I met John briefly back in 1992. He was playing with a friend, Mare Winningham, and the bill included The Bare Naked Ladies. Great time.
JWH’s got his first new rock album since 2004, “Who was Changed and Who was Dead,” coming out next month. Besides being excited to hear the new album, I’m pretty intrigued by the pricing tiers on his site. They look like this:
- BASIC: $15.98
Download, CD, and bonus live disk
- BASIC PLUS: $29.98
Everything above plus T-Shirt
- FANCY: $49.98
Everything above plus limited edition DVD
- SUPERFANCY: $79.98
Everything above plus handsigned artwork (hand numbered, limited to 100 units) by John and the artist
- CRAZY DELUXE & PERSONAL: $5,000
Everything above plus JWH comes to your house to play. Seriously.
John Wesley Harding will come and perform at your house, for you and your friends, on a mutually agreeable date. NO JOKE! If it’s near, he’ll even pay the transport; though if it’s far, you’ll have to pay
Why I really like this?
Although I think JWH could have benefited from a lower price, digital only package — start the supply curve as close to $0 as possible — the rest of the tiers offer something special at each step. $80 for the handsigned artwork in a limited 100 edition is a real value to a JWH fan. The $5,000 package is, of course, the doozy. The, “I’ll come to your house and play” is the ultimate artist privilage and a dream come true for a rabid fan. It’s not desparate or kitch. It’s a direct connection.
No, it won’t work for U2 or The Fireman. Well, it does work, just not at published prices you’d ever see on a website.
JWH should make some good revenue from this, more than the just offering the usual CDs for sale. Hopefully a lucky fan or two will take him up on the Ultimate package and will get the memories of a lifetime.
And there will be more of these, more packages, more experimentation, more direct connections between artists and fans. The product/price monopoly of the record labels is over. We’re in the imagination phase now where things will be tried and some will work and some will not. Next comes the evaluation and honing phase where the art becomes more of a science and revenue maximization gets serious.