The other day David Weinberger approached me with an idea: what if he bought album downloads from me in bulk so that he could give them away? It was interesting but I was sceptical â€“ I'm already giving away the music for free, why would anyone care?
I'm trying an experiment with a business model I like to call a reverse referral fee. Here's how it worksâ€¦
You click on a link that lets you download a copy of Brad Sucks' latest album, Out of It. The album of wonderful music is yours for free in every sense. (Share it! Please!) But, I'm going to pay Brad for each copy downloaded, at a bulk rate he and I have agreed on.
To my surprise it got a fair amount of attention (aka free word-of-mouth advertising). Many people thanked him for buying them the album, I got a lot of mentions on Twitter that I wouldn't have ordinarily. The 50 copies were all downloaded within about an hour, but it's pretty clear more than 50 people got introduced to my music. Plus David paid me so I made out like gangbusters.
What is there to learn from this? I'm not sure. It's clear that the reaction was much larger than if David had said â€œgo download Brad's free album, it's free and anyone can go get it wheneverâ€. Saying that money was changing hands on behalf of their download definitely got people's attention and created a small viral chain reaction.
David thinks this could be a viable option for super-patrons and that I should offer it as an option. What do you think?