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Thread started 09/11/19 2:20pm

donnyenglish

The Premium Market For Vault Material

What are your thoughts about high-priced premium releases by the Estate? One way to monetize the vault is to try to appeal to the masses, but that is difficult given the state of the music industry with declining CD sales and it is hard to make a lot of money from streaming.

Another way to monetize the vault is to release premium content to the fans that are willing to pay a lot for obscure material. I wouldn't think twice about spending $500 on some 20 DVD set of concerts or paying $50 a month for some subscription service, but some diehard fans may not be in that position financially.

We are at a crossroads. Either the future of the vault is a few re-configured releases of 80's material for the masses or it is voluminous high-priced premium content for diehard fans with discretionary income. I think that the upcoming 1999 release is a great attempt to accomplish both goals by having multiple formats, but I'm not sure that approach will be sustainable with future releases.

Thoughts?

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Reply #1 posted 09/11/19 3:58pm

EmmaMcG

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Personally, I don't see any future Prince release reaching a wide audience. It took too long for the estate to get things together and by the time music got released it was underwhelming from a casual fan's perspective. Like, Piano And A Microphone? Seriously?
So, as far as appealing to the masses goes, that ship has sailed.

The other method you mention of high price releases aimed at his hardcore fanbase is a risky proposition. Sure, some people will be willing to pay premium prices for unreleased vault material. But I wouldn't. I could easily afford such a subscription service but the problem is that I just don't see it as value for money. And I don't think I'd be alone in that. Besides, his hardcore fanbase isn't as big as it was so I'm sure his estate won't want to alienate a big percentage of what's left.

What I think would be their best option at this point would be to set up an online store, upload every single recording from the vault and charge $1 per song, $10 per live show and $5 for any unreleased full albums.
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Reply #2 posted 09/11/19 4:44pm

jdcxc

Prince is historically unique with that huge Vault of vital material. It will always be central to their business model, but I assume most of their money will come from licensing to Hollywood, Broadway, Vegas, Madison Ave and product hawking. Just like Elvis, Frida, Basquiat and other dead superstar artists.
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Reply #3 posted 09/11/19 5:07pm

donnyenglish

EmmaMcG said:

Personally, I don't see any future Prince release reaching a wide audience. It took too long for the estate to get things together and by the time music got released it was underwhelming from a casual fan's perspective. Like, Piano And A Microphone? Seriously?
So, as far as appealing to the masses goes, that ship has sailed.

The other method you mention of high price releases aimed at his hardcore fanbase is a risky proposition. Sure, some people will be willing to pay premium prices for unreleased vault material. But I wouldn't. I could easily afford such a subscription service but the problem is that I just don't see it as value for money. And I don't think I'd be alone in that. Besides, his hardcore fanbase isn't as big as it was so I'm sure his estate won't want to alienate a big percentage of what's left.

What I think would be their best option at this point would be to set up an online store, upload every single recording from the vault and charge $1 per song, $10 per live show and $5 for any unreleased full albums.


Great post. I think you nailed it but there are some of us that would spend the money.
[Edited 9/11/19 17:08pm]
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Reply #4 posted 09/11/19 5:54pm

rdhull

avatar

donnyenglish said:

We are at a crossroads.

No we aren't.

c'mon baby, where's ya guts?
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Reply #5 posted 09/11/19 7:36pm

PeggyO

I am spending the money and I wish we would act more collectively in this matter. I'm concerned if his hardcore fans don't really respond to this endeavor (by purchasing) by Warner Bros (1999), that there may be less incentive for them to invest further.

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Reply #6 posted 09/11/19 8:00pm

WhisperingDand
elions

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I don't get why in 2019, land of the x $s-a-month subscription model, the estate doesn't create a new "NPG Music Club"-like digital service with optional made-to-order pressings for the physical release die hards. Every other company gets that's the way to generate consistent income, yet their still focused on that 1-2 releases a year per monetary pop model.

