Results Of My Music Distribution Survey

I recently released a survey to mailing list to get some feedback on possible models for future distribution of my music and comedy.  Quite a few other artists were interested in seeing the results as well, so I thought I’d post them here.

Now, I would not hold this up to any sort of strict scientific review as it’s a fairly small sample and just from my particular type of fan.  I’ll run down the results and then talk about a few ways I plan to implement them.

Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey.  It’s going to make it much easier for me to offer my art in the way you’d like to receive it.

Section One: Distribution Models

1. Which model is most appealing?
44% – Downloads of individual tracks/albums/videos for a price you choose, including zero.
31% – Regular fixed prices for downloads and hard copy goods
25% – All-you-can-eat annual membership

2. Name your own price downloads – Averages
Single Track – $0.99
Full Length Album – $8-10
Full Length Video – $15

3. Annual Membership Model Price Average
Digital Only – $40
Digital plus One Hard Good Per Year – $50
One person suggested a name-your-own price for the membership model which is an interesting idea as well.

4. Fixed Price Downloads – Averages
Single Tracks – $0.99
Full Length Album – $9.00
Full Length Video – $12.00

A couple implementations for this section:
I think the best plan is going to be a combination model.  I’ll be offering all of my official releases for download on a name-your-price basis.  My experience with my “Stuff People Like” CD at live shows has shown that this is a workable model.  I will also include an online store that uses fixed prices for hard copy CDs/DVDs/T-shirts/etc, as those have more costs associated with them.

The idea of a membership model is still interesting, but I want to wait until I can make it an irresistible and worthwhile experience for the members.  Besides my official releases, I’d like to include archive releases, advance access to new material, extra videos, ebooks, and stuff from other artists I think you’d like.

Section 2: Listening And Buying

5. Which streaming music services do you use?
27% – Pandora
10% – Spotify
10% – Rhapsody
5% – Rdio
5% – Slacker
43% – Other – Includes terrestrial radio, Grooveshark, Turntable, Napster, Zune, etc.

6. Which online stores do you buy downloads from?
37% – iTunes
31% – Amazon
8% – Rhapsody
15% – None
9% – Other – Includes Liquid Digital, Zune, Google Play, etc.

7. Preferred place to buy CDs.
27% – Amazon
15% – Target
14% – Best Buy
14% – Walmart
22% – Other – Includes local record stores and directly from artist at events.
8% – Do not buy CDs

8. Preferred place to buy DVDs.
26% – Amazon
21% – Target
18% – Best Buy
14% – Walmart
14% – Other – Includes local stores, direct from artists, online deep discount sites.
7% – Do not buy DVDs

Implementation ideas:
I think I’m pretty well where I can be here.  I’ll be getting more material into Pandora soon.  Already well represented on all the others.  And the chances of getting into Target, Best Buy, or Walmart are slim and none right now. 🙂

Section 3: Socializing and Live Shows

9. Which social media site do you spend the most time on?
56% – Facebook
18% – Youtube
5% – Twitter
5% – Google+
8% – Other
8% – None

10. Do you own a blog?
74% – No
26% – Yes

11. How many live shows of any sort do you attend each year?
45% – 1-5
29% – 6-12
16% – 21 or more
5% – 13-20
5% – None

12. If you could would you attend more/the same/fewer shows than you do?
82% – More
18% – The same
0% – Fewer

13. What one major obstacle prevents you from attending the number of shows you’d like.  This was an open-ended question, but I’ve summarized and ranked the most common reasons.
1. Time/Schedule
2. Effort – driving, parking, etc
3. Accessibility of shows in my area
4. Cost

14. What kind of smartphone do you use?
37% – None (regular cell phone or none)
32% – Android
24% – iPhone
5% – Windows
3% – Blackberry

Implementation Ideas:
There’s some interesting stuff here.  First off, if you still own stock in Rim/Blackberry… Maybe time to unload that. 🙂  I’m very glad to see those numbers for the live show attendance question.  The obstacles question is one I’m looking closely at.  How can I eliminate some of those?

Two ideas.  First is a short weekly live online performance.  Granted, online isn’t the same vibe as a real live show.  At least until I can have a Tupac-like hologram beamed to your living room.  But it will be a live performance.  I’ll keep it short, probably 15 minutes or so.  This way time, effort, and cost are minimal.  I will probably also offer the show as a downloadable podcast afterward too.  This will, of course, be in addition to my regular live tour dates.

The second idea addresses the accessibility problem.  House concerts.  I’ve done lots of these in the past.  And on my current tour I was privileged to play Amy’s living room in Hudson, IA.  Not a town a lot of artists are stopping in.  These types of shows are easier than it sounds.  You invite a bunch of friends over (10-20 is a good starting point) and they each chip in some money, just like a cover charge, to pay me.  You avoid, travel, parking, drink minimums, service fees, tips, and all that hoo-ha of going to a venue.  You’ll also generally get a longer show from me than you would in a club.  If you’d like more information on this idea, email me at .

If you have comments or ideas, please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear them.  A sustainable business is built on communication.  Thanks!

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