A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Offering Premium Value To A Fan vs. Making Money For The Artist – Case study on Dream Theater and Coheed and Cambria

Are deluxe editions just basically overpriced boxes, offering the same thing over and over again for a higher price or are deluxe premium editions offering something of value to a super fan that no one can get anywhere else.

I am going to use Dream Theater for this case study. Dream Theater is in the business of making music. They have a fan base that will purchase the music. They also have a fan base that will go and purchase concert tickets and merchandise. At the moment, they have a new album coming out in September. They also have a Limited Deluxe Edition priced at $100. It is common knowledge that the labels will manufacture between 1000 to 1500 of these limited deluxe editions. So if all of the Limited Editions sell out, which is common for a band like Dream Theater, the label stands to gross $150,000.

If they sell 1,500 album downloads on iTunes at $10, they stand to gross $15,000 (of course then 30% goes over to Apple). If they sell 1,500 Standard Edition CD’s at $10, they still stand to make the same amount of money. So it is a no brainer that PREMIUM products is what artists should be focusing on.

However is the fan getting a premium edition of the album that no one else can get for that price? The answer is NO.

What the fans are getting is the same album in different formats. A CD version, a VINYL LP version and a FLAC version. $100 for format shifting. I am sure the VINLY will never be played, the CD will hardly be played as most of the fans that will purchase the album will also have downloaded the album illegally to have it on MP3 because for some reason the fan will still need to format shift what they spent $100 on to get an MP3.

What the fans are also getting from Dream Theater are some extra’s that to be honest are not really worth it and do not really make it a limited edition. The whole remix angle of a song has been used to death by other artists especially in the hip hop and EDM genres . There is nothing creative here and to be honest, I find it hard how the marketing team from Roadrunner saw this as a great initiative. They did it on the Black Clouds and Silver Linings release as well. That is the label business for you, so stuck in the old that they fail to see the new.

Is the music in itself a premium product? Are digital downloads a premium product? The answers are both NO.

So what is a premium product? A premium product is something that is scarce. It is something that is rare and unique. It is something that is off high quality and something that it cannot be found again.

A premium product is not something that is created via an automated machine and then packaged into a nice box. It is something that has a personal touch to it. A premium product is difficult to create again exactly the same. It is in our human nature to pay for something more if it is personalized. That is why we pay more for a signed CD. That is why we pay more for a meet and greet.

So I am about to purchase the Limited Edition Collectors Box Set from Dream Theater. I see that it is priced at $100. So I am thinking now, what do I get for the $100 plus postage of about $25 to be shipped from Sydney to Wollongong (which is about 70 minutes away). All up I am giving over $125. This is what I will get:

* Custom 2GB USB stick in the shape of the Majesty Symbol containing Isolated stems of “Behind The Veil.” Fans are encouraged to post their remixes; prizing to be awarded; details forthcoming.

* “Take This For The Pain (Mike Mangini Audition Improv Jam)”- 30 minute documentary of previously unreleased Mangini audition footage and jam.

* Exclusive 7” of “The Bigger Picture” on clear vinyl, wrapped and sealed with a custom wax seal

* Gel-skin iDots of Majesty symbol for the iPhone

* 2-Disc embossed Deluxe Edition digi which includes bonus disc of 5.1 audio mix and expanded packaging

* 180-gram 2-LP embossed gatefold vinyl that includes a download of the album as high quality FLAC files

So now I am thinking of what I am getting above that I cannot get anywhere else that makes me feel special. The answer is NOTHING. However, this is a very common premium limited edition release from Record Label funded bands.

So I am now comparing this to my purchase of Coheed and Cambria’s “The Afterman Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set Amory Award Edition.”

I purchased that for $59.99 with shipping costs of $22.95 (which is coming from the US to Australia) with a total price of $82.94.

So what did I get with the Coheed and Cambria purchase;

* 64 page Coffee Table Book that covers each song, they real life story that influenced the song, the lyrics to the song, plus how that song has been made to fit The Armory Wars storyline. (This was the best part of the purchase)

* DVD of Coheed and Cambria on the Road

* Digital Downloads of both albums plus the Big Beige demos on actual release date

* CD of The Afterman: Ascension

* CD of The Afterman: Ascension – Big Beige Demos – that includes bonus tracks

* Blank CD to burn The Afterman: Descension – (which I still haven’t burned as I already have the Digital Downloads)

* Blank CD to burn The Afterman: Descension – Big Beige Demos – that includes bonus tracks and remixes – (which I still haven’t burned as I already have the Digital Downloads)

* Sirius Armory Medallion and Certificate

* VIP Pass (which I used with my concert ticket purchase when Coheed and Cambria toured Australia)

At the time of my purchase I believed it was a brilliant price for the content I am getting. Fast forward 12 months and I am thinking what did I get above that I cannot get anywhere else. The answer is the 64 page Coffee Table book that goes in depth into each song story.

It looks like Coheed and Cambria have realised that the book is the reason why the deluxe edition proved so popular, so now they have done it death. The released the book in a VINYL edition, and they have released it again with the two Afterman CD’s plus a LIVE release.

The game is changing all the time. Artists need to think with a different mindset.