Album bundles have nudged stars to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
Last year at least 18 of the top 39 album titles were sold with concert tickets or t-shirts or something else we wanted.
Where are we going? To album bundles and demand.
Travis Scott and Taylor Swift
The music industry is trying to figure out how to resuscitate sagging CD and album downloads. Between 2015 and 2018, U.S. album and CD downloads plunged by close to 53%. At the same time streaming revenue tripled.
It makes sense that bundling was a remedy. Just connect an album purchase to a t-shirt and you elevate the sale of both. With his music, Rapper Travis Scott offers us concert tickets, key chains, hats, and access to a “future headline tour.” For him that meant 349 million streams and 270,000 “Astroworld” album sales.
Meanwhile, Taylor Swift bundles her t-shirts (and smartphone stands and hoodies):
An economist might call it temptation bundling.
Temptation bundling is a commitment device because it encourages us to do something we might not want to do. I perch my computer on my sink to watch Netflix when I do the dinner dishes. As a result, I actually look forward to a task that I used to avoid. If you listen to a page-turner mystery only at the gym, then you are also temptation bundling. The pain (cost) of a workout is exceeded by the pleasure (benefit) of the novel.
Somewhat similarly, we are temptation bundling when our album purchase is accompanied by a coveted product. An album download had become less desirable. But pairing it with a product elevated its attractiveness.
And that takes us back to basic economics.
Our Bottom Line: Demand
Bundling is about demand. A basic economic concept. demand just refers to how much we are willing and able to purchase at different prices. Rather than one item at one price, demand is a whole schedule of prices and quantities. When a musician pairs a song with a desirable commodity like a concert ticket or a t-shirt, our demand increases.
My sources and more: Thanks to the NY Times for reminding me that it was time to return to bundling. Then, another NY Times article had the Travis Scott numbers and the Taylor Swift website had her paraphernalia