Mayer – Musical or Marketing Genius

I like John Mayer’s music. Many will say he is too mainstream now and will remember seeing him live before No Such Thing came was even on the charts. I don’t care. Like I said, I like his music.

I also think he is clever. He understands how the music business is changing and what he needs to do as an artist. Mayer is releasing 5 albums worth of material on iTunes this month. The series is called As/Is. These are his words (from iTunes):

What you hear is what you get. The wrong notes are as wrong as the right ones are right. In the end, the way the songs make you feel is the only thing that matters/

Each ‘album’ is consists of 10 songs from each performance, and each week in August, another performance will be released. The first performance is Mountain View, CA from July 16th.

I think this is a great idea. With the distribution costs at zero, there is nothing stopping artists from releasing all their live material. Why not offer every live performance you have ever performed? I have argued that you should be able to leave a concert with a CD of the performance you just heard. I would be happy to wait until I get home and download it. This could be a huge revenue stream for the artists.

I-Tunes To Save Music Industry

There was a short article about iTunes on CBSMarketwatch today.

I realized I tend to talk about iTunes a lot here. I like the product. I think it is leading change in an antiquated industry. It is interesting to watch that change from its beginnings only a year ago.

I only wish you could link to a song or album.

How to destroy a new business

The WSJ reports today that record companies are discussing raising prices for song downloads. The article says pricing could go to $1.25 to $2.49 from the current 99 cents.

First, the music industry doesn’t understand how online sales can enhance their distribution. The next natural step: when your new distribution channel starts to take hold, raise your prices.

I think 99 cents is too much for a single. I want to point you again to an outstanding essay by Bob Lefsetz. He thinks between 5 and 10 cents is more like it. Imagine how that would change consumption of music online.


You know I am always a sucker for penny references.

Hanson was on On-Air with Ryan Seacrest today.

The lead single off their new album Underneath is Penny and Me. You can listen to a clip here.

Like almost everything here at A Penny For…, there is a business angle to this post. I first have to admit that I like Hanson’s music. Their last album had stuff I enjoyed.

After they got done playing, I immediately went to iTunes looking to download Penny and Me. I couldn’t find it. They listed all of their old albums, but nothing about the new one. I hopped over to Amazon and found the album will be released on April 20th. I would love to know how many people did the same thing I did.

I wonder if the immediate availability of digital media is going to require a change in the way it is publicized. I would argue that Hanson missed out on revenue today by not having the album available for purchase. Honestly, don’t know if I will be as hot after the song a month from now. Fans of Hanson will be willing to wait. What about all the people who thought to give them another chance? Unless they start getting airplay, Hanson missed an opportunity to convert those prospects to customers.

Now imagine, Hanson ends their performance and says, “If you liked the new song, visit iTunes. The single and new album is available there today.”

What do you all think? Is there any point in creating pent-up demand for product that can be experienced two minutes after you decide you would like to experience it?