Archive for October, 2009

22
Oct
09

Pay-what-you-want marketing experiment

Indie game developer 2D Boy just made an interesting experiment, in which they sold their game World of Goo for whatever price you were willing to pay.

I find this quite interesting from a business standpoint. Considering that most things are freely (if often illegally) available on the internet, I think exploring new marketing strategies is of paramount importance, probably more so for smaller companies than for large companies.

2D Boy wrote an exhaustive blog entry about how the experiment went and they also published an interesting chart on how much people decided to pay:

[Statistic of what ppl paid]

Click for a larger image.

Many people only paid one cent for the game, (16,852 of them), and 15,797 paid between $1 and $2. They even had a questionnaire later on where they asked people to answer why they paid what they paid, and while many said “That’s all I can afford right now” (which I don’t buy for the 1 cent crowd, as I imagine anyone who can download a video game online could probably do without at least $1), many also said they wanted to support the “pay-what-you-want model”, many said they already had it but wanted it for another platform, too. Some said “I’ve played the game but never paid for it, took this opportunity to get legit”.

They also wrote that their sales of the game on Steam rose 40%, which makes me wonder whether maybe some of those that paid 1 cent for the game decided to buy it for the normal price once they tested and liked it.

I also wonder whether the people that only paid $0.01 would have bought/obtained the game through any other means or whether they wouldn’t have been customers any other way.

It’s also interesting to know that 2d Boy made no money on purchases of around 30 cents and under, as they had to pay PayPal for those purchases, too.

“Since the birthday sale started, about 57 thousand people bought World of Goo off our website. The average price paid for the game was $2.03 a significant percent of which went to PayPal for transaction fees. Normally, they keep about 5% of the revenue, but because PayPal fees are structured in a way that they take a larger percentage for smaller transactions, we ended up paying over 13% in transaction fees. For all purchases of around 30 cents and under, we actually saw no money, PayPal took it all, but they probably ended up losing money on most of those transactions ($0.01) as well, they’re not the bad guy.”
(http://2dboy.com/)

At any rate, I suppose this could be a good way to make some money off of a digital “product” few people are buying anymore.

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19
Oct
09

Music Monday #27: Kiss With A Fist

Is it Monday again? Well, you should be happy, because on this lovely Music Monday, I bring to you a song by Florence and the Machine. The song is called Kiss With A Fist and it’s from their debut album Lungs.

Now when I first saw Florence Welch, the lead singer, I thought to myself that she’s probably 30ish. Turns out she was born in 1987, which makes her 22. I’m shocked and I feel old. In the recent print issue (August 20, 2009) of Rolling Stone Magazine, she actually mentions that she still lives with her parents.

At any rate, so there is this song, Kiss With A Fist, that she said in some interview I can’t find now is NOT about domestic violence and is just a metaphor. Actually, reading about the song is how I learned what a burning bed scenario is. There actually is a burning bed in the video, so her comment seemed weird. So I looked it up on her website, http://florenceandthemachine.net/index, and there it says:

I was 16 or 17 when I wrote this. I’d just fallen in love for the first time, and I’d also started hanging out with an older group of people, watching how their relationships worked. There was this one couple who were so cool, but so visceral and so intense. The guy never hit the girl, but I saw her lamp him a couple of times, and she’d always give as good as she got. But it wasn’t really the physical violence, it was more about the fact that their animal passion for each other was the thing that was attractive for them. It was how joyful destruction can be, and how alluring it is to be in a relationship that was so fiery. There was never a dull moment when they were around. I don’t know how they do it! I’m a conflict avoider. I think I write about such intense things because I’m actually really bad at expressing anger.

Question answered.

The other catchy song on the album is Drumming (see Drumming on YouTube). It’s not as catchy as Kiss With A Fist, and in the video she’s scantily clad and crawling around on a church floor. I don’t know if that passes as art. Still, it’s a catchy song, too.

Anyway, here’s Kiss With A Fist. Enjoy and comment!

Florence and the Machine

Florence and the flower thingy.

