Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Some record labels and online stores seem to really understand how to work with digital material. Used well, digital streams and digital downloads can benefit artists and drive sales.

How do I know this? I've run a record label, I sell my own music on CD, tape, vinyl and a range of digital formats and - yes - I'm perhaps that rare breed of person happy to pay for digital music. Take Boomkat for instance. Great playlists, wishlists, range of file formats, excellent shop and the files arrive nicely bundled and often with extra pdfs or at least artwork.

I recently bought the amazing Pinch and Shackleton album direct from the label Honest Jons. In short, the user experience of the shop wasn't the best, the previews wouldn't load in my browser and the mp3s themselves had no data at all apart from titles in the form of 1cracksinthepleasuredome. So I sent them this response.
Dear Honest Jons,
First time buyer, just thought I'd give you a little feedback. 
After hearing great things about Pinch And Shackleton's album, thought I'd buy direct from the label. 
Some issues: 
- had to go to youtube to actually preview the track   
- had to individually add each mp3 to my cart 
- had to select individual mp3s for download from email 
- no artwork included 
- incorrect metadata - no artist, album data, release date, etc. 
That's like selling me a vinyl without the sleeve. I guess selling digital not a priority, but I've bought vinyl from you previously and always been impressed. This time not so. Found the album on filesharing sites, could have downloaded it for free. Thought I'd support the label and artist, pretty sure the illegally shared stuff would have had artwork and correct metadata. 
Really disappointed. Best, Adam
And received this amazing (anonymous) reply.
Morning, Adam... You can preview on our site, top quality mp3s. Your points two and three are the same. The mp3s are only 60 bloody pence. The bundle would be £4.80... Yes, no artwork for this price and format. In the case of Pinch & Shackleton, we want people to buy vinyl. The sleeve is there on the site. The metadata isn't incorrect, it's partial. Put the release date yourself in if you like! 'Found the album on filesharing sites, could have downloaded it for free... pretty sure the illegally shared stuff would have had artwork and correct metadata.' Checked your links, you're quite a wanker.
Sure, it's not the biggest purchase in the world, not the most pressing issue, but this an exceptional example of how not to deal with a) digital material and b) customer feedback. Buy Pinch and Shackleton's music, avoid Honest Jons if you can.

UPDATE


I wrote back (their quoted mail in italics).
You can preview on our site, top quality mp3s. 
Doesn't work Mac OSX 10.6.7, Firefox or Chrome. 
Your points two and three are the same. The mp3s are only 60 bloody pence. The bundle would be £4.80... 
Sure. How much does it cost you to host them? It's not a big deal, just feedback on the user experience. 
Yes, no artwork for this price and format. In the case of Pinch & Shackleton, we want people to buy vinyl. The sleeve is there on the site. 
I often buy both. I tend to wait till I'm back in the UK though, hence the digital only purchase this time. 
The metadata isn't incorrect, it's partial. Put the release date yourself in if you like! 
I'm pretty sure 1cracksinthepleasuredome isn't the correct track name.
Checked your links, you're quite a wanker. 
Great customer service. More than happy to help. Best, Adam 
And they replied (them in italics again).
Doesn't work Mac OSX 10.6.7, Firefox or Chrome. 
Yes, it does, all three.
How much does it cost you to host them? 
No money goes to hosting. One third each to Pinch, Shackleton and HJ. 
I'm pretty sure 1cracksinthepleasuredome isn't the correct track name. 
I don't think we can influence this. It's not our metadata.
So, ignoring the fact that they don't know the difference between an OS and a browser, or that they misunderstood my hosting question, it's now, apparently, not their fault.

As Honest Jons gets a third of the money, I can tell you with some certainty that the going rate to be called a wanker is about one pound eighty.


1 comment:

Neil said...

I got the P&S album off emusic (yep, legit and paid for!) and the 1st track locks up my mp3 player after about 2 minutes. The 2nd track locks it up after 2 seconds.

Coincidence I wonder? Hmmm...