Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog is the greatest musical recently. Don't believe me? Check out the screen shot of the iTunes Music Store to the left.
And while I loved the show and was thoroughly entertained with all of the great plot twists and funny songs, what really got me was the marketing scheme. When I say that the market scheme got me, I mean it reeled me in like a free bottle of beer and a beautiful brunette. Why does this series of three fifteen minute movies have me tripping so? Let me explain how I digest media.
- Come across something cool, let's say a new movie. (Discovery)
- I watch the trailer, listen to music samples, check it out on Wikipedia. (Research)
- Digest. If the movie is new enough and I'm not totally broke, I'll go see it. If the album isn't from a band I have obtained at least two albums from before, or if the movie isn't available for rent cheaply, then I will probably obtain it in less than legal means.
Now how did Dr. Horrible throw a wrench into this tried and true formula? He abused two simple facts about my life.
- I had to leave for the train in fifteen minutes, and I still had to eat breakfast.
- It was less than five dollars.
I clicked subscribe on iTunes and sync'd Act 1 to my iPod. Half an hour later I was watching it in my seat on CalTrain. It was amazing. I wanted more, but I had to wait a day for the next episode, which I had already paid for.
What can wanna-be producers and marketers take out of this? Joss Whedon explicitly said that working with iTunes was painful, but worth the effort, since he was offering it free online. Marketers, if you make something of quality (you need to care about your work, kinda crazy eh?) and let me consume it in whatever way I want, I will. My generation grew up with Napster and Kazaa. We know how to get what you don't want us to have. So give it to us with an affordable price tag and we'll buy it.