In the past, we used to give our releases to a certain download store - mostly Beatport, sometimes Traxsource - exclusive for a limited period of time. For a label like Pesto with limited PR budget, it was a welcome opportunity to get banners or get featured, thus increasing exposure and sales.
To be honest though, we did not really see any changes in sales with regards to being featured or not. Some banner on Beatport or Traxsource is a nice thing to brag about and post screenshots to Facebook but in reality, it doesn't boost sales in a way that justifies excluding other download stores for at least two weeks.
Fast forward to late May 2012, we all could see the Traxsource/DJ Sneak drama unfold in shining glory. In case you missed it, here's Sneak's post on Facebook. It was followed by an official statement from Traxsource, which can be found here on Traxsource's Facebook page. Let's forget about all these questions of honour, how to run a business, etc. - I can side with both parties here and understand their respective point of view. What's more striking, especially taking into account what we were thinking regarding exclusive releases in the paragraph above, is this (quote from Traxsource's statement):
This means, when we receive a release after it has been exclusive elsewhere, we do not feature it on the site in any prime positions. Our customers know what's what and we feel its insulting to them to feature old music with today's date on it. Since we began this policy in mid 2011, we’ve seen dramatic positive results and more and more top tiered labels are providing content to all sites at the same time. We feel this is the trend moving forward.
So, let's look at from the angle of the good ol' record store days: was it usual to exclude certain record stores? Were there releases exclusive to a certain record shop? For major labels, there was this option indeed but it was never usual for underground labels - at least not to my knowledge. And when looking closer, it doesn't make a lot of sense either: when you want to sell a product, you want it to be available in as many spots as possible unless it's some super duper exclusive (sic!) product like a Bugatti Veyron. An MP3 download is quite the opposite of said luxury car.
Traxsource makes another point:
We feel it cannot be smart for top tiered artists and labels to make their releases harder to find legitimately and more expensive during the short period of demand. Lets say you make a big track and its in high demand. A young DJ Google's it and finds 100 links to free versions on various illegal file sharing sites and only 1 link to buy it legitimately, but in a store he doesn't like, and its more expensive then it should be. We feel this scenario happens every day, and drives demand for the illegal copy and ultimately hurts all of us.
Now we are probably not a top tiered label (we're trying though) but point taken. So let's think again: we have no reason for exclusive releases but we have good reasons against it. Easy decision then, innit?
Yesterday, we sent out the promos for Pesto 017 and Brian Tappert of Traxsource sent me this message:
Hi Jon, These tracks sound great. Wondering if you would consider to provide them to us same time as all other sites? Really like what you guys do. HollaKind Regards,Brian
I hope this answers your question, Brian. :)
One last word about exclusive releases: with all of the above being true and fact, we still consider exclusive releases in the future. This can happen in exclusive tracks only available on a certain platform (we did this a few years ago already) and/or in exclusive downloads directly from Pesto Music, for example via our Bandcamp page or a (to be implemented) dedicated store on our web site. So, in the future it may say "exclusive from pesto.de, all download stores to follow 14 days later".
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!