Will Amazon Make Apps A Loss Leading Product, Too?
-- Apps may soon get the same loss leader sale prices at Amazon that digital music has been getting for quite a while. As Business Insider points out, Amazon will have the final says on app prices in its soon-to-be-launched Android app store.

Unlike record labels, who get paid a standard rate for low-priced titles, app developers could get a lower per-unit amount if Amazon decides to cut a price. You see, app developers will get the greater of 70% of the retail price or 20% of the suggested retail price. An app that normally sells for $5 would net the developer $3.50. If Amazon lowers the price to $1, the developer would get $1. In that case, sales would need to rise 250% for the developer to get the same amount from a $1 app as it would have from a $5 app. That doesn't seem like a stretch. People love a bargain, and increased visibility at Amazon is extremely valuable.

Amazon's low-priced MP3 album downloads receive a lot of criticism and bring about all sorts of hang-wringing over the long-term impacts of one-off sale prices of limited duration. The same thing happened with CDs. And it happened when the CD was a mature format that was reaching its peak - which is currently the case with digital downloads.

Ultimately, an album or song's retail price is a mere suggestion - unless the seller operates using an agency model where content owners set the prices. The term "suggested retail price" really does lives up to its name. This goes beyond digital goods. Physical retailers set prices as they see fit - although much of the time the sticker price happens to be same as the suggested list price. Mass merchants like Best Buy famously priced CDs at a loss in order to increase foot traffic. And prices could go up instead of down. Virgin Megastore, for example, did not have a $17.98 price point for at least a few years in the mid-2000s. If a title's wholesale price merited more than a $16.98 price, it was bumped up to $18.98.
( Business Insider)

How Bandcamp Could Save The Music Industry
-- Independent video game soundtracks are an unexpected strong seller at Bandcamp. But as Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond explains, there are many other examples of niche music selling well as the site, too.

"Right next to the sorts of great and strong-selling artists that we always hoped/expected to see (like Omar Rodriguez Lopez and Dub FX) are big sales from niche communities we never anticipated: dance music for furries, a webcomic soundtrack, and a student-produced college musical regularly top the sales chart. Their sales might not put them in #Bieber territory, but it's so exciting to see these tight-knit communities defying the abysmally low expectations heaped upon this generation of music consumers and instead supporting the creators they love. These artists are already an important part of Bandcamp's business, and we think this bodes well for the record business as a whole."

Why such optimism for "the record business as a whole," as Diamond put it? There exists a persistent fear that people no longer value music. And given some recent trends, that's a reasonable worry. Recorded music revenue drops year after year. Piracy still runs rampant. Sync licenses are plenty but the amount of any single transaction has been pushed down. Some record labels are unhappy with the money they get for their songs' use in video games. It's a long list.

But as Bandcamp can attest, people continue to support the creators they love. It would be wonderful if people more frequently supported those creators they merely liked (and didn't yet love), but at least somebody out there is supporting artists. One more thing: these fans are supporting artists on a platform not named iTunes. ( Bandcamp blog)


Sunflower Entertainment Reaches Licensing Deal With RightsFlow

-- Sunflower Entertainment, a global licensing and publishing company, has entered into a blanket licensing agreement RightsFlow. The deal gives RightsFlow access to Sunflower's catalog of over 12,000 label, distributor, music service and artist clients that includes songs made famous by Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman and Django Reinhardt.