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Evaluating a System for Selling and Delivering MP3s?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the many-eyes-first-impressions dept.

Music 551

Dredd2Kad asks: "I'd really like Slashdot's opinion on this. I recently secured an MP3 distribution deal with an indie record label, and negotiations with other indie labels and artists are in the works. The music will be distributed through my internet radio station's website. As you know, if you can sell music in a format such as MP3 you eliminate the costs of packaging, shipping, handling. You do have to contend with bandwidth charges though. Most indie labels and artists seem happy to pass along the savings to customers and stimulate sales. What I have built is simple and functional. We are trying to add value to the MP3 albums we sell by including quality artwork that can be printed onto CD labels and jewel case inserts (so you aren't just getting a 'bunch of files'). What would make you want to buy music in this way? What types things would turn you away? What are the positives and negatives of selling music in this manner? Do you think this is a viable alternative to someone who doesn't want to pay $10 or $15 for a physical CD? Does the format the music is in or on have an impact on how serious you take it?"

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551 comments

GNAA fr0st piss (-1, Offtopic)

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Price Point (5, Interesting)

felonious (636719) | more than 10 years ago | (#6450960)

The main problem dogging the Recording industry is price. Price is what the main issue is for most of us. 99 cents or under is a good place to start.

People also want quality features. (5, Insightful)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451029)


The problem is people think selling mp3s is a good idea, you have to sell services and INCLUDE mp3s.

Selling mp3s is like selling webpages, people will not pay on a per site basis, EVER.

However, people will pay for quality and service, people do subscribe to gaming sites, if you offer it at a cheap $1 a month, or $12 a year, people will subscribe. You also must offer alot of things in the members sections, not just mp3s, but video clips, tourdates, blogs, forums, pictures,interviews, etc. You have to make it into almost an online magazine, you need to build a community, then you charge people to access that community

You charge the fans to access a SCENE, because to the fan, its all about the scene, just like to the musician its all about the art. Treat it like what it is, art! Do not treat it like product, when you treat it like product and worry about how many sales of mp3s you'll get, you wont sell any.

I suggest you let a person subscribe to your site, your fans will subscribe, you may only have a few thousand fans, but thats enough. 5000 people paying $12 a year, is decent money, more money than you'd make trying to sell mp3s.

Re:People also want quality features. (-1, Flamebait)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451100)

Selling mp3s is like selling webpages, people will not pay on a per site basis, EVER.

Bullshit. Pure, absolute, flowing, coffee-brown bullshit.

iTunes. Argument over. Have a nice day.

Re:People also want quality features. (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451141)

>5000 people paying $12 a year, is decent money

That's enough to pay for hosting and bandwidth plus two salaries, if they like eating Ramin noodles 3 meals a day. That's Web Guy, who'll we'll charitably assume does the recording and editing, plus a drummer. You'd better hope that you can find 5000 people that like drum solos.

Re:Price Point - A Better Price is Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451143)

Come on,
We all know the best price is free and that once it's released its free!

The only thing I would like (4, Interesting)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 10 years ago | (#6450961)

Might be the option to have cd quality files (different format maybe?), maybe for a slightly higher price.

Especially if it's something like ambient music, where hearing everything is important.

possibly also, the cds (1)

da5idnetlimit.com (410908) | more than 10 years ago | (#6450979)

I know yours is a Radio biz, but maybe the possibility to buy pre-printed or burnt-on-demand cds could be a nice side-income...

Re:Options (4, Informative)

JamesP (688957) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451013)

I guess I am picky sometimes but here goes... 1 - the ability to manage downloads: if the guy loses his connection/ computer hangs/etc when (s)he is downloading and is not able to resume it they will be very p... off Besides, if (s)he has a dial up connection, (s)he will want to download the songs little by little... 2 - Encoding quality. Depending on the kind of music, higher encoding rates (160/192 for MP3)are a must. Example: heavy metal, music with lots of left/right channel division,etc. You may experiment having lower quality samples (32/64 for MP3) for free You may also want to experiment with other formats AAC and OGG are very good even at 128 (almost CD quality) WMA is good but has two problems (IMHO). Closed source (but there are linux players) and quality shifts a lot depending on the kind of music... Another option is to have "golden ears" flac files (more expensive, of course...) Offering the jewel cases is a good idea. I don't think you should charge too much for these (or maybe somthing like: buy the whole CD and you get the picture...)

Re:The only thing I would like (3, Insightful)

jdvuyk (651327) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451015)

Quality is important!!

I think the key is to give people choice. I know if I was presented with downloading ONLY 128k MP3's I would probably flag it, no matter how inexpensive. I want to be able to choice my own format (OGG, MP3, whatever) and ALSO at the bitrate I want.

For me vari-bitrate is where its at. Its a decent compromise on most factors. I cant understand why more people dont use this.

Re:The only thing I would like (2, Interesting)

Tet (2721) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451016)

Might be the option to have cd quality files

Agreed. Ideally, I'd like (soon to be Ogg) FLAC and Ogg Vorbis as options, rather than, or perhaps as well as, MP3. I generally prefer to encode my own Oggs, so FLAC would be the ideal starting point. I like the idea of jewel case inlays. Ideally these would be in a neutral vector format like SVG rather than a bitmap, but even just PostScript or PDF would be fine. Oh, and obviously, I'd like my kind of music to be available. The problem with pretty much all online music stores is that they don't cater to my niche [uk.com] tastes [astradyne.co.uk] (mostly Euro power metal, Norwegian black metal, and a bit of goth and glam metal thrown in for good measure).

It should be better than what we have. (5, Insightful)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451060)



Theres two options. One option is to sell the product, I dont really think this would work very well but it would make some money. .50 per mp3 is sometihng people would be willing to pay if you are good, if you arent all that good, .25 per mp3.

Micropayments are an option.

The other option is subscription option, and this is the option I think will ultimately work. If we treat music like we treat TV, and we create channels for certain labels, you can charge someone to subscribe to a channel.

So on your site if you are a channel, you list the price of all your musicians, and combine it up, then offer a subscribe button which a user clicks and makes payment to subscribe.

Once they subscribe for maybe $1-5 a month, the user now can access all the music from that label as long as they pay their fee, or you can charge them for the whole year, charge them around the price of a CD, maybe $15-20, and they can access the music all year.

There should be more than music, this means the whole community, the blogs, the forums, the pictures, video clips, everything you offer and you should offer as much as possible.

