Rosetta Detail Their Experience Offering “The Anaesthete” With An Open-Ended Pricing Model
Rosetta have shared some data behind the recent independent release of their new album “The Anaesthete” through Bandcamp as part of a pay what you feel pricing model. Speaking via their Tumblr, the band provided the below statistics:
“We have thought of the Bandcamp self-release as an experiment. The goal was to find out whether an independent publishing and distribution model can be self-sustainable for a small DIY band. Right now we consider that experiment a qualified success. It does appear that we will be able to recover production costs and release vinyl in the USA.
We do not plan to release sales or revenue statistics for this release, so please do not ask us. However, you might find these statistics interesting: approximately 25% of the people who downloaded the album paid for it. Of those who did pay, the average purchase price was about $9.40. The median purchase price was around $7. Before the release, we talked about whether to have a $1 minimum price on the download, and decided against it for a couple of reasons: 1. to see how many people would actually pay (since it would inevitably end up on filesharing sites anyway), and 2. because we thought Bandcamp would limit the number of free downloads to 200, at least at first.
In practice, because people were consistently buying the album, Bandcamp added virtually unlimited free downloads and thousands of people have downloaded it for free. This may be in part a messaging problem – we never intended the album to be ‘free.’ It is pay-what-you-wish (which on this release happens to include paying nothing).
There is an important difference, though maybe an abstract one. We’re not upset that people have downloaded for free; we chose to allow that. But the reality is that a disproportionately large number of free downloads have been made possible (financially) by a relatively small group of people who took it upon themselves to pay. We’re still thinking through the ramifications of that.
One of the most unexpected positive outcomes of the release was how many new people were exposed to our music. Because of the large volume of first-day traffic on the album, we hit Bandcamp’s front page as the best-selling release for the day and week (in any format) and stayed there for quite a while. We also saw a large viral reach over social media, about 5 times the exposure that a typical news release or tour announcement would get. People were excited about the release and letting their friends know about it – this is the lifeblood of DIY music and the most important factor in the success of this album. We owe our fans and friends a big thank-you!”