Thursday, February 18, 2010

Analysis: Major Labels Acting More Like Indies Online

When it comes to direct-to-fan sales and marketing, the focus is currently on independent artists and labels and how they are using new digital tools to sell music and other merchandise outside of traditional retail channels. Nowadays, there are all sorts of non-traditional products being sold directly from major artists’ web stores.

For example,, under Universal Music Group's umbrella, is offering a bundle consisting of Lady Gaga’s Heartbeats headphones with a T-shirt for $100. The headphones themselves cost $100 so the buyer is essentially getting the t-shirt for free. The bundle does not include any recorded music. Another major artist taking this approach is Mary J. Blige. Mary J. Blige, an Interscope artist, recently partnered with Carol’s Daughter beauty products to sell five hundred units of a bundle containing her new album, and three, limited Carol’s Daughter products, for $29.99 each through her web store.

I think it makes sense that major labels have caught onto the fact that they can make a lot more money by selling exclusive products to super-fans. Diehard fans are going to be willing to pay a little bit more to get something other than just a CD or a download. Major labels can certainly capitalize on this idea to make some extra revenue. Though selling a CD with beauty products for only $30.00 (like in the case of Mary J. Blige) may seem very minimal, labels will still be making more money than they would with just a digital offering of the music. Every little bit counts.

- Samantha Bruno


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