Look at AOL, they are king not because they offer the net, we all can get the net, they are king because they offer the features people are willing to pay for, they improve the net experience.

Its your job as a music company to improve the listeners music experience. INNOVATE, dont treat the listener as a sale, treat them as a member.

Quality (4, Interesting)

robbieduncan (87240) | more than 10 years ago | (#6450971)

The format itself does not really matter (to me). I would prefer AAC, but MP3 is fine. What really matters is that the encoding is at a high enough bit rate and was done well. Correct id3 tags and artwork help too. If format is so important to people you might think about offering multiple formats in the downloads (I'm sure a lot of people around here want ogg).

The best sales technique...MP3Linux (-1, Redundant)

jkrise (535370) | more than 10 years ago | (#6450974)

Is to make a distro - okay use an existing distro, add your MP3s collection. Give it a name - MP3Linux sounds good, I hope no one else has a trademark on that.

That's about it - get your indie group to keep adding MP3s with ever new kernel release, and you'll make a pile before MS releases LongHorn.

-

Re:The best sales technique...MP3Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451128)

Hahaha, I realize that this probably is a troll, but God, that is the most retarded idea I have ever heard.

Re:The best sales technique...MP3Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451169)

Have you considered jumping off a cliff as a alternative to telling jokes to amuse people ?

I pay attention to the music (4, Insightful)

kevinatilusa (620125) | more than 10 years ago | (#6450976)

Regardless of whether I can print fancy jewel case covers/inserts out, I wouldn't really see your music as "just getting a bunch of files" any more than I would see a CD as "just getting a bunch of 0's and 1's". Ideally, I would like to focus on just two things, the quality of the music you play and the quality of the transfer of the music into the file. I would be willing to pay much more for those things than I would for the extras you mention.

Adding value (5, Insightful)

dew-genen-ny (617738) | more than 10 years ago | (#6450982)

I'd love to see as much thought that goes into a cd album being put into this :

Specifically, I'd definately pay for a package that contained:

High quality vbr mp3s.
Multiple peices of album artwork, not just a scan of cd-album front cover.
Lyric files to all the MP3s.
Where available guitar chords as well.

I think that copy protection would be a big turn off. For indie bands, I reckon that the majority of people would be happy to buy, even if they could get it for free, just as a matter of support.

Perhaps an introduction to the album by the artists concerned.

And of course, some decent music ;)

It may sound bizarre... (2, Interesting)

Stinky Glen20 (689507) | more than 10 years ago | (#6450984)

but I would have the option of having a CD shipped with the tracks burned on it in either Audio or mp3 format.

Print out the artwork and insert that too.

Just for the techno-cripples out there.

It would be interesting to see how the cost of such a CD stacked up against the price of a standard, retail CD in the stores.

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Turn offs... (5, Insightful)

duffhuff (688339) | more than 10 years ago | (#6450992)

What types things would turn you away?

Juit quickly:

1. Low quality and / or fixed format files. MP3 has a large market penetration and LAME is a great codec for 99% of the material, but I'd like to be able to download FLAC, WAV, OGG, or something else. Preferably a clean open lossless standard i.e. FLAC. If the track costs more for the high-quality version then the regular MP3 version I'm okay with that.

2. Forced to purchase a full album over single tracks. This is a big turn off for me, as I find only a few tracks are really worth it.

3. No preview of tracks. I'm not entirly sure if this is bad or not, but some way of previewing, either by a short clip, or a really low quality version of the song, is definately nice.

4. No support for countries outside of the US.
Obviously the US would be the biggest market to start out with, but support for Canada is a cruicial second IMO. Apple's iTunes Music Store doesn't (to my knowledge) support Canada yet, so I can't yet take advantage of it. Ideally, the system would be able to easily support all countries, perhaps with credit cards this is possible, but I see some possible legal implications here.

Re:Turn offs... (1)

mrpuffypants (444598) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451065)

Apple's iTunes Music Store doesn't (to my knowledge) support Canada yet, so I can't yet take advantage of it.

No, it doesn't just yet, but word is that it should be soon.

Each damn country in the world has their own distribution policies so a company like Apple has to go to each one individually and negotiate with the reps there. It's a pain in the ass for sure but I don't see it changing anytime soon.

Re:Turn offs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451074)

---snip---
4. No support for countries outside of the US.
Obviously the US would be the biggest market to start out with, but support for Canada is a cruicial second IMO. Apple's iTunes Music Store doesn't (to my knowledge) support Canada yet, so I can't yet take advantage of it. Ideally, the system would be able to easily support all countries, perhaps with credit cards this is possible, but I see some possible legal implications here.
---snap---

Ooohhh - great wide open:
Countries (Plural) outside the USA: Canada ...and earth is flat...

Think of it.

Warning... innovation killers lurking.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451093)

This site is getting heavily astro-turfed. Innovative ideas get stalled [nwsource.com]

Watch out!

Re:Turn offs... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451101)

One of the biggest turn-offs for me is when a site does not respect my privacy. Here are a couple things to consider:

1. Don't assume that you can send any promotional email to an email address that a customer enters. Make customers explicitly check a box that says "It's okay to send me promotional email". Make sure your marketing people really understand this. They will be under great temptation to just grab the entire list and spam the shit out of it, and if they succumb to that temptation, you will suddenly have a whole lot of people that want your business to fail.

2. Make sure that storage of customer credit card data is one way. Your front end should write credit card numbers to the back end database and never ever be able to read from it. If I return to a site that I ordered something from before and I discover that it "conveniently remembers" all of my credit card info and automatically fills in my order form with any of it (see dotster.com and godaddy.com for examples of this) then I get out of there and I never do business with them again. The back end should also be storing that stuff encrypted.

Good luck! May you sell many many MP3s!

Re:Turn offs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451111)

4. Well, duh, of course you think Canada is a crucial 2nd since you live there. I don't see how Europe isn't pretty crucial either since all the english proficient people here probably have at least the same or a much higher purchasing power than those in Canada.

I visited this site - and actually I liked a lot of the rock there. I know, it's just $2 for the Give album of 5 tracks - but I'd be much more inclined to buy the rest if 1 track was provided for free. Why? Because the 700KB from the beginning of each song is just not enough to really know if you like the music. All Give's tracks were just about starting after 700KB - so I have actually not a very good idea what their music is like. Provide 1 for free - and you'd have a much greater chance of making me get my Visa out.