(Alternative link)

Kiss With A Fist by Florence and the Machine

You hit me once
I hit you back
You gave a kick
I gave a slap
You smashed a plate
Over my head
Then i set fire to our bed

You hit me once
I hit you back
You gave a kick
I gave a slap
You smashed a plate
Over my head
Then i set fire to our bed

My black eye casts no shadow
Your red eye sees no pain
Your slaps don’t stick
Your kicks don’t hit
So we remain the same
Blood sticks and
Sweat drips
Break the lock if it don’t fit
A kick in the teeth is good for some
A kiss with a fist is better than none
A kiss with a fist is better than none

Broke your jaw once before
Spilt your blood upon the floor
You broke my leg in return
Sit back and watch the bed burn
Well, love sticks sweat drips
Break the lock if it don’t fit
A kick in the teeth is good for some
A kiss with a fist is better than none
A kiss with a fist is better than none

You hit me once
I hit you back
You gave a kick
I gave a slap
You smashed a plate over my head
Then i set fire to our bed

You hit me once
I hit you back
You gave a kick
I gave a slap
You smashed a plate over my head
Then i set fire to our bed

(Lyrics from songmeanings.net)


PS: Go to this Rolling Stone article on Florence and the Machine right now to download two of their songs for free.

12
Oct
09

Music Monday #26: Running Up That Hill

Today I want to bring you a cover version done by Placebo of the Kate Bush song Running Up That Hill.

Now, Kate Bush was born in England on July 30, 1958. Running Up That Hill is on her album Hounds Of Love, which was released in 1985 (when she was 27). Interestingly enough, the song was supposed to be called A Deal With God, but EMI didn’t want to release it under that name because, according to Wikipedia, “they feared the religious connotations of the title could have prevented radio play”. Wikipedia also quotes Kate Bush saying: “[W]e were told that if we kept this title that it would not be played in any of the religious countries, Italy wouldn’t play it, France wouldn’t play it, and Australia wouldn’t play it! Ireland wouldn’t play it, and that generally we might get it blacked purely because it had God in the title.” I personally find this quite outrageous. It’s like when Sony told Sophie B. Hawkins to get rid of that banjo back then. Come on, it’s art!

At any rate, 21 years later in 2006, when Kate Bush was 48 and Placebo singer Brian Molko was almost 34, Placebo released a cover version of Running Up That Hill on the re-release of their debut album.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like the original by Kate Bush. More than that, I like her song Wuthering Heights. But I find what Placebo did with the song is so much darker and so much more haunting and melancholic that I do prefer it over the original.

Well, judge for yourself:

Kate Bush original with lots of dancing.

(Alternative Link)

Placebo Video

The Placebo version. With an upside down video, not sure why.

(Alternative Link)

Kate Bush – Running Up that Hill

It doesn’t hurt me.
You wanna feel how it feels?
You wanna know, know that it doesn’t hurt me?
You wanna hear about the deal I’m making?
You be running up that hill
You and me be running up that hill

And if I only could,
Make a deal with God,
And get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building.
If I only could, oh…

You don’t want to hurt me,
But see how deep the bullet lies.
Unaware that I’m tearing you asunder.
There is thunder in our hearts, baby.
So much hate for the ones we love?
Tell me, we both matter, don’t we?

You, be running up that hill
You and me, be running up that hill
You and me won’t be unhappy.

And if I only could,
Make a deal with God,
And get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building,
If I only could, oh…

C’mon, baby, c’mon, c’mon, darling,
Let me steal this moment from you now.
C’mon, angel, c’mon, c’mon, darling,
Let’s exchange the experience, oh…

And if I only could,
Make a deal with God,
And get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems

If I only could, be running up that hill

(Lyrics from azlyrics.com.)

For completeness’ sake, there’s also a version of the song by Within Temptation, but it doesn’t do much for me one way or the other.

Comments?

10
Oct
09

The Biosphere and the Exponential Function

On this Video Saturday I want to share with you two things I came across that both seem somewhat relevant. Well, maybe at first glance the video about Biosphere 2 doesn’t seem that important, but it’s probably easier (and shorter) to watch than the second set of videos.

Biosphere 2 was basically a closed off ecological system built for research purposes. Biosphere 1, in case you’re wondering, is our own biosphere of the Earth. So they sent in eight people to live in Biosphere 2 for two years, which I find to be a very interesting experiment. I’d say one of the most important things learned from it was that (and why) their oxygen kept disappearing, which sound like valuable information in case another biosphere should be built one day, say, on another planet. However, before (or after) watching the video, you might want to read about the criticism of the project.

