marketing muscle required, and how the business works to this regard. Sadly, a decently successful bandcamp artist on this list, Matt Stevens, hasn't commented on this so far...sadly because. From what I understand, Matt has fairly good sales from bandcamp, although he lacks the record company marketing muscle many of you mention. There's independent bloggers out there, and podcasters. There's possibilities to simply use the most trustworthy marketing method - word of mouth among like-minded people - by using internet things.

The trick here is: using those marketing media, while you have only mild success in increasing factor a) above, factor b) increases to very high values (meaning: if someone reads about your album in an album he finds interesting, he will pretty quickly at least click that link and have a listen at your album. And if he's already there and continues to read a good review, he might just buy it as well).

4. what is a good price?
For me, it always seemed odd if a digital download was as expensive as a physical CD...then again, I don't know what physical CDs cost nowadays, but it still seems to be possible to get one for between €10-15. Some people may not share my idea that "a digital album is much cheaper to make, so it should be cheaper", so this line of argument could be moot.

Let's put it in perspective to an artist who is a) a looping artist, b) from all I hear successful in using bandcamp: Zoe Keating. Her albums are $8 (or in other words, only a little more than 50% of what you charge, Michael). The aforementioned Matt Stevens usually follows the "pay what you want (including free)" route, and seems to generate income from that as well.

Another reference: Robert Fripp - $10.

So what about your reasoning that so much is free, is that too expensive?

I don't believe that for this reason, "free" is a selling handle anymore. If you go to bandcamp/jamendo/whatever today, you can have shitloads of shit...free. Conversely, and also as a result of this I believe, people are still willing to pay for something that has a reasonable price.

Again, what is reasonable? I'd really say that pricing this way above e.g. Robert Fripp might just be something your average customer may not see as justified.

5. personal experiences:
Usually, my stuff is "pay what you want including free". Still, I don't get many downloads. The largest number of downloads I had in a two-week period was when I had an album that was only available for a limited time and which, different to my other albums, actually had a minimum price (€3,14 I think). People usually rounded that up generously.


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