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Do Consumers Pay Voluntarily? The Case of Online Music

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Author Info

  • Tobias Regner

    ()
    (University of Jena, School of Busniess and Economics)

  • Javier A. Barria

    ()
    (Intelligent Systems + Networks group, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Imperial College London)

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

Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2007-011.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2007
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Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2007-011

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Keywords: social preferences; reciprocity; music industry; experience goods; psychological game theory; emotions;

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References

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  1. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 1997. "Reciprocity as a contract enforcement device: experimental evidence," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5911, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  3. Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Discussion Paper 1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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  5. Dufwenberg, Martin, 2002. "Marital investments, time consistency and emotions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 57-69, May.
  6. John A. List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2000. "The Effects of Seed Money and Refunds on Charitable Giving: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0008, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  7. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  8. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1984. "Tobit models: A survey," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 3-61.
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  10. Jon Elster, 1998. "Emotions and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 47-74, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Maroš Servátka, 2007. "Does Generosity Generate Generosity? An Experimental Study of Reputation Effects in a Dictator Game," Working Papers in Economics 07/03, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  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. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. Regner, Tobias & Riener, Gerhard, 2012. "Voluntary payments, privacy and social pressure on the internet: A natural field experiment," DICE Discussion Papers 82, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  6. Schmidt, Klaus M. & Spann, Martin & Zeithammer, Robert, 2012. "Pay What You Want as a Marketing Strategy in Monopolistic and Competitive Markets," Discussion Papers in Economics 14308, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Markus Pasche, 2014. "Welfare Effects of Endogenous Copyright Enforcement - the Case of Digital Goods," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-008, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Sana El Harbi & Gilles Grolleau & Insaf Bekir, 2014. "Substituting piracy with a pay-what-you-want option: does it make sense?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 277-297, April.

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