"I bought three or four to give to friends!"
We were sitting inside the cafeteria at Mid-Vail during the blowingest snowstorm imaginable and struck up a conversation with the sixtysomething gentleman who sat down at our table. Turned out he was a restructuring specialist from Dallas. He’d booked this trip long ago. If he hadn’t been talking with us, he’d have been checking his BlackBerry. Business was raging.
After hearing what he did for a living, this bloke asked us about ourselves. And when he heard what I did he asked me, did I get into concerts for free?
Then I asked him, did he go to a lot of concerts?
Not really. Just the Eagles. "Hell Freezes Over", the opening of the new building and just recently, for "Long Road Out Of Eden".
Then this guy starts testifying about the album. Says he wasn’t enamored of Timothy B. Schmit’s contribution, but loved Joe Walsh’s. And he thought the title track was a CLASSIC!
And he said the tracks the band played live from the new album were the exact right ones.
This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. The audience for classic acts is supposed to go to the bathroom during the new material. Conventional wisdom is the audience doesn’t want new material. But if this is so, how did the Eagles sell in excess of three million copies of "Long Road Out Of Eden" at Wal-Mart? THE PRICE!
All the salespeople at the major labels have been pooh-poohing the Eagles numbers, saying Irving is lying. But did they ever think of the value? Two CDs of new music for $11.88?
God, the industry didn’t only fuck over the artists with high CD prices and low royalties, it also screwed the fans. Music was no longer a casual purchase, but something you debated. And when you paid fifteen or seventeen dollars for a turkey album, you swore off. But, if music was a deal, like the Eagles’ project, you’d buy packages for all your friends. I’ve heard this again and again over the past year, people went to Wal-Mart and bought multiple copies of "Long Road Out Of Eden"… They’re not buying multiple copies of Rihanna’s album, or anything purveyed by the major labels.
Pricing is out of whack. The only way to grow this business is to lower prices. To the point where people make multiple purchases, maybe not of the same album, but different ones.
The CD era killed experimentation. Experimentation has been rekindled in the Internet era, it’s just that the purveyors have not been paid. Stop trying to sue the public into submission, start offering them enticing deals!
Ninety nine cents a track works for no one other than Apple. It’s too much and people buy too little. Raise the price point and deliver more. That’s what the Eagles did. Twice the amount of music for about the cheapest price you could find for a single CD.
Somewhere along the line, everybody became convinced that music is a cash cow. That acts were entitled to be millionaires and executives could live private jet lifestyles. So, all the calculations are worked in reverse. How can we reach this financial milestone? Well, we have to charge x. But the public thinks x is too much.
Think of computers. What’s the machine you’re reading this on truly worth? Come on, it’s a technological marvel… Twenty thousand dollars? But you can buy a computer for $400. Because they sell so fucking many of them. Sure, costs have come down, but costs have come down in the music industry too. It’s cheaper to record and cheaper to distribute.
Stop telling me about the value of music. If it’s so fucking valuable, why don’t you find a way to price it reasonably, so everyone can partake, filling your coffers along the way.
Open the doors, let people experiment cheaply. Then they’ll become fans. And fans will give you ALL their money.