Lil’ Wayne gives consumers a choice

When your favorite band announces they will be going on tour do you cross your fingers hoping your city is on the list?

The other day I was online looking to buy tickets to a Lil’ Wayne concert (we can talk about my taste in music later) but he was only playing on the East Coast and I live in Colorado. So unless I wanted to buy a plane ticket I was out of luck.

Then I came across, a website offering a live stream of the concert for only $5. Quite a deal considering the alternative.

With record sales declining over the past couple years artists have had no choice but to become more innovative with the way they get their share of your wallet.

MSN has even taken notice of the trend. At you can view concerts from major artists like Jay-Z and Maroon 5 but they aren’t live. There is something different about being able to see the show in real time that makes you feel more a part of the experience.

This is a smart way for artists to generate a larger fan base while making some money along the way. Greater access to products (or services) and increased consumer choice is always a good thing because it opens the door to new audiences.

iTunes allowed consumers to purchase single songs, opening up the market to those who wouldn’t have purchased a whole album. Now promoters may be able to do the same with concerts. By lowering the price of entry artists may find listeners more willing to experiment with new music.

This is interesting to me because a concert ticket is such an inelastic purchase. You either go to a concert or you don’t; you either ante up the $60 or you don’t. Lil’ Wayne has created some sort of a middle ground. I wonder where or how this could translate into other shopping experiences? And I don’t mean the ability to buy a Banana Republic sweater online instead of going to the store. But what other shopping experiences do you still think require your physical presence? Or what other shopping experiences do you enjoy so much that you choose to physically be there even when it can be done online?

Imagine a virtual spot in line for the release of next year’s must-have gadget, where you can chat with other like minded enthusiasts while waiting to be the first to get your hands on the product. All from the comfort of your own home. The retail experience of exclusivity (being the first to get something), community (interacting with others), and the event (waiting in line) can all be done online. This could be an interesting place for retail brands to explore – the hybrid space between online storefronts and offline experiences.