I love how JK Rowling flat out declared that her new book would be twice the price as typical retail. Only she could do this.
Rowling doesn’t even need a publisher and she certainly doesn’t need a retailer. She can sell everything at the highest price on her Pottermore website, take all the margin and then drop the price for the ebook and brick and mortar stores.
We’ll definitely see more and more of this model with big acts. If I were Coldplay, for instance, I’d sell the new album online and have different bundle variations that ship directly to fan. Let your biggest fans buy first.
The Do-It-Yourself model is not recommended for smaller artists. Lesser known artists need to build a tribe first and make everything available, even never-before-heard singles. And the more free content the merrier. Build up that database of fan’s emails that can be sold to. At Topspin, the general rule of thumb was to have 10,000 emails before selling anything.
Big authors and musicians and pretty much anyone that creates content with a huge following have an incredible tool on the Internet that allows them to skip traditional retail and make even more money. The content will disperse everywhere eventually, but only after the hardcore fans are treated first.