Re:Turn offs... (1)

Zeromous (668365) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451167)

Canadian support is most definately crucial. We are one of the most connected countries on earth (per capita). Broadband penetration here is as wide if not more than South Korea (which I believe most recently was named "tops" in broadband) depending on how you measure. The advice on offering a more expensive lossless option is also a good one. Whoever said guitar tabs is also thinking on a different level, what a great idea! Now thats Opensource Music.

As long as they don't suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6450993)

I would probably buy something like this, but I have high standards...I must be able to listen to the music without wanting to pry out my own eyeballs with a spoon and poor molten lead in my ear canal.

If you can deliver THAT, then you will have the market cornered, believe me...

NR

Lossy versus lossless compression (1)

zoeblade (600058) | more than 10 years ago | (#6450994)

Personally I really like the idea of buying non-tangible music online, with no queueing, no stores being closed due to the time of day, no having to wait for something to arrive in the mail and no wasted CDs being produced that no one will buy, ending up on a landfill somewhere.

I'd only buy such music in practice though, if it's distributed in a lossless format (.wav, .aiff, FLAC, whatever), because I might want to encode it to mp3 to listen to on a personal player, or Vorbis to copy it to a friend online and so on.

Re:Lossy versus lossless compression (1)

MrZilla (682337) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451134)

Using "I might want to copy it to a friend" as an argument for being able to buy the songs in a lossless format won't exactly help..

Would be wicked (0)

Playboy3k (552242) | more than 10 years ago | (#6450998)

I would like to c forums for each band where the band are on the forums. Also high bit rate fast downloads and a really stable service, dont forget a cheap price like 25c a song or under.
THanks

Media Quality (2, Insightful)

togofspookware (464119) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451001)

Well, as long as you're distributing MP3s and expecting people to burn them to CDs, just make they're nice high quality. like > 128kbps :-P

From what I hear, Vorbis is good, too...

Other advice: just keep your site accessable. Don't use frames, flash, font tags, tables (for non-table things), or too many images. People are (supposedly) there for the music, not for your flashy web site.

What you have isn't too bad... I wouldn't want to deal with that HTML, though :-)

ugh (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451002)

We are trying to add value to the MP3 albums we sell by including quality artwork that can be printed onto CD labels and jewel case inserts (so you aren't just getting a 'bunch of files').

So now instead of buying an album which includes artwork, booklet, blah blah blah... You have to download the damn things, print them yourself, etc. I'm sorry, but that's too much damn work for me. Plus, the result would look so unprofessional which makes it feel cheap, and I hate cheap.

This is so not the way to go. CD is a fine format. I like having the physical CD, I like having the physical artwork, I like CDs. I don't like the idea of paying money for bits and bytes that represent music.

They should find a way of distributing physical media at lower prices. This is just like books vs "electronic books". You can't beat holding the thing in your hands, placing it in your shelf, looking at your massive collection... But whatever, I guess.

Re:ugh (4, Interesting)

lennart78 (515598) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451020)

I have to agree here. I have quite a large CD collection, and I take pride in that. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but it's a sentiment that you will find among a lot of other people.

Plus, there is the case of the 'limited edition'-CD of course, which will become extinct once distribution is fully digitized.

Buying MP3's off the Net is an option for me if I want an individual track, but not the entire CD. But if I want the full album, I'd prefer a physical disk, with a nice booklet etc...

Re:ugh (4, Informative)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451113)

"This is so not the way to go."

Don't listen to this guy!! Or rather, do listen to him, and others as well :-)

What I mean to say is that the market for music is rather diverse, and you will probably end up catering to a subset. Yes, some people like physical CDs. If you can manage to let such people select tracks, burn the CD for them, stick in a nicely printed sleeve and ship the physical thing to him for $15, you could capture this part of the market.

But... there are plenty of people (like me) who do not care one bit for the physical product. I have lots of CD's, which I only play in my car stereo that I plan to replace with an MP3 or MiniDisc player anyway. I buy the CD, then rip the songs off it. I play my music from the computer at home. In the car or on the walkman I like to compose my own albums rather than play the prepackaged ones, so I use custom-burned CDs or MiniDiscs.

My point: do a proper market study to find out who your customers actually are, and what they want. I seriously doubt that you will find one "way to go" or that "this is so not the way to go.".

Make connections, promote new artists... (0)

IGu (596616) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451003)

I like to get suggestions about other music that people bought, related to what i buy. Like when you buy a book. You could also promote new artists in similar style.

What I'd care about (3, Interesting)

kiowa (5743) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451004)

1. Easy payment by VISA, no paypal.
2. Allow for some freebies so you can check out the band before you buy.
3. High quality files (more than 128kbit mp3), and allow the option of selecting either ogg or mp3. Although you might be eligble for paying royalities if you go with mp3.
4. Fast downloads.

Albums (4, Insightful)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451005)

What I have built is simple and functional. We are trying to add value to the MP3 albums we sell by including quality artwork that can be printed onto CD labels and jewel case inserts (so you aren't just getting a 'bunch of files'). What would make you want to buy music in this way?

Firstly, I would like to say that this isn't intended as a slur on your musicians.

You must understand where the album came from, why it exists. It is an example of technology leading art. When the technology existed to fit n minutes of music onto a record, musicians started to produce works that were n minutes long. This is why first there were singles, then albums. This has meant that much of what is on an album is filler. I'm looking at my rack of CDs now, and most of them I bought for a few (3-5) great tracks out of a total of roughly 10. The MP3s I have online to listen to aren't complete albums, just the good somgs from each album. There are plenty of albums I can put on as background music, but few that I'd actually want to listen to. Some vendors (like Apple) are starting to understand that the album is an artificial construct... what people really want are individual songs, delivered efficiently. You can't do that so easily on CD, because there isn't so much of a price differential for a retailer to stock a CD album as a CD single (i.e. transportation costs, staff costs, etc are all the same). But now you can, with the network and the MP3 format.

So, the thing that would make me buy online is being able to construct my own "greatest hits" album from a musicians entire catalogue, and get it sent to me on SACD or DVD/A. I'm not even worried about buying compilations of different artists - I can do those myself on my HD after all.

This model is bad for some "artists" because it means they can't make money from filler, but it's good for real artists and their fans, because the percentage of an album that's worth listening to (and hence buying) is so much higher. And it's bad for record labels either way...

Re:Albums (4, Insightful)

Tet (2721) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451072)

There are plenty of albums I can put on as background music, but few that I'd actually want to listen to.

