When Your Art Is Cheaper Than a Latte

Most music is free these days, and that is dragging down prices in the paid market.

But are you comfortable with your latest album being cheaper than a typical latte?

Not everyone likes where this is going.  In response to some very aggressive pricing on AmazonMP3, Sufjan Stevens and label Asthmatic Kitty Records have expressed discomfort with price-points that fall below a morning brew.

That includes daily album deals that crash below $3, though it remains unclear exactly how the latest Stevens album will be discounted.  Asthmatic was also unclear on that question, but a bargain bin is hovering.  “A low price will introduce a lot of people to Sufjan’s music and to this wonderful album.  For that, we’re grateful,” the label posted.  “But we also feel like the work that our artists produce is worth more than a cost of a latte. We value the skill, love, and time they’ve put into making their records. And we feel that our work too, in promotion and distribution, is also valuable and worthwhile.”

The album, The Age of Adz, gets officially released October 12th.  The label is encouraging fans to buy the album through Bandcamp instead of Amazon.

 

Here’s the complete letter…

So. We have it on good authority that Amazon will be selling The Age of Adz for a very low price on release date, not unlike they did with Arcade Fire’s recent (and really terrific) The Suburbs. We’re not 100% sure Amazon will do this, but mostly sure.

We have mixed feelings about discounted pricing. Like we said, we love getting good music into the hands of good people, and when a price is low, more people buy. A low price will introduce a lot of people to Sufjan’s music and to this wonderful album. For that, we’re grateful.

But we also feel like the work that our artists produce is worth more than a cost of a latte. We value the skill, love, and time they’ve put into making their records. And we feel that our work too, in promotion and distribution, is also valuable and worthwhile.

That’s why we personally feel that physical products like EPs should sell for around $7 and full-length CDs for around $10-12 We think digital EPs should sell for around $5 and full-length digital albums for something like $8.

So you might wonder why we’d ‘allow’ Amazon to sell it for lower than that.

There are several reasons why, but mostly? It’s because we believe in you. We trust you and in your ability to make your own choice.

2 Responses

  1. feldscott

    The folks at Asthmatic Kitty raise a valid point: music has definite value! But the argument shouldn’t just be about proving the value of music. It needs to be about providing value to the fans.

    While there’re multiple opportunities for exposure via Amazon (millions of potential customers!), there’re far more benefits to selling Sufjan Steven’s new album through a Direct-to-Fan platform like Nimbit.

    For example, if “The Age of Adz” was being sold via Nimbit…

    –Sufjan Stevens would earn more money per sale!
    –He’d collect the fan info from everyone who purchased off his website/Facebook/MySpace. That info allows for future marketing and creates fan engagement opportunities that he’d never have otherwise!
    –He could offer special VIP-Packages which bundled concert tickets, merch, and music all together.
    –Nimbit fulfills every order! No worrying about packaging and shipping.
    –Did we mention he’d make more money?

    We’ve got a great article that explains the strategy: 5 Steps to a Successful Pre-Sale.

    You can also check out a pre-sale campaign by one of Nimbit’s favorite artists: Suzanne Vega. She’s doing exactly what Sufjan could be, and she’s doing a fantastic job!

    –Scott

    Scott Feldman
    Director of Marketing – Nimbit
    [email protected]

  2. @beeps615 (Twitter)

    When Your Art Is Cheaper Than a Latte…or Buy Sufjan’s new one for cheap on release date!