When I was a Freshman in college, I was walking through the campus with a friend, more or less, sticking to the well-established sidewalks. Suddenly, he broke off to cut through the nicely maintained grass, showing total disregard for the signs asking people to stay off.
"This is how they figure out where to put sidewalks," he said.
And he was right... The general public is lazy. If you're ever unsure of the easiest way to do something, throw it out to the general public and they'll show you how to cut corners you didn't even know existed.
When you're running a business that sells to the general public, this is important to remember. If you want to stay in business, you must make things easy on them. If you don't, they'll go somewhere else.
Always ask yourself, "How can I make things easier on my customer?"
Selling hamburgers? Don't make people get out of their cars to get them! Install a drive-thru. Or better yet, deliver the burgers to their homes.
I could give you dozens of examples, from every industry imaginable, but you get the idea...
Here's the first "big idea" of this post though...
If you want to make money in the digital entertainment world, whether it be movies, music, or anything else, you have to make it easier to buy than steal.
iTunes is within days of selling it 10,000,000,000th track. How are they doing it?
HINT: Read the "hamburger example" above.
People are cheap. People like to get things for free. Laziness trumps both these things though.
iTunes is winning the digital music game and has revolutionized the recorded music business because Apple knows this. Paying $.99 is nothing when you can hit a button and get something instantly.
There is one problem though... People hate DRM.
And now for the second "big idea" of this post...
People want to consume things in the easiest and most comfortable way possible. And for that, they'll do a little more work on the front end.
iTunes tried the "keep off the grass" method, but it didn't work. You can't tell people to stay on a sidewalk when it doesn't make sense for them to do so. And while it's kind of a bitch to wear down a new path, as more and more people do it, it gets easier. New systems are built which compete with the original.
Which brings me to the final "big idea" of this post... When you have the easiest and most comfortable way possible, you can sell more units and do it at higher prices.
Remember this when you're setting up the sales process for your music business. Had Apple started out with a 100% DRM-free catalog to sell, iTunes could have started at the premium price they're currently charging for DRM-free tracks, $1.29 per track, and they might very well have sold 20,000,000,000 tracks at that price by now rather than just 10,000,000,000, with an average price per track of $.99. Instead, non-licensed distribution systems like Limewire, Rapidshare, and MP3 Fiesta were born, as well as major legal alternatives such as Amazon MP3, which are all viable alternatives and taking money that could have gone to iTunes, had Apple listened to what the public wanted from the very beginning.
Questions for you:
- Where do you purchase music?
- How are you currently selling your digital content?
- Do you feel threatened by releasing non-DRM content?
- Are you worried about music piracy?
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