Kev Corbett changes his own game, with release of ‘Live in Orillia!’ on Pay-What-You-Want Song-by-song Download Art Cards

posted by Kev Corbett on Thursday June 6


People had been asking for a live record for years. I’m a fingerstyle-guitar-and-stories guy, and it came up over and over again at the merch table: CDs are fine, but I want to buy what I just heard: the guitar and the stories.


I wasn’t going to put it on CD. Too much plastic, too limiting and tired a medium for a full-length show document.


I wanted to offer choice. I wanted control, something that travels light, and swings hard. 

With my branding, not some download card company’s one-size-fits-all design.


So I recorded a house concert, in Orillia ON. Home of Lightfoot. Hallowed ground.


I gave the tapes as they were mixed (by Don Bray) and mastered (by John Parker) to my photographer friend Paul Vienneau. No instructions, no micromanagement, just interpret. 14 songs, 15 images (one for the full-show package). Gave it to Fogo Creative for graphic design. Found a printer who could deal with the download codes.


Debuted it at the West End Cultural Centre, opening for Stephen Fearing. Six-week tour ensues.


How it works: Say you’re at a show. You particularly like *this* song, and this song. You wander over to the merch table, grab the corresponding cards, look at me, and say, “So... how much?”


Whatever you like, I’ll say. And I mean it. And we’ll talk about how it all works, and how you can choose low or medium or high resolution sound quality, and you’ll see I’m for real, and buy according to your own sense of what you just experienced. Mom would love that one; let’s get that too, and send it to her. Do they work as postcards, too? This is so cool...

During the course of that tour, I sold as many cards as my studio CDs. For prices ranging from a few bucks each, to $50 for the full-show card. 


People were thanking me for giving them an option that didn't involve putting more plastic out into the world. People loved Paul's images, the art project of it, the idea of sending the postcard to someone who'd like 'this' song. People wanted to be able to purchase this or that song, with the story attached, and not have to buy an entire 'album'. People loved the Pay What You Want model and it's no skin off my nose, because it all lives up in the cloud; they loved that I had a POS system in my iPhone to do it all, loved being able to pay by credit card over my iPhone, and most importantly, people paid me multiple times the iTunes rate, both on a per-song and on a per-show basis.


It's a model that cuts out every conceivable middleman, generating better buck for bang than any other medium I've done (which dates back to cassettes), and you can only get it at my shows, because there's really no room for something this nichey at stores, and it's a model that works at the merch table, particularly following the intimacy and intensity of a house concert by a story-based artist like me.


As a digital model for delivery of 'where Folk is now', I'm really pleased with how it worked out. For artists like me, this is where things are going.


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