Then I can only say that your listening habits are significantly different to mine and most of the people I associate with. It's rare for me to buy an album with more than a couple of poor tracks. The artists I like fairly consistently produce a solid collection of tracks with very little filler. There are a few exceptions, the odd one hit wonder that really doesn't have the songwriting ability to make a full album of music. But that's the exception, not the rule. Perhaps that's a consequence of listening to a genre of music (heavy metal) that's so under represented in the mainstream media that the concept of a single is almost unheard of. Most of my favourite bands only make albums -- there's no point in making a single, because it's never going to get played anywhere anyway. Or perhaps it's some other reason entirely...

P.S. Today's music recomendation: Masterplan [master-plan.net]'s eponymous debut album. Feel the soulburn...

Re:Albums (2, Interesting)

eric76 (679787) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451122)

I have very few albums that have any filler at all.

But then, I don't buy the album just to listen to the popular songs (i.e. the songs that the record companies are promoting).

Use your MP3s for marketing. (2, Interesting)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451006)



You wont make alot of money trying to sell mp3s, however if your mp3s are 40-50 cents each, it will work. I'll buy a few mp3s if you dsell them for 50 cents each, price is the issue.

I suggest you make your mp3s cheap, and make them high quality 360. Let us pay via paypal.

Another way to handle it, if you dont want to go this route, is to let fans subscribe through paypal for say $1 a month. For $1 a month they recieve access to a site you setup which has mp3s on it, comments from the band like a band blog,pictures of concerts, and a list of when the concerts will be in the area etc.

Sell your services, dont sell your mp3s, people want to pay for services not for music. Do what AOL does, dont sell the websites, sell the service, set it up so we have to pay to access the blog, the mp3s, the pictures, and anything else a fan may like, make them pay to access the forum, and use MP3s are just part of the whole package.

give away a few mp3s so new people can listen and see if your band is actually good, but keep everything else for subscribers.

Video clips, Mp3s, Forum, Blog, Pictures, if your band is good, fans will pay for this.

Re:Use your MP3s for marketing. (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451086)

"Sell your services, dont sell your mp3s, people want to pay for services not for music. Do what AOL does, dont sell the websites, sell the service, set it up so we have to pay to access the blog, the mp3s, the pictures, and anything else a fan may like, make them pay to access the forum, and use MP3s are just part of the whole package."

Hell no. Stick to your core business: music. Yes, do the rest as well, the blogs, pictures, and so on (I like the ability to obtain CD cover art), perhaps as a premium service for subscribers. But your core business is music: sell that! When I visit the site, I will do so to download music, and I'd be willing to pay for that. If I'd find enough music to interest me, I would take a subscription if it was offered. I might be interested in cover art, artist blogs and video clips, but if I had to pay to access these, I would simply do without them. My advice: offer these additional services for free to hook your customers to your site, and hope that it'll make them buy more music from you.

That said, it's a good idea to set up subscription-type plans, where a user pays a monthly fee for limited or unlimited downloads, ie. charge $0.99 a song, and $15/month for 50 songs each month. Perhaps offer subscribers a few extra services.

Also think about selling download bundles / gift certificates! Ie. an (electronic) gift certificate for 50 songs that you can order and mail to someone else for their birthday. If your current customers like your service, they'll want gift certificates and with those they will do your marketing for you, in a way.

Re:Use your MP3s for marketing. (1)

scrm (185355) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451162)

I'd like to second this. I was a member of the Kosmic Free Music Foundation [kosmic.org] from 1997 on. As the name implies, anyone could download our music for free.

However the group, and our website, generated a lot of traffic and interest and I think the users might have been willing to pay for access to certain services in order to communicate directly with their favorite artists, have access to chatroom sessions for Q&As, get 'members only' info or betas of upcoming tracks. Let the music prove you're good by putting it out for free, and once the fans are locked in, they won't think twice about paying to get privileged access. (N.B. We never did this, but I guess that's because it would have been 'against the spirit' of the demoscene.)

Selling 'cover art' is a waste of time IMO; as some people have already pointed out here, it's not worth the hassle of the printing process.

Another thing that Kosmic did was to sell archive CDs (containing, e.g. a year of tracks) and T-shirts. Alright, we're moving away from the core issue, but afaik these always sold OK.

Amazon It! (5, Insightful)

plasticmillion (649623) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451008)

I agree with all the previous comments: price, speed, choice of quality, etc. are all important. I would add in this context that having an online account would be a big plus, so that I can pay in a certain amount (say $10-20) and then buy tracks out of that account, rather than having to bill my credit card every time for $.79 or $.99 or whatever.

Most importantly, the user experience needs to be attractive since this is a very competitive space (and a lot of your competition has a compelling price point: free). Take a long, hard look at Amazon.com, which is the best e-commerce website I know. Notice how they have striven to make the purchasing process fun and informative. Notice also how the information-rich experience they provide helps to cross- and upsell customers ("People who bought X also bought Y"). If you can include ratings, recommendations, user comments, etc. in your site in a way that is slick and easy to use, that will definitely help to attract and retain customers.

Your idea is genius (1)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451078)



Another improvement would be, instead of buying tracks we should buy memberships to channels.

These channels, or sites should provide forums like this, and many many exclusive innovative features, interviews with the band, and whatever else. And include mp3s with the package, but not AS the package.

In the same way an AOL user gets AIM, Mozilla, Winamp, and all these cool software, but its not why they pay for AOL, its just what makes AOL a good package.

I don't like mp3's (1)

hhnerkopfabbeisser (645832) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451017)

When you have a nice stereo and are already annoyed by bad or mediocre recordings, making them sound worse with lossy compression is not really desirable.

If they are encoded 256kbit/s or lossless, I might think about it. Until then, I'll have to buy music in physical form.

And no, I'm not audiophile, just an enthousiast.

Personal opinion (3, Insightful)

Compact Dick (518888) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451018)

No, I don't give a shit about printable stuff as of now. Could change in the future.

However - one thing about MP3. When you're converting concerts [or anything else where the tracks are seamless] MP3 does not cut it*. Why? Because the MP3 specification does not allow gapless playback.

Stick to Ogg Vorbis or MPC instead, which are natively gapless [not to mention of higher quality.] The former is patent-free, royalty-free and more flexible than MP3. Plus Winamp has native support.

* There is a proposal that aims to calculate gaps from MP3/AAC/MP4 and remove them, but this isn't implemented in any player/decoder yet.

