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ReDigi: Used Music Sales Drive New Music Sales

redigi_logo_340[1]The IDPF is wrapping up the second day of their conference here in NYC, and one session I happened to catch covered used content. There wasn’t much that was new to me in the session, and I’d written about it before, but a couple details stood out and are worth repeating.

John Ossenmacher, the founder and CEO of the used digital music marketplace ReDigi, was on the panel and he shared a few insights that ReDigi has learned in its 2 years of operations. It turns out that sellers of used music don’t just take their money and go away; they turn around and buy more music.

As you may know, ReDigi also sells new music (they have contracts with several record companies), and John told me that ReDigi’s partners are reporting decent sales through the site.  What’s even more interesting is that at least one partner reported seeing a rise in the sale of albums.

Yes, even though single tracks now dominate the digital music market albums seem to be making a comeback (on the ReDigi site, at least). John attributed this to buyers' greater willingness to take risks. He thinks, and I agree, that once music buyers realize that they can sell the music they don’t like they are more willing to risk their money.

Music lovers see the ability to sell used music as a safety net that protects them from bad purchases. That is not exactly a new idea; I have written in the past that Amazon’s return policy increased the chance that I would take a risk on an ebook:

I am a little surprised at the number of authors who don’t realize the importance of Amazon’s return policy.  While a few people use it to cheat, the rest of us see it as a promise that we can return a crappy product. This increases the probability that we will take risks with unknown authors.

I know that a lot of creators live in fear of the day when customers could be able to resell used digital content, but as ReDigi is already showing there is a silver lining to this cloud.

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Robert Nagle May 30, 2013 um 11:28 pm

I can see ebook distributors making some money from reselling ebooks. That is because after reading it, you hardly have a need of it. Also, Amazon and BN have direct access via Internet to the device, so they can modify inventory accordingly in their own funky DRMed way.

But with music, we are used to dealing with files (mostly non-DRMed). Also, we can play music lots of times and on multiple devices. Finally, the financial amounts we are talking about are so small that I doubt there is a great amount of money in it — especially when streaming services are already providing lots of ability to stream entire albums.

One thing I can confirm though. With purchasing CDs (both used and new), the confidence of being able to resell it makes me more inclined to buy it, and when I eventually resell it, I usually end up buying more goods.

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