As I said in my last post I read review of online music stores. On Sunday we bludged around the house and I went to visit some of the DRM free stores they mentioned. Most cleverly promote themselves as iPod compatible :-)
At the moment emusic has a great big logo on the front and most things you click just have a register screen. After clicking on various of the smaller links at the bottom of the page I finally found a way to browse the site. I don't think that's a good marketing plan - how will I know if I want to register if I can't see the site.
Once I got to it's browse tab I thought it provided a lot of different ways of categorization of their music - genre, era, regions etc. I'm not sure I liked the idea of a subscription model. Although having 25 free downloads as their hook in is fairly clever - they you can get addicted before you have to pay any money.
Amie Street is the one I decided I'd probably most likely use. It's pricing model is quite cool. Tracks start as free and then go up in price based on how much they are downloaded. People can make recommendations and if the track becomes popular get credit. The recommendations becomes reviews on the songs. I think it would be a fun game.
Magnatune has a "pick your own price for an album" model. The bottom price is $5. So this is a more an honesty system. They had some very nice classical albums. Magnatune is a also or actually a record label. They provide good statistics on their sales.
They also do a good business in licensing of the music. They've got really great non-commercial terms for web-sites and podcasts and also have a really easy way to licence music for commercial use. My only reservation with this model is the guilt - what is a fair price. The angst.
It's similar to the model mentioned on the Freakonomics blog in the article on "How much is that song? It's up to you which was about SongSlide. SongSlide said they were doing a minimum price per song but at the moment had only low volume.
My Favourites So Far
I thought Amie Street had the most immediately rewarding sales gimmick - you could buy tracks for free but still help the artist - free stuff plus warm happy glow from immediate gratification - very nice :-) Plus I liked most of the sample music I clicked on.
Magnatune had a lot of different ways of promoting their music - encouraging sharing of songs, encouraging podcasts, easy licensing. That was cool - it said somewhere on their excellent write up on their statistics that 40% of their sales (ish) were classical even from people who came looking for something else.