Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Achievements - The Scheme in Detail.

Getting Fans Their Music, and Musicians Their Cash

Time = Money
      So is it possible to give fans their music, without making them pay.... while giving musicians their rightly earned money?  We think so, however it would involve a major change in the marketing scheme, which we admit would take a long time to implement, but everything has to start somewhere.  So let's look back at our inspiration - Jesse Schell.  Although he spends a lot of time talking to facebook, eventually he starts to talk about addictive marketing schemes.  Right around the 9:00 mark, he starts talking about Mafia Wars, a game on facebook, where it is initially free, but to be part of the 'elite' or to be better than your friends, you need to pay money!  Like Schell says "Anything you spend time on, you start to believe, 'This must be worthwhile. Why? Because I've spent time on it, and therefore it must be worth me kicking in 20 bucks.'"  Which goes along with the old adage "Time = Money".  And this is seen all over the place now, in facebook games like Mafia Wars and FarmVille, MMO games like Everquest 2 and Warhammer Online, to all sorts of trial memberships to certain websites like eHarmony.

So Why Don't People Consider Music Worth Their Money?
     Now you would probably be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't consider listening to music they like worth their time.  So if people find their music worth their time, shouldn't it be worth their money?  Well the problem with this logic is that people don't know if a song is truly worth their time and money till after they have listened to it probably 5-7 times.  So because someone doesn't know if a song is worth their time, they download it, that way they can trash it if they don't like it without feeling like they wasted money.  But most people wont go back and legally pay for a song they like after they have the downloaded version, because they already feel entitlement.  So we need to find a way to promote music-goers to still want to buy stuff from musicians, but that may only come as a success if musicians give their songs away, and market things people can't pirate off the internet.  But how and why would they do that?

Tracking Downloads and Free Advertising
     So there are two parts to these 'addictive marketing schemes' that Schell talks about.  The first is making the consumer get to know the product, and find out if it is worth their time.  So how do musicians do that?  Well if musicians gave out their songs for free, it would serve as free advertising.  This way, people can download multiple songs from an artist, and find out if they truly like said artist or not, and if listening to them is worth their time.  This will also increase how quickly a song would spread; I wouldn't share a song with a friend until Ive listened to it a few times, and I can't do that unless I have the song myself, assuming I am not listening to a friend iPod.  But we also want musicians to benefit from this, so how could they?  What if musicians could track where their songs are downloaded?  Not like in a big brother sense, but like a national survey.  Well this would be cool for the musicians,  but if people continue to pirate, songs are commonly misnamed, so artists would not be able to track their demographics as much - iTunes is already able to discern between stolen and bought songs, so if artists didn't give their songs away, they probably wouldn't track the illegal ones (source).  While artists could still track their demographics through iTunes... the amount of people that DON'T buy from iTunes greatly outweighs the people that DO; at 200,000,000 (2005) estimated users its safe to say more people pirate, considering a lot of those registered users pirate (source), so iTunes will never be able to accurately display the popularity of musicians within specific regions.  This is why musicians should give their songs away as a lead in, to show people that their music is worth the listeners time.
Turquoise is where people listen to Bob Dylin, and Pink is where they listen to Britney Spears tribute bands.

Now for the Addictive Money Maker
     The second part Schell talks about, is once a person has spent enough time on something, they will consider it worth their money.  So now if musicians are giving their music away as a lead in, what is the pull?  Well right around the 20:00 mark, Schell talks about being watched and rewarded for everything you do.  While this might be a bit futuristic and 1984-ish, he may have a valid point, and this marketing scheme could work for musicians too!  Reward fans for buying merchandise and going to concerts of the bands they love, the bands they have downloaded from, and listened to enough to consider themselves fans of.  Create a "Music Fan App" on the iPhone/iTouch/iPad.  Someone considers themselves a fan of RHCP, they download a song and get 5 points on the "RHCP Fan" page of the "Music Fan App".  Now that they are a virtual fan of RHCP, they see they can get a lot more points and prove their fandom by buying a RHCP cap - 20 points - the code to get the points is marked on the cap.  And now they can see who of their friends is a RHCP fan too... but they see one of their friends is a more 'achieved fan' and they want to show their friend otherwise.  So they go to a concert and on the ticket is a code for 100 fan points!  Don't think thats enough to pull people into buying merchandise?  Give them coupons, people love coupons!  After they have earned x amount of points they get a small coupon off of certain merchandise... after they get x more, they get bigger discounts, after x more they get a free large pop at the musicians next concert.  People love getting coupons/free stuff, and if Xbox360 has showed us anything, people love little icons of meaningless points that show what they have 'accomplished' - There is an entire account on Youtube devoted to unlocking achievements, and its very popular!  We think both of these could be implemented into a musicians marketing scheme and both sides would benefit.

Musician benefits:
-Free knowledge of demographic
-Wider/quicker spread of popularity
-Not being stolen from
-Not having to deal with record companies
-Free advertising
-With knowledge of demographic, comes good places to put physical advertising, and increase of merchandise.

Fan Benefits:
-Free music
-You aren't stealing from artists
-You wont be sued
-Artist will start to put out more merchandise - giving you a wider variety to buy
-Maybe a greater chance for an artist to perform in your area
-Achievements to prove how big of a fan you are

Other possible benefits:
-With the fall of illegal downloading, people may become less accustomed to getting stuff for free, which will lower their contact with pirate sites such as Piratebay.org, which will lessen the public's knowledge of downloading movies/games/software, therefore helping more company based medias like movies and software companies.

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