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Reply #7 posted 09/11/19 8:01pm

WhisperingDand
elions

avatar

PeggyO said:

I am spending the money and I wish we would act more collectively in this matter. I'm concerned if his hardcore fans don't really respond to this endeavor (by purchasing) by Warner Bros (1999), that there may be less incentive for them to invest further.

Wouldn't it be more likely (if these releases fail) that they sell the catalogue rather than bury it entirely?

[Edited 9/11/19 20:02pm]

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Reply #8 posted 09/11/19 8:43pm

PeggyO

WhisperingDandelions said:

PeggyO said:

I am spending the money and I wish we would act more collectively in this matter. I'm concerned if his hardcore fans don't really respond to this endeavor (by purchasing) by Warner Bros (1999), that there may be less incentive for them to invest further.

Wouldn't it be more likely (if these releases fail) that they sell the catalogue rather than bury it entirely?

[Edited 9/11/19 20:02pm]

I just don't know...one thing I notice is how many of his hardcore fans seem quite fickle and don't seem to be purchasing too much of what has been released. The reasons are endless.There are countless discussions about what each fan would like...a bit like the perfect individual fantasy of what would make them purchase. Nothing is quite good enough so they pass once again. I am sensing this attitude will pertain to the upcoming release of the 1999 album as well. It makes me sad. Lots of talk about the dimming of Prince's legacy but little collective effort to invest...

The general public certainly won't.

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Reply #9 posted 09/11/19 10:04pm

SoulAlive

PeggyO said:

I am spending the money and I wish we would act more collectively in this matter. I'm concerned if his hardcore fans don't really respond to this endeavor (by purchasing) by Warner Bros (1999), that there may be less incentive for them to invest further.



I feel the same way.It’s very important for us diehards to really support these releases.I want everyone to buy and support this 1999 super Deluxe edition.
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Reply #10 posted 09/12/19 12:47am

udo

avatar

rdhull said:

donnyenglish said:

We are at a crossroads.

No we aren't.

.

Famous last words or a real downturn in physical music media?

Pills and thrills and daffodils will kill... If you don't believe me or don't get it, I don't have time to try to convince you, sorry.
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Reply #11 posted 09/12/19 2:08am

jaawwnn

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https://www.elvispresleyftd.com/


It's the only way to do it. He's not going to have a hit single with a 30 year old track, give up on the charts already. The download store is fine as well but I assume there isn't enough profit for it for the estate, don't fool yourself into thinking that they're doing this for the love of his music.

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Reply #12 posted 09/12/19 5:47am

PeggyO

jaawwnn said:

https://www.elvispresleyftd.com/


It's the only way to do it. He's not going to have a hit single with a 30 year old track, give up on the charts already. The download store is fine as well but I assume there isn't enough profit for it for the estate, don't fool yourself into thinking that they're doing this for the love of his music.

Yes, that would be ideal but it is not the current reality.

Many fans have asked for what Warner's is delivering...I hope we don't drop the ball.

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Reply #13 posted 09/12/19 5:51am

SquirrelMeat

avatar

If I were charge if the estate, from an income perspective, I'd be looking at 5 key elements:

1. Locking in a regular income from 'die hards'

2. Creating upselling opportunities to those fans.

3. Keeping production costs low

4. Sweating all the assets in the vault

5. Make choice products available to the mass market

6. Contemporise some material to draw in new audiences

To that end, I'd start a 'Friends Of Paisley Park'/NPGMC type sponsorship/membership, say $31.21 a year. Then, only members will be offered the opportunity to purchase timed releases of 'deep cuts' vault material as download or physical product.

With member fees and member merchandise it wouldn't be unreasonable to think they could raise $1m per annum towards the runnning costs of PP.

With the die hards locked in, then they could start offering product that would never go to mass market, and doesn't require any reworking beyond the digital transfer which is likely to have already taken place. An example would be a single album containing all the recordings of Computer Blue. They could even go as far a releasing things in batch format, by reel number. Or Prince's version of the first time album, still leaving the possiblity for it to be included as part of a multi disc set on a remaster project.

Remasters and compilations could still be released to mass market.

