Hypebot is currently reporting that Sub Pop, the tastemaker indie label that first gave us a taste of Soundgarden and Nirvana, is considering using a different type of model to turn things around in a struggling industry. The idea would be to give away music for free with the purchase of a specialty item or toy, rather than the other way around.
Sub Pop general manager Megan Jasper explains further:
“Although Sub Pop is primarily known for its many fine artists and their really very fine recordings (also grunge), we’re not at all opposed to expanding into the fine world of t-shirts, hats, beer cozies, and key chains. We used to give many of these tchotchke items away for free in an effort to entice people to pay for the music, but we’re considering flipping our strategy so that people pay for the toy and receive the music for free.”
Many bands have already been bundling music with miscellaneous products, and even the “Music Tee” somewhat plays on this possible trend. However, if Sub Pop actually gives it a shot, this would mark the first time a label has tried the model.
This won’t revolutionize the industry, but is an interesting possibility. I tend to find myself more attracted to purchasing an album that gave me a little more for my buck, within financial reason of course (talk to me when you’re $900 cheaper, super deluxe Hourglass box set). So would free music persuade me to by a collectible of a certain band? When all is said and done, the price and quality of said product is probably the final determining factor. Even if I did get a free copy of The Final Frontier with the purchase of an Iron Maiden t-shirt, I’d be less interested if the shirt was crap and overpriced. Another thing to keep in mind is that a media report from someone that spoke to Sub Pop might not be the most, um, credible thing. Either way, we’ll be hangin’ on the flippity flop.