Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Indie Download Cards

Bridging the divide between digital and physical, DiscRevolt provides a tangible solution for selling digital media. Artists upload songs to DiscRevolt's website and design their own artwork for a plastic download card. The cards are then printed by DiscRevolt with a unique redemption code on the back. Artists sell the cards to fans at live shows, and the fans can then download songs or albums from the artist's online page.

Many independent artists make most of their revenue at merchandise tables after they play a live show. Audiences connect with a band or song, and are most likely to pay for music during the post-gig buzz. As bands are moving from CDs to digital downloads, they need something to hook potential customers when they can, instead of asking them to download later. Which is a challenge DiscRevolt aims to solve. The start-up describes its download cards as a cross between a gift card, a backstage pass and a baseball trading card. They're designed to be collectible items, attachable to lanyards or backpacks or rear-view mirrors. The fact that artists design their own artwork, and often make cards in limited runs, adds to the appeal.

Pricing is set at 500 cards for USD 250. Artists set their own prices, but DiscRevolt recommends USD 5 per card, which brings the price per song to 33 cents for buyers, and gives artists a 90% profit margin. Since artists buy the cards upfront, profits are received as soon the cards are sold. Which can be useful while bootstrapping a tour ;-) It also provides a user-friendly download avenue for bands that haven't yet made it to the front page of the iTunes Music Store.

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