Finally, and more contentious, they could look to contemporise, by offering choice artists the opportunity to record an unreleased composition prior to Prince's version being made available. They could equally allow modern remixing, in the vain of the MJ Xscape, as long as the untouched originals are avaiable through the membership.

If they really wanted to be bold, they could enlist the fanbase. Such as offering fans the opportunity to restore video footage. With the current technology, some fan material is better than professional production, due to the love and attention spent on it. Of course, it keeps costs down as well.




.
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Reply #14 posted 09/12/19 6:28am

PURPLEIZED3121

online membership / NPGMC is the ONLY way to go. from what snippetts i've read from the chaps in the vaulkt this is on the cards? They could do this tomorrow with the cleaned up stuff they have now AND add to the list as they go along.

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Reply #15 posted 09/12/19 6:36am

jaypotton

SquirrelMeat said:

If I were charge if the estate, from an income perspective, I'd be looking at 5 key elements:

1. Locking in a regular income from 'die hards'


2. Creating upselling opportunities to those fans.


3. Keeping production costs low


4. Sweating all the assets in the vault


5. Make choice products available to the mass market


6. Contemporise some material to draw in new audiences

To that end, I'd start a 'Friends Of Paisley Park'/NPGMC type sponsorship/membership, say $31.21 a year. Then, only members will be offered the opportunity to purchase timed releases of 'deep cuts' vault material as download or physical product.

With member fees and member merchandise it wouldn't be unreasonable to think they could raise $1m per annum towards the runnning costs of PP.

With the die hards locked in, then they could start offering product that would never go to mass market, and doesn't require any reworking beyond the digital transfer which is likely to have already taken place. An example would be a single album containing all the recordings of Computer Blue. They could even go as far a releasing things in batch format, by reel number. Or Prince's version of the first time album, still leaving the possiblity for it to be included as part of a multi disc set on a remaster project.

Remasters and compilations could still be released to mass market.

Finally, and more contentious, they could look to contemporise, by offering choice artists the opportunity to record an unreleased composition prior to Prince's version being made available. They could equally allow modern remixing, in the vain of the MJ Xscape, as long as the untouched originals are avaiable through the membership.

If they really wanted to be bold, they could enlist the fanbase. Such as offering fans the opportunity to restore video footage. With the current technology, some fan material is better than professional production, due to the love and attention spent on it. Of course, it keeps costs down as well.






Loved this until we go to the contemporise bit. Urghh not for me. I can see why commercially you might do this but urghh
'I loved him then, I love him now and will love him eternally. He's with our son now.' Mayte 21st April 2016 = the saddest quote I have ever read! RIP Prince and thanks for everything.
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Reply #16 posted 09/12/19 7:38am

lurker316

avatar

EmmaMcG said:

Personally, I don't see any future Prince release reaching a wide audience. It took too long for the estate to get things together and by the time music got released it was underwhelming from a casual fan's perspective. Like, Piano And A Microphone? Seriously? So, as far as appealing to the masses goes, that ship has sailed. The other method you mention of high price releases aimed at his hardcore fanbase is a risky proposition. Sure, some people will be willing to pay premium prices for unreleased vault material. But I wouldn't. I could easily afford such a subscription service but the problem is that I just don't see it as value for money. And I don't think I'd be alone in that. Besides, his hardcore fanbase isn't as big as it was so I'm sure his estate won't want to alienate a big percentage of what's left. What I think would be their best option at this point would be to set up an online store, upload every single recording from the vault and charge $1 per song, $10 per live show and $5 for any unreleased full albums.



I agree with everything you wrote 100%.




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Reply #17 posted 09/12/19 7:54am

djThunderfunk

avatar

SquirrelMeat said:

If I were charge if the estate, from an income perspective, I'd be looking at 5 key elements:

1. Locking in a regular income from 'die hards'

2. Creating upselling opportunities to those fans.

3. Keeping production costs low

4. Sweating all the assets in the vault

5. Make choice products available to the mass market

6. Contemporise some material to draw in new audiences

To that end, I'd start a 'Friends Of Paisley Park'/NPGMC type sponsorship/membership, say $31.21 a year. Then, only members will be offered the opportunity to purchase timed releases of 'deep cuts' vault material as download or physical product.

