As I write this post I am listening to the entire No Doubt digital audio catalog. That’s right, all six albums. This in and of itself is not worthy of a blog post, but what is worthy is the way I received the music. I didn’t buy each mp3, download the files illegally or even upload individual albums from CD’s. (What are those again?) Instead, I got all this music free for purchasing tickets to a No Doubt concert.

In an e-mail message from the site stated:

“Thank you for your ticket purchase and for being part of No Doubt’s 2009 Summer Tour! Below are the instructions to follow to receive a free download of the band’s entire digital audio catalog for each ticket you purchased.”

We’ve seen gestures such as this with other bands. Recently, Coldplay announced they are giving copies of their Left Right Left Right Left CD to everyone who attends their “Viva La Vida” summer tour (excluding festivals). The nine-track CD will also be made available May 15 for free download at In 2007, Radiohead put their album In Rainbows online and allowed fans to pay what they thought was fair.

It seems musicians and record labels are finally conceding that they simply can’t rely on record sales anymore. (Much like newspapers are starting to recognize that they cannot rely solely on subscriptions.) Fans are simply not willing to spend $15 to $18 on a CD that may only have two good tracks.

Instead the music industry is beginning to move to an experiential business model that focuses more on ticket sales and concert swag than a good and/or service based business model. There are many other industries that have gone through this transformation. Starbucks was one of the first coffee shops that made drinking coffee an experience rather than a service. Hotels and resorts like Treasure Island in Las Vegas have also turned a typically service based business into an experiential one.

In the near future many more businesses will be capitalizing on the idea to provide consumers with an experience. So the next time you’re trying to come up with the “next big idea” for a client; think about how you can help the consumer experience the company. Why would someone pay for your company’s experience over another’s?


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