It seems like no one buys music anymore. Or rather, no one buys just music anymore; they want something extra. At least, this is the theory behind eMusic‘s new Access + Rewards Program, which offers eMusic’s subscribers discounts on merchandise and concert tickets, special offers on downloads, and sweepstakes for a number of random music-related opportunities (dinner with Shout Out Louds! Tickets to the Pitchfork Music Festival!). It’s similar to earning points for using your credit card, which can then be traded in for prizes.
As a strategy, A+R has a chance to succeed not only in driving sales but also as multi-headed marketing campaign. It encourages eMusic customers to support the entire industry not just by buying artists’ MP3s, but by going to shows, purchasing artists’ products, and supporting entities like the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, which I’d all but forgotten about until I found out I could get discounted tickets. In this economy, fans are much more likely to splurge on a ticket if they get it at a discount; it makes you feel like you’re receiving a bargain.
Of course, this concept will only be effective if the prizes are any good, and thus far, the goodies are a mixed bag. One company that offers a deal through the A+R program, MusicSkins, is a site where you can design tacky vinyl covers for your computer gadgets, and I don’t know who would benefit from that sale other than the genius behind the skins.
But of all the bundling ideas that are hurtling across the Internet these days, A+R looks like it could become one of the most successful at expanding retail.
Courtney Garcia has worked in the music industry as day to day artist management and support to a consultant on projects for the Grammys, American Idol and other extremely important companies. Previously, she worked for a music supervisor on the films Hustle & Flow and Four Brothers. When she realized the only person she liked was the Fed-Ex delivery woman, she moved to New York City to earn a living writing for blogs.