With member fees and member merchandise it wouldn't be unreasonable to think they could raise $1m per annum towards the runnning costs of PP.

With the die hards locked in, then they could start offering product that would never go to mass market, and doesn't require any reworking beyond the digital transfer which is likely to have already taken place. An example would be a single album containing all the recordings of Computer Blue. They could even go as far a releasing things in batch format, by reel number. Or Prince's version of the first time album, still leaving the possiblity for it to be included as part of a multi disc set on a remaster project.

Remasters and compilations could still be released to mass market.

Finally, and more contentious, they could look to contemporise, by offering choice artists the opportunity to record an unreleased composition prior to Prince's version being made available. They could equally allow modern remixing, in the vain of the MJ Xscape, as long as the untouched originals are avaiable through the membership.

If they really wanted to be bold, they could enlist the fanbase. Such as offering fans the opportunity to restore video footage. With the current technology, some fan material is better than professional production, due to the love and attention spent on it. Of course, it keeps costs down as well.






I absolutely LOVE all your ideas and would rush to invest my $.... except for the "contentious/contemporise" idea. wink


[Edited 9/12/19 7:55am]

Ross Perot was right!!
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Reply #18 posted 09/12/19 9:22am

udo

avatar

SquirrelMeat said:

If I were charge if the estate, from an income perspective, I'd be looking at 5 key elements:

(cut)

Interesting proposal if the contemporise item can please be not be too subtle.

Pills and thrills and daffodils will kill... If you don't believe me or don't get it, I don't have time to try to convince you, sorry.
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Reply #19 posted 09/12/19 9:23am

udo

avatar

udo said:

SquirrelMeat said:

If I were charge if the estate, from an income perspective, I'd be looking at 5 key elements:

(cut)

Interesting proposal if the contemporise item can please be not be too subtle.

(.

i.e.: contemporise somewhere wayyy in the back...)

Pills and thrills and daffodils will kill... If you don't believe me or don't get it, I don't have time to try to convince you, sorry.
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Reply #20 posted 09/12/19 10:38am

andrewm7

agree with squirrelmeat 100% including the “contentious” contemporise part lol
I have always liked it when other people do great renditions of Prince songs
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Reply #21 posted 09/12/19 10:41pm

mediumdry

As it is, there are multiple captains on the ship that is the rights to release Prince's music. That makes it difficult to have an overal view of what the releases should be. Looking at Originals and the 1999 Deluxe, I do think they are moving in the right direction. For monetizing things, I'd look, like has been said in a few directions:

.

-subscription service for not a lot of money ($5/month? $100/year?) for steady cashflow

-"fan only" releases for those subscribed to the service

-advertised wide public releases (like they've done this far)

-movie/tv show/something else licensing, possibly even commercials

-reinterpretations, tributes with "hot" artists.

.

That last bit would be the least interesting to me, but it might pull in new people, just like the licensing could. It is vital that they manage to get new people, as, let's face it, the currently still there fans are not enough of a target market to keep everything going in the long run. As you see with anything, companies need a run rate, which is why subscriptions are becoming more and more popular (on the companies side). I don't think that they will be able to get as high profile as Michael Jackson releases, but see what that has done... his posthumous releases have been mostly non-events (unless I misremember).

.

The question then becomes how to differentiate between what goes on streaming, what becomes a "fan only" release and the question of if they will make anything wide public release that is not from 82-88.

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Reply #22 posted 09/13/19 8:20am

Cinny

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I like this idea. Hell, I liked it when it was called NPGMC. lol

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Reply #23 posted 09/13/19 1:25pm

donnyenglish

The Big Screen concert is amazing. Taking that on tour to accompany a major release would help with sales. Every kid should see that show.

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Reply #24 posted 09/13/19 3:13pm

djThunderfunk

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donnyenglish said:

The Big Screen concert is amazing. Taking that on tour to accompany a major release would help with sales. Every kid should see that show.


If you're talking about that thing where the band plays along with recordings of Prince on film....