So here’s a video of the slightly annoying Jane Poynter talking at TED about her time in Biosphere 2:

Jane Poynter

The second and more interesting video (if you have the time to really listen) is modestly called The Most IMPORTANT Video You’ll Ever See on YouTube, and it’s a lecture given by Dr. Albert A. Bartlett on Arithmetic, Population, and Energy. It’s long, but enlightening and I personally didn’t think it was boring at all. One of the important statements he makes there is this:

The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.

Dr. Albert A. Bartlett

Dr. Albert Bartlett

Dr. Albert Bartlett on Arithmetic, Population, and Energy [Part 1 of 8]
[Part 2 of 8]
[Part 3 of 8]
[Part 4 of 8]
[Part 5 of 8]
[Part 6 of 8]
[Part 7 of 8]
[Part 8 of 8]

That’s it for today. Enjoy.

07
Oct
09

Sleep on the floor! It’s hygienic!

Sometimes I wish I were working for an ad agency. The things they get away with… Consider this ad that was in the ALDI newsletter a little while ago:

Click the image for a larger version.

In case you don’t speak German (hey, why not? Everybody else does!), the ad basically says that you can buy this bedding, and it protects you from bacteria, mites and fungus, presumably by not getting wet when you sweat. Now the question I’m asking myself is: why is that woman lying on the bare floor, naked, asleep next to her dishes? That doesn’t sound very sanitary to me…

05
Oct
09

Music Monday #25: Love Long Distance

Today, without much ado, I want to present to you the two songs that have been stuck in my head for over a week now. They’re both by Gossip (formerly The Gossip), a US-American rock band around the wonderful vocals of Beth Ditto. They had already released three albums before they hit it big with their single Standing In The Way Of Control, but the songs I want to show you are from their 2009 album Music For Men.

(Alternative link)

Gossip Love Long Distance

Call yourself a romantic
Let me explain
Been across the whole Atlantic
And back again
I had it with your antics
Your childish games
Baby

I call your number twice
But it rang and rang
Against my best friends advice
I should be ashamed
Did it to me once
You’ll do it again
So she says

Love long distance
Is testing me trying my patience
I need more of your assistance now
Love long distance
Is testing me trying my patience
I need more of your assistance now

Heard it through the bass line
Not much longer would you be my baby

Work yourself into a panic
Bent outta shape
And then take me for granted
Like nothing’s changed
All my friends are asking
Why you’re that way
But I can’t explain

Why I call your number twice
And it rang and rang
Against my best friends advice
I should be ashamed
You did it to me once
You’ll do it again
She promises

Love long distance
Is testing me trying my patience
I need more of your assistance now
You’re making me crazy
The way that you’ve been acting lately
I need more of your assistance now

Breaking up or breaking down
When I need you, you can’t be found
I want someone who’s around for me
Does it have to be so complicated?
Either way I’m devastated
I could use a little comforting

Love long distance
Is testing me trying my patience
I need more of your assistance now

Love long distance
Is testing me trying my patience
I need more of your assistance now
Love, love, love, love
I need some assistance now

Love
I will thank you for your cooperation
I will thank you for your cooperation
Stop playing with me

Also stuck in my head, Heavy Cross:

Beth Ditto

Gossip – Heavy Cross

It’s a cruel, cruel world to face on your own
A heavy cross to carry alone
The lights are on but everyone’s gone
And it’s cruel

It’s a funny way to make ends meet
When the lights are out on every street
It feels all right but never complete
Without you

I trust you
And if it’s already been done undo it
It takes two
It’s up to me and you to prove it
All the rainy nights even the coldest days
You’re moments ago but seconds away
The principle of nature
It’s true but it’s a cruel world

We can play it safe
Or play it cool
Follow the leader
Or make up all the rules
Whatever you want
The choice is yours
So choose

I trust you
If it’s already been done undo it
It takes two
And it’s up to me and you to prove it

I trust you
It’s already been done undo it
It takes two
It’s up to you and me to prove it

I trust you
If it’s already been done undo it
It takes two
And it’s up to me and you to prove it

I trust you

Update: I just updated the lyrics to Heavy Cross. Unbelievable what kind of nonsense I wrote there. This time I got the correct lyrics from arforumz.com and they seem to be correct.