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Do consumers pay voluntarily? The case of online music

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  • Regner, Tobias
  • Barria, Javier A.

Abstract

The paper analyses the payment behaviour of customers of the online music label Magnatune. Customers may pay what they want for albums, as long as the payment is within a given price range ($5-$18). Magnatune's comprehensive pre-purchase access facilitates music discovery and allows an informed buying decision setting it apart from conventional online music stores. On average customers pay $8.20, far more than the minimum of $5 and even higher than the recommended price of $8. We analyse the relationship between artists/labels and customers in online music. We consider social preferences, in particular concerns for reciprocity. The resulting sequential reciprocity equilibrium corresponds to the observed pattern of behaviour. We conclude that Magnatune's open contracts design can encourage people to make voluntary payments and may be a viable business option.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 71 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 395-406

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:71:y:2009:i:2:p:395-406

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

Related research

Keywords: Social preferences Reciprocity Music industry Experience goods Psychological game theory Emotions;

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References

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  1. John List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2002. "The effects of seed money and refunds on charitable giving: Experimental evidence from a university capital campaign," Natural Field Experiments 00301, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Geanakoplos, John & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1989. "Psychological games and sequential rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 60-79, March.
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  5. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
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  9. Cragg, John G, 1971. "Some Statistical Models for Limited Dependent Variables with Application to the Demand for Durable Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 829-44, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Tobias Regner & Gerhard Riener, 2013. "Voluntary Payments, Privacy and Social Pressure on the Internet: A Natural Field Experiment," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-032, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  2. Christina Gravert, 2014. "Pride and Patronage - The effect of identity on pay-what-you-want prices at a charitable bookstore," Economics Working Papers 2014-04, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  3. Egbert, Henrik & Greiff, Matthias & Xhangolli, Kreshnik, 2014. "PWYW Pricing ex post Consumption: A Sales Strategy for Experience Goods," MPRA Paper 53376, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Servátka, Maros, 2010. "Does generosity generate generosity? An experimental study of reputation effects in a dictator game," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 11-17, January.
  5. Schmidt, Klaus M. & Spann, Martin & Zeithammer, Robert, 2012. "Pay What You Want as a Marketing Strategy in Monopolistic and Competitive Markets," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 393, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  6. Thomes, Tim Paul, 2011. "An economic analysis of online streaming. How the music industry can generate revenues from cloud computing," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-039, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  7. Matthias Greiff & Henrik Egbert & Kreshnik Xhangolli, 2013. "Pay What You Want – But Pay Enough! Information Asymmetries and PWYW-Pricing," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201304, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  8. Grazia Cecere & Nicoletta Corrocher & Fabio Scarica, 2012. "Why do pirates buy music online? An empirical analysis on a sample of college students," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(4), pages 2955-2968.
  9. Lynn, Michael & Flynn, Sean Masaki & Helion, Chelsea, 2013. "Do consumers prefer round prices? Evidence from pay-what-you-want decisions and self-pumped gasoline purchases," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 96-102.
  10. Riener, Gerhard & Traxler, Christian, 2012. "Norms, moods, and free lunch: Longitudinal evidence on payments from a Pay-What-You-Want restaurant," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 476-483.

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