Sub Pop's "Sell the Merch, Give the Music Away for Free" Idea Not Yet Dead in the Water

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Patent Pending
MP3s sound better with posters.
Sub Pop Records VP Megan Jasper got us--and a few other members of the press--intrigued with their idea to flip their strategy from using promo items like posters and keychains to convince people to buy their music to one in which "people pay for the toy and receive the music for free." Then Jonathan Poneman, the label's founder, kicked a puddle of cool water on the idea when he responded to the idea by saying, "I was going to offer you an original pressing of 'Love Buzz' b/w 'Big Cheese' by Nirvana, but I have this keychain for you instead . . ."

However, Jasper recently told us that while the label isn't currently pursuing the idea, they haven't abandoned it as a possibility.

"We're in an industry where we're forced to think outside the box all the time," says Jasper. "We will always be open to it. But right now, we make a significant amount of our earnings through the sale of our records. To run from that would be a mistake right now."

Whether Sub Pop ever makes good on this idea is almost beside the point. At a minimum it shows that there are intriguing ideas being kicked around, and that we're in for some creative efforts from our local members of the record business.

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