We are celebrating our first anniversary and we’d like to share some reflections about variable pricing that we hope will shed some light on that topic. First of all we strongly encourage variable pricing simply because IT WORKS.
There has been much debate lately on what’s the future of culture in the age of Internet. These debates focus more on analyzing the problems that musicians and industry are facing rather than offering solutions for the present and near future so, ¿Which possibilities are left for musicians, artists and creators in the future?
Of course that’s something we will be responding to in 10 years time once the industry has reestablished itself after the the changes it has been suffering since a while ago (a date for the start of these changes could perfectly be 1999, the year Napster was born). However we can see now some trends we’ve been detecting firsthand that will probably grow bigger in years to come.
Artistic creations WILL NOT have a fixed price
All prices for products sold to the public are marked at a fixed price but ¿Why not changing that mentality? at KiteBit we started offering the feature of variable pricing to some of the artists working with us as people was actually asking to pay more for some products. This kind of engagement has traditionally been converted in merchandising sells but there was more than that, there was an evident willingness from some fans (20 % of buyers) to pay more for the featured product than what the artist was asking for but ¿why? simply because they wanted to support their idols, and they do so when they KNOW their money is not going to be diverted into an endless stream of middlemen.
That is a fact, and we’ve been experiencing it for a year now, we published our statistics a while ago here. The essential point is the emotional engagement that an artist develops with his fans. This interaction is much noticeable when an artist opts to do by himself what a label, a distribution company, or a shop did for him before. When the artist goes for the DIY mode is when the fans really feel close to him so they want to give him something in return.
Therefore we are in a position to break the myth that says “the digital content has no value” or “no one wants to pay for digital content”. It is not true, people pay for digital content and the digital era won’t change this.
According to our data over 8% of the followers of a band in social networks are willing to buy its music. It may not seem very much, and it is definitely not very much if the band has 500 followers, but what if this band or artist has thousands if not millions of followers? easy to start doing calculations of what can be achieved when a band with a good mass of fans receives all the benefits for what it sells .
Free access to cultural content is here to stay
When we first launched we decided to leave aside the problem of piracy, it wasn’t like joining the enemy when you can’t beat him, we preferred to focus our energies onto achieve different experiences that piracy can’t bring such as the relationship between artist and fan that starts when selling directly to them. In that sense we concentrated on giving the users willing to pay for their idols creations the best and the simplest of buying experiences. We also wanted to separate ourselves from what streaming services offer as we feel the artists should earn more out of their creations.
The less sign ins, the more sells
¿How many times as a user your intentions of buying something have been aborted because there were several mandatory registrations needed before completing the purchase? Time is precious and the speed at which we browse the internet, either from a computer, a smartphone or a tablet is simply delirious. Think about it, filling in your name, address, bank account, email, over and over every time you want to buy something is exhausting. We sincerely believe that the future is made of less registrations.
We are convinced that by getting this added value beyond music, engaging with their followers, artists will continue selling and adding up new fans, and if they chose to sell directly to the them it is far more likely that they will react positively buying more.