Some comments (2, Insightful)

lpret (570480) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451019)

First off, kudos for doing whole albums instead of track-by-track. This allows experimentation and breadth of style.
If I were to be downloading these albums, something I would worry about is bitrate -- whether you encode at 128 or 192 or anything in between. I don't listen to rock, but when I'm listening to a techno track at 128, I cringe at every flaw and makes it quite unlistenable. Also, I'd be worried that if I downloaded this and then my hard drive went kaput that I wouldn't have access to it anymore. Of course it may be best to burn to CD as soon as it's all downloaded.

Things I Like: I like having stuff in .mp3. I have 3 mp3 players so it's much easier to not have to convert and as is especially the case with indie stuff, enter in the id3 info meticulously. I like the lower price. 2 bucks for a whole album? Sure I'll give 'em a whirl, especially if I heard them on your internet radio. I think internet radio sites need to become publishers more often so that people who hear the music can find it. I like your model: listen to IR, hear a song you love, go to your website, find the album the track is on and download it for 2 bucks, knowing you'll love at least one track but possibly more.

Again, kudos, if I listened to punk or metal or whatever, I'd give you a spin for sure.

Re:Some comments (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451157)

> First off, kudos for doing whole albums instead of track-by-track. This allows experimentation and breadth of style.

Only if it's marketed as "Buy five good tracks, get five three minute guitar solos free!"

If only (1)

Anonymous MadCoe (613739) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451022)

$10 or $15 for a CD would be a normal price. Overhere 25 Euro is more in the ballpark with "friendly priced CDs" being somewhere between 10 and 20 Euros.

Most things I buy are between 20 Euro en 40 Euro...
10-15 would be a great improvement.

Re:If only (1)

lennart78 (515598) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451052)

I personally never pay over E. 20,- for a CD. I think any price over E. 20,- for a single CD is grossly overrated, and the excess money only ends up in Hilary Rosens pocket.

Go for the independent record store, or look through the 'special offers'-section. You'll find a lot of good stuff there, for a decent price.
(Unless you want the new Britney Spears album NOW!, then I guess you're just screwed, but then I won't give a rats ass about it :) )

Re:If only (1)

Anonymous MadCoe (613739) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451075)

I do get things that are lower priced (the "friendly priced CDs I mentioned). But stuff that's just been released (no not Britney...;-) and that I like, is more expensive, no special offers there. And yes this is at my local specialty store which I support because they know their stuff and are willing to look for obscure things too...

selling graphics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451030)

Speaking of adding-value with graphic artwork. You can sell posters. "Dropship" via printer. Just send your printer orders and files. A scant extra effort (it's not like you have to have youre own shipping dept or anything) and you've got maximal album art.

Why should I buy music via MP3? (1)

N_gaAdy (688653) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451031)

I believe that MP3's purchased on the internet will continue to be a limited venture for the obvious reasons... 1. People can usually find the mp3s via illegal means, meaning free 2. People who really like a band and have money to spend on legitamite means, also like having quality music, which tends to be lost with the majority of mp3's. 3. Cover art is important, but more importantly is that CD's are purchased in a package with other songs. Many artists will create a CD album to include songs in a specific order and complimentary to each other. I can imagine that mp3's will be sold separately to avoid 50mb downloads. 4. The extras that were mentioned in other replies are not huge selling points. Tabs and such are useless to everyone who doesnt play guitar. Cover art to a person without a printer is just a background on a desktop for a week. All of these things should be provided by the band because they want to serve their fans. Bands have to have a demand before they can sell the supply.

I may not be typical but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451033)

> What would make you want to buy music in this way?

That it's easy and legal.

> What types things would turn you away?

non-flexible solutions like DRM. ... and music I don't like :)

> What are the positives and negatives of selling music in this manner?

Pos: It's easy and should be more competitive.
Neg: It's not done very often and often with too high a price tag.

> Do you think this is a viable alternative to someone who doesn't want to pay $10 or $15 for a physical CD?

Yes. If the price is right. That's Does the format the music is in or on have an impact on how serious you take it?

Yes.
WMA: No way.
MP3: Hmm... patent issues.
Ogg: yes
FLAC: great.

Fair price, good product and good community (1)

nicholas. (98928) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451034)

i'll echo the requests for quality. how about customer choice 160 kbps lame mp3 or 128 kbps AAC (m4a)?

other things that would be nice, the full liner notes. not just cover art, but maybe a pdf of the cover and contents. lyrics, photos bios etc. given that all of art is produced on a computer this doesn't seem too difficult.

most importantly, all the convience of the iTunes music store, but with a rating system and community feedback like amazon has.

if you could provide all of this for 79 cents a song or $8.00 an album there'd be no reason not to shop with you.

good luck

Information for potential customers (1)

andrewbaldwin (442273) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451035)

The thing I as a customer would like to see is some form of classification / genre grouping with supporting information.

One of my major gripes with the music industry now is that newcomers / unfamiliar bands are caught in a trap.

I may be tight-fisted but paying £££ for a new band I've not heard is a risk so I'm stuck with buying stuff which is relentlessly plugged on the radio (and which, to my tastes at least, is mostly bland dross catering to the "safe" markets beloved by the 'suits') OR sticking with "old favourites" which mean that the survivors of the 60s, 70s and 80s occupy a disproportionate part of my collection.

Offering small (possibly lower quality) samples for rapid downloading, together witha genre/"sound like..." listing would encourage people like me to experiment. I'd happily pay to download new stuff If I knew what I was buying - especially if it supported the smaller, independent music sectors.

Couldn't care less about the jewel case (3, Informative)

goldenfield (64924) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451036)

I've burned all my music, and carry it around with me on my iBook/iPod. Then, I threw away all the cases, put all the CDs in binders, and put the binder in a box in my basement.

The point is, I want the music for the music...I'm not really interested in whatever packaging it comes in. Thats just something else I have to carry around while I'm travelling.

What I do care about is:
* Fast Downloads
* Price

A fundamental concern... (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451038)

Since it's more than likely that our good friends from R*AA and MS etc.. are gonna be astroturfing this site, and building their strategies based on some of the posts - methinks it wud be nice not to post any bright ideas.

Look what MS did to Schnazzle recently!
OMG: Google's taken off the article entirely. I'll dig it up shortly anyways.

-

Re:A fundamental concern... (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451171)

>R*AA and MS etc.. are gonna be astroturfing this site, and building their strategies based on some of the posts - methinks it wud be nice not to post any bright ideas.

Yes, it would really suck if they abandoned cartel price gouging and started selling high quality singles at low prices in high bandwidth uncrippled formats. Where would the madness end?

