An interesting thought occurred to me today when I was discussing the benefits / pitfalls of giving away music for free.
Every now and again, we may give an old song away as a free download for a limited period but never an album or even a new song. This is a decision that we made long ago, theorising that, as long as we always put in maximum effort in the recording and production; put as much as we could afford in artwork and presentation, people would be happy to buy our products as they offer good value for money.
Now, with the release of our “Normalityville Horror” album, we are seeing that, yes, people WILL part with their hard-earned cash in exchange for a great CD. And this got me thinking: is music you pay for now a luxury good?
If you were car shopping, you can go out and buy a Kia or you could go out and buy a Ferrari – provided you could afford it. Now, if money were no object, most sane people would go for the Ferrari – it is a luxury good, well made and, even though it has the same basic functions as a Kia, it offers so much more – they are almost in different categories – and they are much more desirable as a result.
Does that same thinking now apply to free music vs paid-for music? I am beginning to think that, as we have got more used to being able to get free music, we are beginning to look toward music you pay for as being a luxury good and – therefore – more desirable than free music.
It’s a theory on the psychology of consumers rather than a statement of actual fact but, you know, I think I might be onto something…