What Is The Value Of Music, Pt 3 – Christopher Lars Carlson

Part 3 in our series of the value of music is by Christopher Lars Carlson.  Chris is a student at the Berklee School of Music, where he is also president of the Music Business Club.  He manages Tom Howie and can be found on twitter and on his music business blog, A Musician’s Journey, which is filled with great ideas.  The question I asked him was:

What do you think the value of music is?  Is it the $17.99/album that the major labels charged for so long?  Is it the $9.99/album that itunes charges?  Is it the $0.00 that it costs to get music from Pirate Bay?  Is it something else?

This is what Chris said – 


d) None Of The Above

Every release needs a goal. Is the goal to gain awareness? then give it away for free. Do you need to make enough money to fund a tour? Then determine what that amount is and estimate how many sales you think you can make. Divide and decide your price point.

It’s my personal belief that there should be options a la NIN (Nine Inch Nails): free, cheap, regular, expensive, insanely expensive.

Depending on where an artist is in their career, only some of these price points will make sense, but the point is that by the next release, they are at a different point in their career and a new strategy will be needed.

To more directly answer your question: I think the value of music is dependent on the relationship between the fan and artist. An UBER fan is going to pay $275 for a release (NIN deluxe box set) but that same person is going to download an album for free from an artist they don’t have a relationship with.

The next guest post will be by Shawn M Smith, formerly of TVT Records and currently the man behind Radio Exile.


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