Monday, March 7, 2011

The "Pay What You Can" Music Label

I always thought that Radiohead had the best idea when they asked their fans to pay whatever they wanted for their 2007 online release of In Rainbows. By all reports, In Rainbows ended up being far more successful than the band ever believed it could be, and didn't dent their traditional CD sales one bit when they released it about six months later.

This, I believe, is a great model for an artist or band just starting out. Ask your fans to pay whatever they want for online downloads. Ask them to pay whatever they want for CDs at your gig. They might surprise you with how generous they are, and even if they don't pay anything, it still means there's more of your product out in the marketplace. Remember, your music is your marketing in Music 3.0!

That being said, a new music label out of Detroit has popped up called BeeHive Recording, where people can pay whatever they want for the releases of artists on their roster. While this might work for an individual artist or band, I'm not quite sure how viable it is for a record label. Still, you have to hand it to them for at least trying something different.

Here's a video about what they're doing. I don't know where Steven of BeeHive gets his figures about what an artist gets paid from a traditional record contract, because they're just flat-out wrong (way too low). Even so, let that part of it go and listen to the rest.

The site has 600 site members and between 3,500 and 4,000 downloads have occurred so far.

Beehive Recording Company from Alec on Vimeo.


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