Friday Reads

Has a stranger ever sang a song to you, with your name in it? How about a song about your local town? I previously assumed songs about small towns and custom birthday tracks where rarities, but it turns out Spotify has helped the thriving industry of personalised song alongside song spam. The Vulture offers it’s opinion on the matter in Streaming music cheat codes and point out that maybe it’s not the music we’re looking for, but it’s the music we deserve having driven the cost of music down with streaming and piracy over the last few years.

As with games, TV, and writing, the race to the bottom is both a boon and a major challenge for the industry, and people are now manipulating the mechanisms responsible with amazing results. As a blogger, I know there’s little value in a post I produce (similarly anything I’m technically capable of and inclined to make (videos, games, software) is probably close to worthless) unless I happen to get lucky. Still, I do it out of love, and this article just touches on the challenges of people working in this world along with the big players and tricksters who make it hard to work out who’s really benefiting from capitalist models in e-commerce.

I regularly pose the challenge to myself, “if not this, then what” when it comes to online pricing- and it’s hard to see what hasn’t been tried before and failed:

  1. Paywalls – Easily hacked, frustrate users (particularly when poorly implemented).
  2. Pay-per-item and subscriptions- Suffer from high friction (for small items where paying a penny or two is too hard) or reluctance to get trapped into an unused subscription (Gym membership!).
  3. Tasters and Teasers – Similar to the above, but using demos or samples to convert people are great, but it’s challenging to convert users.
  4. Advertising – let’s be honest, Google owns this now, and adverts are increasingly being blocked so making a buck out of advertising.
  5. Curation – Paying a subscription fee for “various” things, rather than just one works, but only in specialist markets.

So what’s left? Is there another way to get money from content, either directly or indirectly? It’s a challenge the digital economy will have to face head on sooner or later and I’m not sure we’ve found the solution yet…

And yet… QVC still seems to have a successful business model – buying HSN – honestly, I don’t know how these companies exist (I don’t go to the TV for much information any more, but even those I know who do, don’t visit the TV for a shopping experience). It would be fascinating to see some demographic information regarding these two- bear in mind the combined might could be able to catch up with Amazon (kinda!)- maybe they need to introduce QVC Prime!



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