HARD PASS! I hope I never see such an abomination. I don't care how many people tell me how awesome it is, I'm not interested at all.


Ross Perot was right!!
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Reply #25 posted 09/13/19 8:51pm

udo

avatar

donnyenglish said:

The Big Screen concert is amazing.

.

The Elvis thing is strong is in this one...

Pills and thrills and daffodils will kill... If you don't believe me or don't get it, I don't have time to try to convince you, sorry.
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Reply #26 posted 09/14/19 4:58am

Se7en

avatar

The problem is that people (especially when it comes to music) are dishonest.

The minute that "exclusive" Vault material is made available, it will be all over the Internet. For free. Which eventually causes sales to plummet for the Estate.

So they jack up the price on stuff like Piano & Microphone, purple vinyl, 1999 Deluxe to hopefully offset that.

The Estate could do some really amazing things if people weren't so dishonest (I'm lumping myself in there too - I have plenty of bootlegs).

Imagine a $500 exclusive listening party at Paisley Park of dozens of legitimately unreleased tracks? Then for that price you get FLAC files of everything you've heard?

Those might come out someday to the public, or they might not. But you got them first. Would you keep them secret, or would you post them to the Internet?

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Reply #27 posted 09/14/19 5:10am

Se7en

avatar

WhisperingDandelions said:

I don't get why in 2019, land of the x $s-a-month subscription model, the estate doesn't create a new "NPG Music Club"-like digital service with optional made-to-order pressings for the physical release die hards. Every other company gets that's the way to generate consistent income, yet their still focused on that 1-2 releases a year per monetary pop model.


I would do this if they offered lossless downloads. The quality across the many versions of NPGMC is really erratic.

In fact, I DO think this will happen once Iron Mountain is done with digitizing everything.

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Reply #28 posted 09/14/19 6:21am

EmmaMcG

avatar

Se7en said:

The problem is that people (especially when it comes to music) are dishonest.

The minute that "exclusive" Vault material is made available, it will be all over the Internet. For free. Which eventually causes sales to plummet for the Estate.

So they jack up the price on stuff like Piano & Microphone, purple vinyl, 1999 Deluxe to hopefully offset that.

The Estate could do some really amazing things if people weren't so dishonest (I'm lumping myself in there too - I have plenty of bootlegs).

Imagine a $500 exclusive listening party at Paisley Park of dozens of legitimately unreleased tracks? Then for that price you get FLAC files of everything you've heard?

Those might come out someday to the public, or they might not. But you got them first. Would you keep them secret, or would you post them to the Internet?



It's precisely because the price is so high for the 1999 Deluxe set that I'm not going to buy it and I'll just download the bonus songs instead. If it wasn't €80, I would have bought it. But that's twice as much as I'd be willing to pay.
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Reply #29 posted 09/14/19 8:03am

jaypotton

EmmaMcG said:

Se7en said:

The problem is that people (especially when it comes to music) are dishonest.

The minute that "exclusive" Vault material is made available, it will be all over the Internet. For free. Which eventually causes sales to plummet for the Estate.

So they jack up the price on stuff like Piano & Microphone, purple vinyl, 1999 Deluxe to hopefully offset that.

The Estate could do some really amazing things if people weren't so dishonest (I'm lumping myself in there too - I have plenty of bootlegs).

Imagine a $500 exclusive listening party at Paisley Park of dozens of legitimately unreleased tracks? Then for that price you get FLAC files of everything you've heard?

Those might come out someday to the public, or they might not. But you got them first. Would you keep them secret, or would you post them to the Internet?



It's precisely because the price is so high for the 1999 Deluxe set that I'm not going to buy it and I'll just download the bonus songs instead. If it wasn't €80, I would have bought it. But that's twice as much as I'd be willing to pay.


Yeah but that box will look sooooo nice on the shelf. You know you want it really. You do, you do!
'I loved him then, I love him now and will love him eternally. He's with our son now.' Mayte 21st April 2016 = the saddest quote I have ever read! RIP Prince and thanks for everything.
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