Thursday, 8 November 2007

Purple Reign (but not rule)

Radiohead's 'pay what you wish for our album' concept was covered exhaustively elsewhere. Now that some time has passed it's interesting to see what happened:

Comscore's survey found that nearly two-thirds of downloaders paid nothing while the average price paid was $6 (£2.90), with a US average of $8.05.

Meanwhile in the UK Prince gave away his latest album, Planet Earth, free of charge via a newspaper.

Both Radiohead and Prince have deep enough pockets to be able to do this however I see these acts of community typifying the reality shift being experienced by old business, and especially marketing.

After making such an interesting move his purpleness has now gone and blown it of course; requesting that album covers, images of him in concert and any lyrics removed are removed from unofficial websites.

In may way this is similar to companies that are currently experimenting with Facebook advertising; when will they realise that it's about authenticity and not about control ie. brand association is not the same as endorsing company messaging.

True advocacy and communities happen when customers become part of your business, improving offerings in the process.

Whether it's finding that your album is worth 1/4 of it's traditional price, that fans own part of your image, or that the customer you thought was happy with the solution you implemented actually thinks that your customer support sucks, this is marketing in dialogue with people that care.

Digital is not a bigger opportunity for control; just the opposite.

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