Sex, Drugs and Updating Your Blog describes how some small-scale recording artists are succeeding on the web. One interesting bit mentions the “pay what you can policy” used by Jane Siberry. The result: People wind up paying more than they would at iTunes.

The Canadian folk-pop singer Jane Siberry has a clever system: she has a “pay what you can” policy with her downloadable songs, so fans can download them free — but her site also shows the average price her customers have paid for each track. This subtly creates a community standard, a generalized awareness of how much people think each track is really worth. The result? The average price is as much as $1.30 a track, more than her fans would pay at iTunes.


Choose an option and you see stats on what other customers chose:


Her store provides an open letter that explains the policy:

Like many, I’m restless and impatient with living in a world where people are made to feel like shoplifters rather than intelligent peoples with a good sense of balance. I want to treat people the way I’d like to be treated. ‘Dumbing UP’ (as opposed to ‘dumbing down’)....You decide what feels right to your gut. If you download for free, perhaps you’ll buy an extra CD at an indie band’s concert. Or if you don’t go with your gut feeling, you might sleep poorly, wake up grumpy, put your shoes on backwards and fall over. Whatever. You’ll know what to do…This is not a guilt trip. Feel no pressure. The most important thing is that the music flow out to where it could bring enjoyment. And THAT is the best thing you could give me.

The current pricing statistics listed at the site:
18% Gift from Artist
18% Standard
05% Pay Now
58% Pay Later

Avg Price/Song $1.17
07% Paid Below Suggested
80% Paid At Suggested
14% Paid Above Suggested