Getting people to pay for this is the hardest part about online music; when you can “get it for free” why pay? And offering free software in our case does not seem to lend it self to getting people to pay for music. And when you offer a more limited selection than what is available “illegally”, it makes it even more difficult. And when (in the case of Napster, iTunes, etc), you offer it with restrictions, it makes it even more difficult.
However, people are paying, so what’s the deal? Value add and low barrier to payment. People are willing and happy to pay for things where they perceive added value. So – in the case of online music services, it’s not just about having the content, its in how you get and how well you get the content. In the case of iTunes, it’s the iPod – in the case of Napster or Rhapsody it is the subscription model and perception of low priced content.
In our case, it’s the social networking, the recommendations, and the rewards. And, we’ve gone the account route – deposit money (that may already be accruing from rewards or affiliate click throughs) and it dramatically reduces the barrier to purchase. Once the money is in there, there is an incentive to use it. And getting money in there is painless since it’s a “deposit” instead of a payment.
How do you get people to pay? Add value and reduce the barrier to payment. Are there other ways? Sure – force a situation where the consumer has to pay, but that doesn’t work in online digital assets.