Digital Audio Insider -- the economics of music and other digital content


  digital audio insider

home

about/contact
Digital Audio Insider is David Harrell's blog about the economics of music and other digital content. I write from the perspective of a musican who has self-released four albums with the indie rock band the Layaways.

My personal website has links to my LinkedIn and Google+ pages and you can send e-mail to david [at] thelayaways [dot] com.

Support
If you enjoy this site, please consider downloading a Layaways track or album from iTunes, Amazon MP3, Bandcamp, or eMusic. CDs are available from CD Baby and Amazon.

links

music/media/tech:
Analog Industries
Ars Technica
AppleInsider
Brad Sucks Blog
Broken Record
Digital Music News
Duke Listens
Future of Music Coalition Blog
Hypebot
LA Times Technology Blog
The ListeNerd
Medialoper
Mediashift
MP3 Insider
Music Ally
Music Machinery
Music Think Tank
MusicTank
The Music Void
New Music Strategies
Online Fandom
Pakman's Blog
RAIN
Rough Type
RoughlyDrafted
Swindleeeee
TuneTuzer
Virtual Economics

economics/markets:
The Big Picture
Core Economics
Freakonomics
The Long Tail
Marginal Revolution
The Undercover Economist

mp3/music:
17 Dots
3hive
Fingertips
Shake Your Fist
Sounds Like the 80s
Unleash the Love

archives
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
August 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
June 2013
August 2013
February 2014
March 2014
September 2014
December 2014
March 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
October 2016

January 09, 2009

Amazon MP3's Best-Selling Free Album: What Does It Mean?
by David Harrell

Amazon.com mp3 banner

As Hypebot, Chris Anderson (author of the Long Tail and the upcoming Free), and others have noted, the album at the top of Amazon MP3's top selling releases for 2008 is a "free" album -- Ghosts I-IV, by Nine Inch Nails. (To be precise, the first nine tracks are available free from the NIN website, though the entire album was released under a Creative Commons license that allows for free distribution via file sharing networks or other methods.)

So is this proof of the public's willingness to pay for free music?

It is, in the case of one bargain-priced album by one already well-known artist (who also received a ton of attention and press for offering a free album). Ghosts I-IV has been priced at $5 since becoming available for paid download on Amazon back in March. My hunch is that the album wouldn't be sitting at the top the year-end chart if it were selling for $9.99 or more.

Amazon MP3 customers appear to be extremely opportunistic, taking advantage of the Amazon's one-day specials (where you'll often see $1.99 albums) and weekly $5 deals. (See yesterday's Coolfer post for a recent example of a $1.99 classical album moving 21,000 units in a week.) Many of the albums on the top 100 chart were priced at $5 for the entire month of December, and no doubt some of them were also daily or weekly specials at some point during 2008.

What I'd really love to see is the average price paid for each of these albums in 2008. Amazon.com folks: I know that a couple of you are regular readers, so if anyone has any details to share, I'd love to hear them.

Of course, the really big question here is still unanswered -- is there a price elasticity of demand for music, and can the music industry increase total revenue by selling more for less? That is, are the purchasers of these bargain albums simply pocketing their savings, or are the discounts encouraging customers to consume more music, spending as much or more money on recorded music than they would at standard prices?

The only published study I know of didn't reveal any such elasticity. But as I wrote last year, perhaps the discounts in the study (a drop in wholesale CD prices from $12.02 to $9.09) simply weren't enough to stimulate any increased consumer demand. If a price elasticity of demand actually exists, maybe the $5 album is enough of a discount to reveal it.

related: Price Elasticity of Demand for McCartney

tags:


link 2 comments e-mail listen to the Layaways on Spotify


More Digital Audio Insider: Newer Posts Older Posts



Subscribe:   RSS Feed



Add this blog to Del.icio.us, Digg, or Furl. Follow David Harrell on Google+.





The Digital Audio Insider Twitter feed:

    Digital music jobs: Looking to hire? Looking for a job? Check out the digital audio insider job board.



    Popular Posts

    A Long Tail Experiment
    By the Numbers: Using Last.fm Statistics to Quantify Audience Devotion
    Lala.com Owes Me Sixty Cents
    An Interview with Jonathan Segel of Camper Van Beethoven
    Price Elasticity of Demand for McCartney
    Sony and eMusic: What I Missed

    The Digital Pricing Conundrum series:
    Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four





    THE LAYAWAYS

    Out Now -- "Maybe Next Year" -- The New Holiday Album:

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/maybe-next-year">Joy To The World by The Layaways</a>

    "This is a sweet treat, deliciously musical without being overbaked for mass media consumption." -- Hyperbolium

    "Perfect listening to accompany whatever holiday preparations you may be making today." -- Bag of Songs


    O Christmas Tree - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    Away In A Manger - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or Bandcamp. Listen to free streams at Last.fm.



    album cover art from The Space Between

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/the-space-between">Keep It To Yourself by The Layaways</a>

    "...about as melodic and hooky as indie pop can get." -- Absolute Powerpop

    "Their laid-back, '60s era sounds are absolutely delightening." -- 3hive

    "...melodic, garage-influenced shoegaze." -- RCRD LBL

    Where The Conversation Ends - free mp3
    January - free mp3
    Keep It To Yourself - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or CD Baby, stream it at Last.fm or Napster.



    album cover art from We've Been Lost

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/weve-been-lost">Silence by The Layaways</a>

    "The Layaways make fine indie pop. Hushed vocals interweave with understated buzzing guitars. The whole LP is a revelation from the start." -- Lost Music

    "Catchy Guided by Voices-like rockers who lay it on sweetly and sincerely, just like Lionel Richie." -- WRUV Radio

    Silence - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    The Long Night - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at Last.fm, Napster, or Rhapsody.



    album cover art from More Than Happy

    "These are songs that you want to take home with you, curl up with, hold them close -- and pray that they are still with you when you wake up." -- The Big Takeover

    Let Me In - free mp3
    Ocean Blue - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at Last.fm, Napster, or Rhapsody.

    More Layaways downloads:

    download the Layaways at eMusic download the Layaways at iTunes

    the layaways website