We know who the Prince is, but do we know the King?


It amazes me that the music industry never reflects back to it’s own history.  The music industry should take a page from Prince’s book.  When Prince’s manager came up with the idea to tie Musicology’s release in with the price of his upcoming tour in 2004.  At this point Musicology changed the music industry.  Billboard magazine had to change their sales chart policy because of this new marketing strategy that Princes’ team construed.  More than 150,000 copies were given to fans that attended his concert when Musicology was released.  Concert tickets ranged from $49.50 to $75 and included Musicology.  Angry music industry executives did not want the CD sales to count, because it did not actually reflect the consumer’s interest to just buy the CD.  

After all is said and done, Nielsen SoundScan still agreed upon the distribution of the CDs to count towards the sales charts.  Since Musicology’s first release in April, 633,000 copies were sold, with 25% of sales being the CDs that were distributed at the concert.

Both Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan have revised with policies so that other musicians may use the distribution plan to include CDs with ticket sales.  In order for this distribution plan to work, rules and policies were put into effect.  Musicians will be required to offer fans different ticket packages, one including the album and one not.  Billboard’s chart director, Geoff Mayfield said, “While there were some label executives who did give a green light to the original policy in regard to the Prince album, a number said they would like the policy better if it included a provision where concertgoers could opt in or opt out of buying the album.”

Giving concertgoers the chance to opt out of buying the album, made industry professionals hesitant to repeat the new distribution plan.  The other reason for the abandonment of the distribution plan was that frequent concertgoers would have large music catalogs.  If two people in the same household attend the same concert, they will all have the same CD, which leads to clutter and stepping towards an episode of Hoarders.  Music executives thought this would deter concert fanatics from attending shows.

It amazes me that we don’t implement this distribution plan digitally at a time when CDs are starting to fade out.  It’s inevitable that digital is the way of the future.  This distribution has worked in the past and it’s a no-brainer that it will work in the future.  Why give the concertgoers the chance to opt out?  If they are willing to pay a $10 service charge, or even more, they are at least getting something in return.