When you create something, what value do you attach to that creation?
I like wine and the experience with wine is like music, totally subjective and personal. I even like drinking wine with music. A bitter shiraz for the more heavier and thrashier Metal, a smooth Cabernet Merlot blend for hard rock music, a spicy Cabernet Sauvignon for heavier and progressive rock and a Merlot for my favorite guitar solos.
A winemaker makes a wine and believes it’s worth a $100 a bottle. It doesn’t mean it’s really worth that much to the public, but to the winemaker who put their blood, sweat and tears in making it, it is worth that much.
The artists who put their blood, sweat and tears into their works also believe their works are valuable.
But the winemakers can test the market with prices. Eventually that wine bottle will hit a price and people will buy it, because alcohol is alcohol and we like to consume alcohol (well the majority does) and it’s a billion dollar industry in each country. Basically alcohol sells. Period.
So the winemaker releases the wine at $99 a bottle and nothing. No one is interested.
The winemaker reduces it by 20% and a few sales come, but not enough.
The winemaker reduces it by another 20% to $55 and still the sales are not enough.
Suddenly the winemaker is faced with a dilemma.
Do they go down to 60% off the normal price they wanted per bottle and see how it performs in the market place or do they stick to their guns and keep it at $55?
Well after careful thinking and planning, the winemaker is in the business of selling wines, so they go down to $45 and suddenly people are interested in trying this wine, 60% off its normal retail price. It’s a smart marketing move and people are suckered in by these kinds of deals.
And they sell out of wines, believing they have a customer base and that the next wine they release will sell out like this one. But it doesn’t sell out. Actually no one is really aware of the next releases because people like drinking wine not the brand.
Only a few brands have become household names in wine making around the world and people wait each year for their next release.
But for the rest of the winemakers, they start from scratch with each release, mining their email lists for sales, using online wine distributors for sales and so forth. And people buy wine without trying it based on the label on the bottle, the grapes used and maybe some reviews or awards. Like how we used to buy music without hearing it.
If we lived in the old CD distribution world and we had to purchase CDs to hear music, I would have purchased a lot more CD’s or LP’s than I do right now just based on covers and interviews.
But after hearing the album on streaming services I decided to not purchase the album, like the new Tool album, the recent Revolution Saints and Sons Of Apollo albums or from a few years back, the only album missing from my Dream Theater collection is “Distance Over Time”. Maybe I will get around to adding it to my collection but then again as I get older I don’t have the same need to have a complete collection.
So in all of this, the value an artist attaches to their work is never the same value the public sees in the work or wants to pay for the work.
A fan of your music will stream it and those streaming payments will be the value that part of the public attached to your works. Other fans will buy the physical releases and that’s the value they attach while others will either download it for free or pay for digital downloads or attend a show if you Tour.
Each fan is unique in their connection to you and the monies they are prepared to spend on you.