iTunes, 7digital, eMusic, Band Camp, CD Baby, eStories… Transactional online audio services allow users to build an audio library from a vast catalogue, and listen to it when and how they want. These downloads are safe and legal, and the buyer knows the artist is being compensated for his or her work. The digital media retailer takes a cut of the revenue from each sale, but the rest goes to artists and labels. For buyers, downloading costs are relatively low per unit. Over time, building a large collection means making a significant financial investment, but in the end, the buyer owns his or her copy of the music.
Keep them coming back for more. Some transactional audio services, like Apple iTunes, represent just one branch of a larger business that sells other products and services, thus keeping users within the company’s ecosystem. Other services, like eMusic, offer memberships for a monthly fee, giving buyers a discount on their purchases or offering content for pre-order. Ensuring that a broad variety and depth of content is on offer is a key strategy for this model, and many services have expanded their content library with non-music audio formats like podcasts and audiobooks. As in the case of streaming audio, many providers use algorithm-derived recommendations to cross-sell to users, keeping their customers coming back for more.