29 March 2007

Magnatune: A Classic Case of Disruption

When it comes to digital music, Magnatune is definitely on the side of the angels:

We call it "try before you buy." It's the shareware model applied to music. Listen to 525 complete MP3 albums from musicians we work with (not 30 second snippets).

We let the music sell itself, because we think that's the best way to get you excited by it.

We pick the best submissions from independent musicians so you don't have to.

If you like what you hear, download an album for as little as $5 (you pick the price), or buy a real CD, or license our music for commercial use. And no copy protection (DRM), ever.

Artists keep half of every purchase. And unlike most record labels, they keep all the rights to their music.

No major label connections.

We are not evil.

And how about this little factette:

In 1980, Classical music represented 20% of global music sales. In 2000, Classical had plummeted to just 2% of global music sales. What happened? Did all those people suddenly lose their taste for classical music? Or is something else going on?

At Magnatune.com, an online record label I run, we sell six different genres of music, ranging from Ambient to Classical to Death Metal and World Music. Yet Classical represents a whopping 42% of our sales. Even more intriguingly, only 9% of the visitors to our music site click on “classical” as the genre they’re interested in, yet almost half of them end up buying classical music.

Do read the rest - it's fascinating.

Looks like innovative digital music business models can be even more disruptive than you might think.

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