Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails gave away an album online for free and asked that people pay $5 for a higher quality version of the music.
28,322 (18.3%) of the 154,449 total downloads were $5 sales. Thats a total of $141,610 in gross for the album.
Reznor and others are able to conclude that it sounds kinda bad or uncertain, but don’t say much in terms of inferences.
I’ll bet Reznor could do a a super album on the cheap but all in all, for a musician with his resources and experience, I find this to be extremely weak in sum for him, personally. But at 18% buy-in which sounds very positive to me by percentage points alone, what if by contrast, say, 1 Million were downloaded? Shouldn’t the internet not only provide Reznor with an updated infrastructure for promoting and distributing his art, but also provide the potential to substantially increase his reach?
Since the investment would stay almost the same, had he sold 200,000 albums as opposed to just 28,000, the revenue would be so much more substantial.
Apparently Reznor did nothing to promote the album (i.e. had his fans and the general public gotten word of the release, the d/l’s and thus sales would of likely been much greater). This would of also allowed us to reasonably infer that the number of sales NIN reached is possibly attainable by a much smaller band who is actually working hard to get the word out to their fans.
My conclusion is thus that this is a success and a potentially positive indication for a sustainable approach. 28% buy-in for most things is pretty good isnt it?