Amazon is selling the new Lady Gaga album, Born This Way, for the insanely low price of $.99. While it is certainly garnering the site the attention it is sure to have desired, the negative tone is probably not what they were hoping for.
Lets say your company launched a new cloud music service called Cloud Player nearly two months ago, but hardly anyone seems to be paying attention to it. Then lets say one of the most notable musicians of the past few years was releasing a new album. Could you think of a better way to generate buzz for your service than nearly giving away said album? But, then lets also say that the response to the promotion was so overwhelming that a backlash fired up over everyone’s inability to download the album. It would be easy to say your promotion may have worked jut a bit too well.
With the numerous rumors that Apple is in final talks with the major record labels about launching its own streaming service, Amazon is trying to get people using its player as quickly as possible. When the Cloud Player first launched, the deal was you started off with 5GB of storage, but buying a $5 digital album would upgrade you to 20GB for one year. As part of this Lady Gaga promotion, the $.99 you spend on this album will garner you the same benefits. Wonderful if you ever choose to use it, but considering the user experience people seem to be enjoying today, it seems doubtful that many will return.
While people are flocking to this deal, enough to bring downloads to a screeching halt and hate messages being thrown left and right in the album’s reviews, it is doubtful that anyone will give the Cloud Player much of a second thought after they get this album downloaded to their hard drive. As Peter Kafka of All Things D aptly points out, this is akin to when retailers like Best Buy would mark down a hot new album from $16 to $10 in hopes you would buy other items while in the store. It’s an old retailing trick of making a hot item a loss leader, but in the digital age, where someone doesn’t even have to get out of their PJs to buy something, it can quickly turn into such an effective marketing tool that it backfires on you.
Apple is currently selling the album for $11.99 for the regular edition and $15.99 for a special edition with bonus remixes. Born This Way is currently the top selling album in every country’s iTunes music chart, so not everyone is going for the Amazon deal … or perhaps they bought it at Amazon, get fed up with the download issues and then went and bought a copy at Apple. Total speculation on my behalf, but you never know.
It’s not too hard to imagine that Apple is sitting back and taking notes as this all unfolds, trying to make sure it doesn’t suffer a similar fate when its rumored music service finally launches.
What do you think? Is this a black eye for Amazon’s Cloud Player?