Thanks to an post I read at TUAW, I got to thinking a little bit about “the product” music artists bring to market and how new models of distribution, access to the market and the ability to engage the community has changed things. Wayne Sutton‘s post on 7 Reasons why Twitter is good for the music industry was another post which got me to thinking about this too. What is the value of a creative product if no one knows about it? What is the value of a product when it is freely available? When does a creative product transition from free to fee? I guess these questions could be post/series in and of themselves, but each requires acknowledge.
With so many unknowns surrounding these question, many organizations and artists are erroring on access to their product as they engage the marketplace, rather than taking a protectionistic approach online. So why is it that some labels and artists aren’t on iTunes? I suspect it is just math.
I was expecting on my research to find a different set of folks not in the iTunes catalog then the last time I looks and this is not really the case. The list of folks is fairly long who aren’t in the iTunes catalogue, but talks continue with various holdouts, so maybe the landscape will change. Ultimately, it’s just a business decision to participate or not. For some access is more important than transactions, but I’m sure everyone would like to get paid if they could.
<insert transitional concept – oops don’t have one>
Kid Rock is still a holdout for iTunes, I only know this since I had to buy the CD to get it on my iPod, which is also another reason for this post. The retailer, Kid Rock and his label got 10X with my CD purchase which I suspects generates more revenue than a $.99 download. It’s appears that music has all the 4P’s of the marketing mix – product, placement, promotion and price.
I understand — ultimately Kid Rock has a product and he doesn’t want to sell his product for $.99 – understood. I’m not sure how the PxQ formula is working for him, but I would think it impacts cash flow which is pretty important in this economic climate. It took me like 4 months to buy the CD and I would have bought the single on iTunes months ago.
Curious thought — I wonder if this economic climate makes the holdout list a good deal shorter 18 months from now? A significant 1 time royalty payment and slices of $.99 downloads just might help generate the needed cash for some folks to make it out the other side of this market.
Why more artists aren’t on iTunes probably has a lot to due with industry influence. Yes, some artists on their, but yes, the .99 price gets some of them down for sure, as well as a lot less album sales.
Real truth though? I wonder which works out better for artists that aren’t signed with big labels and signing over millions of dollars in revenue.
If I were an artist, I’d think I’d prefer iTunes if possible to get on, just for the connection of being grouped with other artists in my category and the chance to be spot lighted to millions of users.
I think access drive revenue, so I would want to be in. I’m also a volume sales person, so P is less important than Q to me for PxQ on creativity based products. Thanks for the comment Todd!