Yesterday was interesting. I got an email from @bluenote records informing me of the new @robertglasper album. Now some of you know I’m a huge fan, especially his trio stuff – I listen to him almost every day and he makes everything right in the world. So this email didn’t need to say anything else to me but the fact that the album was available to make me respond.
It’s not on Spotify
My first instinct was to fire up Spotify and add the album as a new playlist in my RG folder. I searched and couldn’t find it, DAMN! Then I thought, what about iTunes? I love this man’s work so much, why don’t I directly fire some money his way (via the label of course) for a change . You see I’ve ended up a consumer of music more so than a purchaser – spotify is my music library.
You know what, buying the music made me feel better about the album, I felt closer to the music; listening in more detail, making more of an effort to experience the journey. I felt happier that I’d supported the project with a purchase and not just streams.
Capturing that initial ‘love’ for the music
iTunes Radio is a very interesting prospect. Why? Firstly it’s streaming a large catalogue of music and could be a good source of discovery if they have the playlist curation locked down. Secondly it’s offering a simple mechanism to convert that stream and initial burst of enthusiasm for a track into a purchase. It’s all about capturing that love in the honeymoon phase as over time that enthusiasm will pass. In the early stages I will be happy to sacrifice my phone storage for the album that I’ve downloaded but after a few months I might need to turn back to streaming and this is where spotify will still be useful for me.
An album strategy for labels?
Given my experience above I’d suggest if you release an album to put it up exclusively in the first two weeks on download stores only. Capture that initial willingness to pay and capitalise in it. After this window put it up for streaming. Research shows that streaming can bring healthy sustained activity for older product so this approach makes sense to me. Let me know what you think in the comments.
A different approach for underground singles
Here I’d recommend getting your music onto Spotify straight away. This is a great monetised approach to promoting the release to a wider audience. For the moment DJs need files to play in the club so they will still need to purchase the release – you have nothing to lose in this scenario (until streaming DJs become a reality!)