Pay-what you want memberships
You can now decide how much you want to pay for your Magnatune membership.
Previously, a download membership always cost $18/month, now you choose how much you want to pay.
Also new, is that you can now type in the amount you want to pay, rather than having a drop-down list of pre-filled choices.
The idea for a "fill in box" for the amount you want to pay comes from a lunch I had a few months ago with the quite brilliant Leah Belsky, who (among other things) is a researcher at Yale University for open-source-philosopher-guru Yochai Benkler.
She told me about some research which showed that people choose a higher amount to voluntarily pay, when they are faced with an empty box to fill in. She also explained that a small percentage of people elect to pay a *lot* more if they can. A list-box of choices doesn't allow you to put a much higher amount in, and so stops those people from paying what they want.
Leah has since published a paper on the topic, which features Magnatune as well, it is entitled: "EVERYTHING IN ITS RIGHT PLACE: SOCIAL COOPERATION AND THE PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION OF CREATIVE WORKS"
Leah convinced me to only change one thing at a time on the Magnatune membership page, so that there would be useable before-and-after numbers that academics could gain insight from, and see what the results are of this experiment.
There are a few other new aspects to the membership page:
1) the previous signup page was on several pages, and this caused confusion. For example, people wrote in saying they didn't see how to get a lifetime membership (it was on the 2nd page).
2) you can now choose whether you want to have your membership renew automatically, or not renew at all (in which case you need to renew it yourself, by hand).
The idea for this comes from my friend Stephen Hill, who runs the legendary Hearts of Space radio show and hos.com music service. He has been running a music subscription service far longer than I have, so he has the good fortune of experience and insight.
Stephen persuasively argued that people are much more comfortable making the choice of renewing vs not-renewing themselves, and that the number of members I would lose because they didn't renew, would be more than made up by the increased number of people who became members because of the softer-sell approach.
At hos.com, you get a small discount if you choose a longer term membership, or to auto-renew or not, typically just a $1/month savings. His signup form has a lot of options, but he told me that people really appreciate being in control, and seeing everything at once.
So, my thanks go out to Leah and Stephen, for sharing their thoughts with me, and helping make Magnatune a wee bit better.
Here is what the new membership signup page now looks like: