Revolutionary or revolting?
My good friend Andrew Falconer at element creative sent me this link to DiscRevolt, a new way to sell digital downloads at gigs via band-specific download cards. Having spent some time exploring digital delivery via smart cards, I think this is a nice idea. I particularly like its simplicity.
On the plus side, fans are ready to spend money at gigs, and for the youngsters who don't have a credit card it overcomes a payment problem. Plus, it's a cool collectible.
On the minus side, it's another format to explain and the same result could be achieved by the band by simply giving a web or MySpace page address to their fans and charging them when they get to the site - as for the credit card thing, well they've all got parents haven't they? I know who pays for my son's online purchases.
But I'll watch it with interest. I've long believed that merchandising will increase in importance, because it's a well established way to combine a physical item with a brand or intangible - music, film and TV being perfect examples. It's often said that you can't put a download under the Christmas tree, but in a high speed internet environment coupled with a networked home there's no reason why you can't gift an item of merchandising with an access code and a simple mechanic to get hold of the associated content.