19 March 2008

The Economy of Free

I was reading the Wired mazine, more precisily an article called Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business, which explains why is possible to "sell" things for free (from razor blades to flight tickets) and I came across a very interesting example from Brazil:

On a busy corner in São Paulo, Brazil, street vendors pitch the latest "tecnobrega" CDs, including one by a hot band called Banda Calypso. Like CDs from most street vendors, these did not come from a record label. But neither are they illicit. They came directly from the band. Calypso distributes masters of its CDs and CD liner art to street vendor networks in towns it plans to tour, with full agreement that the vendors will copy the CDs, sell them, and keep all the money. That's OK, because selling discs isn't Calypso's main source of income. The band is really in the performance business — and business is good. Traveling from town to town this way, preceded by a wave of supercheap CDs, Calypso has filled its shows and paid for a private jet.

I wasn't aware of that, this is really smart. You can't stop piracy, so rely on it. Free sample is an old marketing trick, but the way Wired is discribing, it will come soon a kind of free sample 2.0 wave.

By the way, Wired is totally for free to read on the internet. And I remember when I made a subscription and cancelled secounds after - because the fine print said that price was not for people in Latin America -, they sent me anyway one Wired issue. The result? Everytime I come across a paperstand, I ask "is there a magazine called Wired?" (which I usually hear "What?" in answer).

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