You don't have to pay for bandwidth (2, Insightful)

trikberg (621893) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451039)

You do have to contend with bandwidth charges though

Is this really necessary? As I've posted before I think a different approach is possible. Set up a site where people can select songs and pay for these using whatever method you prefer: credit card, paypal...

Once they have paid they are free to acquire the song any way they can. This could include you providing a torrent or a slow download, but users are equally free to get the song from any P2P network or by copying from a friend, relieving you of much of the bandwidth costs

This has the effect of legitimizing P2P networks which is why big brands are not going to go for it for a very long time. It does however give small brands an easy entry to online sales. Users take care of the distribution and you only have to provide them with a way of paying.

Re:You don't have to pay for bandwidth (1)

radja (58949) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451132)

downloading music is already completely legal, at least it is here in the netherlands. this is analogous to recording from radio. copying from a friend is also legal, as is borrowing the CD from a library and copying it.

Feture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451041)

I would like to see a feture that enables you to download CD's you bought in the past over and over again. This way you dont have to worry about loosing you data after paying for it.

Factors (3, Interesting)

falsemover (190073) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451047)

my wallet is tighter than a clam's butt, unless:
  1. the web site page response is zippy
  2. the catalog was well designed
  3. it enabled me to match my preferences with new artists
  4. the site had good editorial control so I don't have to wade through a lot of junk to get to a reasonable file
  5. downloads are slick
  6. information about the artist was provided; eg discography
  7. there was peer review of files (eg. star rating system)

Re:Factors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451124)

Uhm, wait a sec... Clams have butts?

Ogg Vorbis (3, Insightful)

SmilingBoy (686281) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451048)

A big plus would be if you offered the files both in MP3 and Ogg Vorbis [vorbis.com].

Ogg Vorbis would also save you some bandwidth cost as files with the same quality are smaller than MP3 files.

Ideally, you would want to encode at quality setting 5, which results in pretty-close-to-CD-quality. This is about 160kbps at the moment and the quality is, IMHO, a tick better than a 192kbps MP3.

One thing... (4, Funny)

MartinG (52587) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451056)

One thing you really need is some publicity.

A good trick is to cleverly craft and advert for your site and then cunningly present it as an "ask slashdot" question, thereby getting free advertising to huge numbers of people.

I would do something like that if I were you.

The Good and the Bad (1)

binarysearch (605184) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451057)

You'll need a number of things to even have a chance of being successful. Keep in mind that you'll be competing against things like the iTunes Music Store (hopefully coming to Windows by the end of 2003); thus, price per song will have to be less than a dollar; not a big deal.

Selection is important, but not in the same way as with popular, "name-brand" songs/artists; this is indie music, after all, and so the specific songs won't be as important as the general number (and don't forget quality somewhere in there...)

Having a good UI will be vital: people should be able to find the songs they want easily, find other songs to match their preferences, etc.

Providing artwork is a good idea. I really can't stress enough how important it is to have a good interface, especially with something like this.

Good luck!

I would not (2, Interesting)

najt (178981) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451059)

I would not. I'm a big music fan and collector, and there are several problems for "us" :)

- lossy compression and other problems with MP3
- CD-Rs are inferior to silver discs which will last me a lifetime and not fall apart in 5 years
- there is no cheap & quality way that I could print out an album booklet and inserts
- I consider an artist's album (cd, booklet, packing) a complete piece of art and that can't be substituted with getting a bunch of files.

Re:I would not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451088)

I would not. I'm a big music fan and collector


This is for people who listen to music, not for people who collect music.

Try collecting stamps :)

Re:I would not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451099)

Absolutely. The artwork and liner notes are an important part of what makes purchasing a "real" CD worthwhile. Maybe a CD-R is appropriate for throwaway hip hip and popular music. However, legitimate musicians will want their art preserved in the archivally superior silver disc format. I would not even consider purchasing anything else.

Allow international cards/addresses (1)

Alan_Peery (621338) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451066)

One of the very common mistakes I find on smaller US sites is the ability pay with a non-US card. Your address verification must allow for a wide variety of addresses.

A second problem is that of allowing non-US shipping addresses for a card that has a US billing address--but that won't apply in your case.

OT:credit system (1)

jpnews (647965) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451067)

The poster mentions what most of us realized many years ago: aside from production of the music, bandwidth is now the only commodity necessary for distribution. Bandwidth has replaced packaging, to some extent even promotion costs.

So now for the off-topic section. Why isn't there a credit-based, RIAA-endorsed P2P system yet?

If I buy the new Celine Dion CD, rip the music and offer the tracks to others- I've done all the work. If someone pays into an RIAA credit system and then spends X amount of credits to download MY rip- who loses? I've provided the bandwidth, while I've received only a fraction of the credits- which I can use to buy more music from another user who has done the same thing.

Meanwhile, the RIAA P2P system is collecting the majority of the profits.

That idea is genius!! (1)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451087)


You should really finish that idea up and write a paper on it.

Its genius, as long as the RIAA isnt involved, I like your idea better than any other.

Give the downloaders credit (1)

Neoporcupine (551534) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451069)

Give people who actually pay for the music some sort of credit, like a logo or icon they can include in signatures or on web pages that show they support independant music. May even have an indicator of how much the user has actually paid for. This image would also refer back to your site. Maybe even send out badges, hats or shirts when you buy x amount (and they pay for shipping). Maybe a nice FURIAA logo?

Other services (2, Informative)

eric76 (679787) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451079)

I currently subscribe to both AudioGalaxy's Rhapsody service and to the emusic.com service.

I don't use p2p at all.

The nice thing about emusic.com is that for a fixed price per month (approximately $15 based on a 3 month contract), I can download and burn all the CDs I want. My music tastes are quite varied (classical, jazz, country, new age, easy listening, folk, gospel, rock, and some that aren't so easy to categorize) and so I get my money's worth from that service.

Actually, I don't usually burn the CD as an audio CD. Instead, I write the mp3's to a CD and play it in a DVD/CD player. That way, I get about 8 or 9 albums on one CD.

Rhapsody is nice for the more in depth selections in many of those categories. They do have a CD burning option, but I've never used it. I think it is something like 79 cents a track.

As far as the question you are asking, how much I'd be willing to pay would really depend on the music and how much I wanted it.

