As album sales decrease, record labels and independent artists/bands think of innovative ways to sell as many albums possible. Some album releases will have the option of a deluxe edition which may include a DVD, bonus tracks, etc. Others may include a free limited edition t-shirt with the purchase, or a special combo price for a CD/EP package. With the competition of itunes and illegal downloading [especially], some consumers need an incentive to purchase an album digitally and/or physically.
Often during the pre-ordering stage of an album, there will be an incentive to purchasing an artist or band's album in advance. This is also a great marketing tool for the album. "Pre-order [album] and receive [this] with your purchase."
Sherwood [MySpace Records] will be releasing their album, QU, on October 13th. Their album is being sold in three different packages. The digital package includes the digital album with artwork and an additional 3-track digital EP with purchase to download instantly, at a normal price of $11.99. Package One includes the album, 3-track digital EP, and an album logo air freshener for $15.99. Package Two includes the album, 3-track digital EP, album logo air freshener, exclusive pre-order t-shirt, canvas grocery bag, an autographed poster, and skull candy headphones to the first 400 orders, for a low price $49.99. Also included with pre-order purchases is entry to a contest for the chance to win 4 Meet-and-greet passes to see Sherwood on their upcoming tour with Hanson and Hellogoodbye.
As the industry is growing accustom to music being attainable for free, marketing techniques such as these are being used more often. Eventually I can this happening for every release in the future, except [the only difference is] the digital download of an album will be available to download legally for free. The other packages will also be available to those who prefer a physical copy or "more" with their purchase.