1) Develop a package - This could mean anything from a CD and a vinyl album, to a digital download and album with all alternative mixes, to a boxed set of CD’s or anything in-between (Trent Reznor’s Ghosts I-IV is a great example). The idea is to go beyond just the typical CD and digital offerings.
2) Sequential numbering - Numbering a physical product (for example; "#5 of 1000") gives it the feeling of exclusivity. The product becomes a special edition and a must-have for the true fan.
3) Tie it to merchandise - Offer a physical product that contains the code for a free download of your album. Mos Def was so successful with the T-shirt release of The Ecstatic that Billboard magazine even began counting it as a music release on their charts. Other artists have sold their music via codes on such items as golf balls, bandanas and even canned food!
4) Release a “double-sided” digital single - Rhino Record's digital releases celebrating 60 years of the 45 RPM single set a fine example for this format. For between $1.49 and $1.99, Rhino provided the original hit song, its B side (the flip side of the vinyl record) and the original artwork. You can do the same by providing two songs for price of one - an A and a B side.
5) Release on an old alternative format - We’ve seen some artists (The Decemberists Hazards of Love come to mind) release a vinyl-only physical product to great success. Cheap Trick did it on the old 8-track format from the 60’s, and some bands have even recently released on cassette tape. Releasing on a older format can be good as a publicity tool (as long as everyone else isn’t doing it) and who knows, maybe you can start a trend?
6) Release on a new alternative format - A new alternative format that’s getting some traction is flash memory, or the common USB memory stick. Once again, Trent Reznor met with great viral success by planting unmarked memory sticks in bathrooms at Nine Inch Nail’s concerts, and Sony even released the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Thriller on the format. Everybody uses these things so you’re bound to get at least a look, which you can’t always say about other formats.
7) Three Sides - Offer a song in an early studio version, the final mix, and then captured live.
8) Radical Mixes - Offer two or three very different mixes of the same song, perhaps even done by the fans.
9) Two Sides of (Your City) - Two different bands each contribute a track to a series chronicling your local scene.
10) “Artist X” Introduces _____ - Add a track by your favorite new artist/band along with one of yours. This is similar to a gig trade-out with another band that many bands use as a way to play in new venues. The idea is that the band you feature will also feature you on their release as well.
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