Two years after the Humble Indie Bundle introduced a pay-what-you-want model for independent gaming that – against all odds and no little skepticism – actually worked, the people behind Humble Bundle have moved on to see if the same trick can work for the music industry with the introduction of the Humble Music Bundle, offering five albums for download at a price that’s definitely right for you… because you get to choose it.
Five albums – Christopher Tin’s Calling All Dawns, They Might Be Giants’ Album Raises New and Troubling Questions, Jonathan Coulton’s Greatest Hit (Plus 13 Other Songs), MC Frontalot’s Favoritism, and Best of the Valkyria Chronicles by Hitoshi Sakimoto – are available for immediate download in DRM-free MP3 or FLAC format for whatever amount you choose to contribute, as part of the promotion, with customers who pay more than the current average price of $7.87 also receiving a sixth album, Twelve Remixes of Four Songs by OK Go, for “free.” (Details about the albums can be found here.)
According to Humble Bundle co-founder Richard Esguerra, talking to Ars Technica, Humble Music Bundle has been in the works for awhile. “We’ve been working for more than a year to put together this deal for digital music,” Esguerra told the site, citing Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want experiment with the In Rainbows album as an inspiration. “Our philosophy with games has been to run promotions that help independent creators, support charity, and provide really cool deals for people worldwide, which were all values that fit with music as well. That said, it’s more experimental than some of our far-ranging game bundles even, so we’re really curious to see how it goes.”
As the site points out, it’s not just the price that you get to control: “You choose exactly how much of your purchase goes to support the musicians, as well as the Child’s Play Charity and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, two non-profit organziations doing great work in the world,” the Humble Bundle front page explains, adding that customers can also earmark funds to go towards Humble Bundle as well, should they wish to do so.
The site also offers a breakdown of current purchases; as of writing, the top amount spent is $300 (by Twitter user @BeatKitano; well done, sir), with the current average purchase price being $7.87. Overall, customers on Linux systems are spending more money on the package than those on Macs ($11.99 to $9.34), with Windows users bringing up the rear in terms of cheapness; they’re at an average price of $6.96 as I type these words. Since launch, there has been upwards of 13,000 purchases, totaling more than $100,000 in terms of spending.
Those interested in participating in the Humble Music Bundle should do so quickly; the albums will only be available for two weeks.