I originally wrote this piece for a column on my friend Steve’s online mag Beneath The Surface. Anyway it seemed to me the kinda stuff I’m up for posting on this blog, not to mention we’ve already debated similar topics in articles such as: Free Music, Free Music Reloaded and Am I Going To Make A Living With Music?.
In this very mini-article I’ve been told to ask myself the question: “What do I think is a fair price and what are my views on digital downloads compared to CDs, tapes and vinyls?”.
Below there’s my smartass answer, and after that I’ll add some other final crap I didn’t obviously include in the original version.
“When it comes to talking about digital download prices I see a lot of people crying and complaining about the good ol’ days when you could make thousands of hundreds of bucks just selling mediocre music.
Unfortunately I haven’t lived in those days nor I took advantage of that gold mine. Awkwardly I found myself making crappy music in this bloody day and age and what I see now is too much complaining and too little understanding -or indulging- of this unhappy situation.
I mean, without any doubt making money with music is turning out to be harder as each day goes by, but on the other hand this new era of internet and social media introduced new ways of getting your music out there. And possibly make a living out of it. So if you’d ask if I think paying for digital music is fair, I’d have to reply it is not (for at least 50% of the cases), for the other 50% a small token price is the best.
For example, when an unknown…ehm, sorry, I mean “underground” band sells its demo for more than 3 bucks (pounds, euros, chickens or whatever) I think it’s either too much expensive and offensive for their fans -if they actually have any-. Not to mention it may be also bad for their image. I already made these kinda mistakes, so I know what I’m talking about!
That being said, and now that everyone dislikes me I can say a fair price for such an album would be anything rounded to…FREE.
While if you already started building some sort of a fan-base, you may want to add a couple of bucks to that. The reason is I noticed that a lot of people tend to mistreat and eventually forget things they don’t have to pay for. While they usually care for something they had to open up their pockets in order to enjoy. That’s my rule of thumb, so to speak.
However, what I find quite sad (and disrespectful towards fans) is seeing music legends selling their digitals for unreasonable amounts of money. Seriously, I would never pay 10 € for a digital album, nor should you. No matter it has been crafted by Jesus Christ himself.
To sum it up, my opinion is simple: digital is fair between 0 and 4-5 € if compared to an 8-12€ CD or 15-25€ vinyl album. Higher amountswould be worth for the original first press of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon only.”
See, quick and painless. Of course you’ve read about those thing a dozen times already, but reviewing them won’t do you any harm. Also the topic is irksome and I can’t ever stress enough the importance of your digital downloads price. We all understand that a CD could be sold, fairly, within a 10/15€ range -I’ve never seen anyone trying to sell a CD for 50 bucks, have you?- but a digital album given away for free compared with one sold for 10€ makes a huge difference.
So, whose side are you with?
Are you the kind of guy who likes digital music and would gladly spend a good amount of money on it or you’re still “old-school” and the big-money are well spent only on worthy physical releases?
A Little Anticipation
Albeit all the beautiful and sweet things I mentioned here, there may be some cases in which a whole bunch of money (7-8€) could fit in with digital music. Have you ever wondered why the largest acts never drop down their digital albums prices? Is that only a matter of greed?
Answers can be found (maybe) in the next episode.