How do you make people pay for music when it's so easy to steal? In this TED Talk, Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls argues that making people pay for music is the wrong approach altogether. Instead, why don't we find a way to LET them pay.
I had written an article on the changes the music and entertainment industries have been facing for well over a decade when Beyoncé released her latest album "secretly" on iTunes (it's a good article, I would encourage you to click the link and read it when you're done with this video ... seriously). In it, I touch on a number of ways certain individuals have been revitalizing the old, outdated business models that still exist in the entertainment industry, and Amanda Palmer and her band have been pioneering some of those outlets as well.
Rather than stick with her label when they came down on the band for their album only selling 25,000 copies, they parted ways with the music establishment and instead turned to crowdfunding platform KickStarter to raise money for her next album. So how did it go?
25,000 copies of a $10 album is $250,000 in revenue. With the KickStarter campaign, Palmer was able to raise over $1 million from just over 24,000 backers. Remember also that these are all pre-sales because the purpose of KickStarter is to fund the project to get it made, not generate revenue after the fact.
Think about that for a second. Less people contributed what they wanted to contribute rather than what they were told they had to pay and it resulted in over a 300% increase in revenue. Now, that's not all profit of course. Studio time, equipment, manufacturing, and distribution costs all factor in and need to be accounted for once the album is made. But that was a reality when the label backed the album too, so the numbers are 100% comparable at face value.
Every day we see more and more innovation in how entertainment is distributed, and it's unfortunate that the major players in the industry have been so slow to adapt to the changes in the marketplace. Hopefully we continue to see real change that will bring better distribution channels to let the buyer choose how they prefer to consume their media.
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