February 21, 2006

Pay to Play Podcasting?

There are some podcasts that are going to a subscription-only format. The Earthcore podcast, which was originally presented as a free weekly podcast, is now available in the iTunes music store for $9.99 for a complete download. Also, one of the most popular podcasts in the BBC's recent podcasting experiment, The Ricky Gervais Show, is going to a subscription-based format starting on the 28th of February. The show will cost $2 per fownload from Audible.co.uk and iTunes.

I've known podcasters who have done similar things. The Richard Vobes Show has some things that are available to everyone, but has special subscriber content that makes people want to pay the $20 to become a member. I like that business model better. Give people a reason to give you money, rather than simply assume that they're willing to start paying for something that you've previously given them for free.

Earthcore is a different case, though, and I agree witht he way it was handled -- though here, again, is an example of something that would be better served with some value-added content. I'm sure people have saved the episodes of the original podcast on their computers, or burned them to CDs. I can see these being passed around by fans, bypassing the pay-per-listen downloads. But if the new downloads gave users something more for their ten bucks, there might be more people downloading.

Of course, I've said for a while now that the answer for the record industry isn't going after people who rip CDs, or making CDs unrippable, but to make some value-added content available only on the original CD. Coupons for free stuff, codes for free downloads, drawings for free concert tickets, etc. would be a great idea here, and there are fans who would shell out the money for these extras.

Think value added -- it's the way to go. This is one area where my former marketing weasel self shines through -- people will pay more if they think they're getting more. Don't believe me? Hang out at the local Sams one Saturday morning, and watch the people buying 20 gallon drums of Mustard because it's cheaper per serving than buying it by the squeeze bottle. There's a perceived value. And it works everywhere -- even in the recording industry, if they'll let it.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 07:41 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 Hey this is Mike from CTW. I'm the one that put out Earthcore as a paid podcast/audiobook. Thanks for blogging about it. It's good to know that my life has purpose. I'm putting out a couple more audiobooks (podcasted) firstly shortly. Keep your ears open.

Posted by: Mike CTW at March 21, 2006 12:16 AM (5dZSo)

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