Bob Baker's The Buzz Factor
Music marketing tips and self-promotion ideas for independent songwriters, musicians and bands.
Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros
November 28, 2006
Sweet Tracks & Cheap Tricks
What caught my eye near the cash register was a display of what looked like candy in bright, shiny wrappers. Looking closer, I saw that the packages read "Sweet Tracks." The text on the back read as follows:
Sweet Tracks is a delicious blend of 14 free holiday music downloads. You'll also enjoy 5 mouthwatering bonus tracks and tasty holiday ringtones ...
Sounded good. What a creative packaging idea to promote music! I was hooked. When I got home, I opened the package and went to the web site listed on the enclosed fold-out card. That's when things started to go down hill.
First, I had to register for the Best Buy Digital Music Store. Fair enough. Turns out this "Sweet Tracks" thing is a cross-promotion with Rhapsody, the online music subscription service. To take advantage of the "14 free holiday music tracks," I had to download and install Rhapsody. This was an unexpected hurdle. But I've heard good things about Rhapsody and figured I'd move ahead to check it out.
Once the program was installed, I had to register with Rhapsody. Yet another task I had to complete before getting to the free holiday music. Then I was given the option of signing up for a free Rhapsody trial (with a monthly subscription payment to follow after the trial period). I wasn't ready for that commitment just yet, so I opted for Rhapsody's free version.
Well, when you don't sign up for the potential paid membership, all you get of the holiday music is 30-second streaming samples of each song. So much for the "14 free holiday music downloads."
This is a great example of two corporations with money and the ability to reach lots of people taking a good idea and blowing it. Why make it so hard for people to take you up on an offer? Why mislead music consumers with the promise of free music downloads and then put so many hoops and requirements in the way?
I scoured the "Sweet Tracks" retail package in search of some indication of all that was needed to actually get the downloads. There is no mention of having to join Rhapsody in order to get the 14 full music tracks. Maybe they just figure consumers will deal with it. But frankly, I find it misleading and frustrating.
In my next post, I'll spell out what indie musicians can learn from this promotion and how to create your own version of it -- one that will endear music fans and not piss them off.
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Bob Baker is an author, speaker, teacher, indie musician and former music magazine editor dedicated to showing musicians of all kinds how to get exposure, connect with fans, sell more music, and increase their incomes.
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