If I really wanted it, even $1.50 per track wouldn't be bad. But part of that is due to the fact that the nearest record store with a decent selection is about 100 miles away and I only make it there once every year or two. If there was a record store nearby, the downloaded music would probably have to be about $7 to $10 for the entire album to tempt me.

But I'm probably not at all your typical purchaser.

Ideal solution (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451083)

The backend admin rips all the CD tracks (lossless - flac, shn, etc; lossy - mp3, ogg, aac) with a unique ID attached to them, as well as alternate rips in low-quality ogg or mp3 for streaming to the NAS tied to the commerce store.

The Method
Customer browses the store --> Previews albums, tracks --> Saves them to the wishlist or adds them to the cart (which calculates the duration of 80 minutes dynamically) --> Places order by a credit card --> The system then fishes out the selected tracks into a temp directory, queues and burns them --> Pick up the finished CD, package and ship.

Few things that could make the experience even better.

1) Customer can select alternate CD cover art as well as jewel case insets, even be able to add own text (which would be possible by ImageMagick [imagemagick.org].

2) User can choose to make mixed mode CDs (data + audio), which could also include live performance clips.

3) During the checkout, if the audio disc compilation has extra space you could offer promotional (Free) tracks to be burned by having the user to select from the list of songs as a filler (when met a certain minimum number of purchased tracks to avoid abuse)

4) Customer can choose his own compressed format (mp3, aac, or ogg). In MP3's case, they can opt out to select the tracks with or without ID3 info, which should be very easy to achieve by stripping the metadata after automatically copying them into a temp directory. This is important because ID3 tags are sometimes incompatible with some portables.

This would be the perfect solution to a complicated problem. And shouldn't be costly since there won't be any overhead in software costs - OSS got you covered.

Internet Distibution (2, Interesting)

Snoobs (43421) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451089)

As a business model, selling digital files online seems like a great thing. You can reach a world wide audience, you don't have to pay for shipping, packaging, and like you said, distribution is the cost of bandwidth which these days is about $20 a month at most web hosts (unlimited bandwidth).

As a DJ, the one thing that I notice is that it is better to get a physical product into the hands of as many retailers on the web as possible and use MP3s for promotion. As a format, i don't think that I would ever pay for MP3s, there just not worth it. I equate it to radio. I check out songs that I have heard about to see if they are any good. If they are than I buy them on VINYL!!!!! But that is just my personal preference.

If you find that you are actually selling mp3s, all the power to you, but I think you would be better off investing some money in real product and getting it into as many online and real stores as possible. Follow that up with promotion online and off.

I think there is great potential for digitally distributed content, but as musician, you must be creative and try to get your music out as many ways as possible. See how much money you make selling mp3s. If it isn't much, than make them free to promote your album on CD, cassette, vinyl, minidisc, or 8-track

Huh? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451092)

Just so we're clear, you've secured an MP3 distribution deal BUT YOU DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW HOW YOU'RE GOING TO DO IT?

Geez. Better hope your Indie Band doesn't read Slashdot.

Partying Like It's 1999, eh? (3, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451095)

"Albums?" "Bunch of files?" Ye Gods, man, why? It's been years since music packaged as an "album" was meaningful. Unless your boys are the next King Krimson or Moody Blues, they -- and you -- should be focusing on distributing their work on a song-by-song basis.

"Artwork?" See above. Lyrics, sure. Give us a link from your Website. Band photo? Okay, fine, whatever. But artwork? Cute, but not a whole lot of value added, IMO. The odds of your band's tracks living on their own CD in my collection are tres slim.

Price? Competitive with iTunes. Less than a buck per song. Per Song Want the ability to preview each track I buy.

Format? I'm a 256kb/s Ogg man myself, but it's tough to argue for that against the vastly more popular MP3. You are aware that the second your avaerage customer downlaods a track from your site it will begin to swirl about the planet freely on P2P networks across which you will receive no compensation? I trust the bands have another surce of revenue (touring, day jobs) and aren't planning on getting rich from MP3 sales...? If your sales just about cover your prep and distribution costs, and you categorize the whole venture under "PR" or "Promotion," I'd say you would have a winner.

I want a hardcopy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451102)

Im that kind of person, that when I buy software always order the hardcopy.. harddrives to go to hell, I know, it has happend, and more then twise. I dont want only files. I want files archived on CD. (this goes for music to)

Free the music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451104)

The music wan'ts to be free!

release it in mp3!

fileshareers will share thee

Fade out (1)

LS (57954) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451110)

The mp3 samples are nice, but I have a couple of suggestions. Make them a bit longer, so that at least the first hook is heard. Even having two-thirds of the song is up there won't prevent people from purchasing. Some of the songs don't even begin before they are cut off. Speaking of which, use some audio editing software to fade the pieces out so it isn't such a slap in the face when the song ends.

LS

Keep track of my purchases (1)

samael (12612) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451112)

I don't have a huge backup tape system.

Burning my complete collection onto CDs as a backup would be incredibly sucky.

I want the server to keep track of what I've bought and allow me to 'resynch' with it if my hard drive blows up.

The last thing I want is to have to pay for my entire myusic collection again. (Which is what you have to do with iTunes).

Quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451115)

I think that one of the ways you can add value to your collection as a whole is to be choosy about which bands or songs you provide. You will have more value to more people if you are providing a kind of filter on the content.

Also, it seems that providing downloads in FLAC format would be popular. However could I suggest that you provide a program to automatically extract these files to .wav format, in order to be ready for burning to CD.

Some ideas (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451119)

Multiple formats and qualities would be great.

Price has to be reasonable (less than $1 minimum, less than $.50 would be ideal)

Subscriptions would work in addition to per-track

CD orders would work in addition to per-track and subscriptions

Catalog site should be very plain and work very well

A more elaborate promotional site might help

Downloads should be fast and reliable

nice idea but? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451120)

what would u do to get peoples attention in buying mp3s instead of people finding them somewhere else for free? Cause they have a recipt to show riaa proof? and what would happen if the person had a hd failure or had to format? Could they redownload it for free? And what if they burn the files then copy it? all little questions...that come to my mind. oh yeh another thing...i don't believe mp3 players can play .ogg format
.

Here's my list (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451121)

Fuck albums. I don't listen to albums, I don't burn albums, I listen to and burn tracks. Don't force me to buy filler. If your artists are producing typical RIAA albums that are three good singles quality tracks and a bunch of filler, that's their problem, not mine.

