Monday, July 28, 2008

The Price Point

I thought I'd tell everybody about the new deal at Amazon MP3. If you don't know, Amazon MP3 is Amazon's online MP3 download service much like the iTunes store. The advantage to the Amazon store is its MP3's don't have DRM (that's what makes it so you can't play iTunes tracks on other computers without a password). Also most albums are $9 compared to iTunes $10.

Now I started using Amazon MP3 when I really wanted to buy a new album. For me, its MP3 or vinyl. I don't feel the need to buy CD's, unless I can get them as cheap as the MP3. I'm only going to rip them anyway and its one less thing to clutter up the apartment. Ok, so Amazon MP3 was working great for me when there was an album I really wanted and couldn't find it on vinyl.

Then Amazon MP3 instituted the Friday 5 deal. Every Friday, Amazon MP3 puts up 5 albums for $5 each. This was bad news for me because I couldn't help but find an album on the list that would buy for $5. Then they started the daily deal. They now add one album a day for $3. I've bought 3 in the past week.

I think Amazon has done what the record industry should have done a long time ago, back when piracy became such a huge deal to them. Amazon has found my price point. There are a lot of albums that I would pay $3 for. They are very few I would pay $10 for. Consider how much Amazon has increased their sales to me just by lowering their price a couple of dollars. It doesn't cost Amazon that much extra to send the bits to me over the internets. They got me to purchase three albums I probably wouldn't have thought about buying for $10, but would buy for $3. That's $9 more than they had before.

For the record the three albums I bought were Peter Gabriel, Interpol, and Elliot Smith. This leads me to my conspiracy theory. Amazon has the perfect opportunity with buyer history to just offer me an album everyday that I would buy for $3. What's stopping them from giving everybody their own "daily deal". I'm not so sure how I would feel about that, except I'm still getting an album I want for $3.


  1. This could potentially start a debate/bigger post, but what are your reasons for not illegally downloading albums... for free?

  2. Mostly because it doesn't help the situation. I'm just voting with my dollar. If I buy from Amazon MP3, I'm supporting that system. Whenever artist releases an album for pay what you want, I usually throw them a couple bucks and download it. I would like to see artists paid fairly someday. The more I support systems where the artist and the consumer has control, the more it encourages artists to seek alternative means of distribution and the eventual downfall of the "Big Labels".

  3. It's a shame the record industry is hesitant to open up digital music. It really doesn't make sense.

    I've also noticed that most competing online music stores aren't very intuitive...

  4. What about when the artist is signed on a big label, though?

    I still tend to go to the bit torrent route, but I can imagine perhaps throwing a few bucks toward artists who I like, but maybe not toward the artists I like who are signed on the big four, or something.

    I dunno, though.

  5. Reminds me of the Ring of Gyges. How many people are actually going to be caught, even though it is technically stealing?