I can preview RIAA music on the radio, on MTV-a-like channels, and in some music stores before I buy (oh, and I can share it, but let's pretend I only do that after I've previewed it elsewhere). How can I preview yours? Remember, this is per track. Don't give away the best track and then expect me to buy filler. I suggest you give away low bitrate previews, and that you consider them a marketing tool. Go ahead and mangle the intro and outro if you like, fade it out halfway through and then voiceover the URL where you can buy it, heck, I just want to get a feel for the style. Encourage people to share these sample tracks on P2P services. It's marketing, not piracy, and it saves you bandwidth.

Sell in the format that your customers ask for. mp3, wma, ogg vorbis, whatever people ask for, and in the bit rates that they ask for. Don't assume that everyone will want super-high bitrates, I generally downsample to 128 mp3's anyway, as the difference in quality is negligible on a portable device. Storage is cheaper than bandwidth, so store multiple bitrate versions. If you don't want to store every track in multiple formats and multiple bitrates, consider storing at high bitrate in one format then converting and storing new formats on demand. You can almost certainly convert faster than you can upload, so there won't be much of a delay even for the first person that asks for something. You won't have to do it that often, because (cue the denials) there won't be a large intersection between people that will actually pay for music and those that will only accept it in ogg vorbis format.

Don't sell crippled tracks. Don't even countenance it. If you treat us like thieves, you give us little incentive not to act like thieves. Be honest, acknowledge (explicitely) that customers can de facto share the music, but suggest - politely and in a positive way - that we share the demo tracks instead. Thank us for doing so. Thank us for purchasing. Make us feel good about helping your artists out.

Cover art, meh, whatever. I'd prefer lyrics, artist bios, trivia, something to read while I'm listening or downloading, but it wouldn't effect my decision to purchase either way.

Pricing. Well, the market will decide, but I feel that a dollar US is reasonable - for tracks that I've previewed, and which are in the format that I want. More than that, and I won't bother. Force me to buy albums, and I won't bother. Wave any "licensed for US distribution only" crap in my face, and I won't bother.

Does this sound like I'm expecting you to bend over backwards? Yes. Welcome to the cartel run music business. You're competing against a billion dollar marketing machine, so you need to offer sweet deals and rely on happy customers and good word of mouth to make this fly. Good luck.

What I'd Like To See (1)

f2professa (569060) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451123)

Provide FREE downloadable compilations. Make the compilations come with band interviews, slideshows, etc. Make it something we look forward to every six months/year. Brand loyalty starts with making a product that people believe in. Give us a reason to believe. We want to buy your product if you do something cool and INNOVATIVE, not just give us jpgs of cover art.

Sell music, not fluff. (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451131)

You described the advantage of selling MP3 as reduced costs, no packaging etc etc, and then you go on to try to figure out ways of adding extra things. I sense some confusion.

Dude, sell the music. Only. And sell it track by track, not per album.

If you want to be fussy about it, you could add some header info or better yet some bit overlayed (post encoding) purchase info to track folks "sharing" it, but other than that, keep it simple. People are used to the idea of $1 == 1 song, so if you can, just go with it.

The problem of course is that at $1 per sale, transaction fees become a problem, so you'll have to figure out some logistics first. Debit accounts could work, but you'll need more than one band to get people interested. Maybe selling "singles" rather than full albums would be the go, at like 3 bucks a pop or something. I dunno, but the golden rule of online selling is make it easy and make it fast.

Something I would like. (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451136)

I would readily pay for a CD-to-order service. Let me hear a sample of the tracks and order the ones I want in a CD, it can be a CD-R. With sound levels properly normalized and nice cover art, of course. Sent by mail to anyplace (never underestimate the bandwith of a station wagon full of tapes, and so on and so forth).


This of course is more interesting as the volume of the songs database grows, but I guess its a relatively easy to implement, and I for one would like it a lot.

we need total freedom (1)

crux6rind (609204) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451145)

just prepare for the fact that when i bought an album from your site, i want to stored and played it on my main PC, media PC on the living room , my laptop , burn it on CD ,and who knows what other music players i will purchase in the future. that means, we want to be abel to copied it an multiply it. i pay for it. its mine

Integration (1)

Tsk (2863) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451160)

what would make me buy MP3's is something like the Itune and the Apple Music store integration . do something like it that support more platforms and you've got a deal.

People want to be able to listen some tracks (or parts of tracks), like they do in music store before buying the electronic version of the track - this has to be very easy to do. Buying should also be simple and not take 5 minutes/per track.

Business model (0)

brian6string (469449) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451161)

I think this guy is on to something. Let's consider what's wrong with FM radio:

-lame playlists
-commercials
-you hear a song, then it's gone
-no way to buy a song you just heard, learn more about the group, yadda yadda

If your radio station could provide options that address these things, you might score a winner.

1. What if you agreed to provide airtime on your station to bands, and give listeners the ability to download and purchase tracks they just heard (or by name).
2. You could fund the station by a small percentage of sales, instead of running ads for The Gap. Alternatively, you could run ads in the player window if they were COOL (not on-line casino) and unobtrusive.
3. Free downloads. Each day you could provide a free download of the day.
4. Provide options. A lot of people will want to buy just a song.

Some might want links to similar songs, or see what listeners who bought that song also bought. Or see what songs listeners like (you could have people vote for songs). Look at the way Amazon and CDNOW try to steer you to buying another album or book.

Some people will want to buy a whole album.

Some people might want lyrics, guitar tabs, even sheet music.

Obviously, links to band websites, and fansites would be a must.

You also should be able to see where the band is performing next.
5. It's about the music. Ultimately, this thing will take off only if the music is good. As much as I might gripe about lame, limited FM radio playlists, record companies, etc., you have to provide a viable alternative, musically. If the music on your station isn't good--really good--it'll be hard to make a dent. You need someone with a good ear, who can pick songs that have wide appeal. Call me. :-)

Remix (2, Interesting)

munter (619803) | more than 10 years ago | (#6451163)

If I was to buy your music, it'd be cool if you could supply the tracks so I could remix the tunes if I wanted to. I'd also include a really easy way to get those tunes back to you. And if my remix is good enough, I get credited in the remix album. 50 Million bedroom dj's can't be wrong.

IMHO the basic concept to audible success is interacting and mixing with your audience. Your audience wants to interact with you. Let them - they'll love you for it.

Selling CD's is just physical mode/layer 1 broadcasting. That's why the business model is flawed.

The GNU culture is to interact - not to consume

ISOs? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6451164)

Why not have an option to buy an iso file for the people with the bandwidth?
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