The iTunes Store’s “Complete My Album” feature, which allows users who purchase individual or pre-release tracks to get the rest of the album at a prorated price, is helping to convert these individual track purchases into full album sales. According to the New York Times, Apple has seen conversion rates of around 10 percent since the feature was launched in March of 2007, but lately that number has jumped thanks to artists and labels using the feature as a promotional tool, encouraging its use through iTunes profiles, MySpace pages, and personal websites. The article points to Lil Wayne’s album “Tha Carter III” as an example. Universal Mowtown made six of the album’s 18 tracks available for download in the months leading up to the album’s release, and despite the album being illegally leaked online, it sold more than one million copies its first week. Ten percent of sales were digital, up from one percent for past Lil Wayne releases, and fifty-two percent of the album’s sales on iTunes came via the Complete My Album feature.
“For artists that have multiple tracks out, if the album is solid and there’s an offer that makes sense to consumers, they will use it,” Universal Motown senior vice president of digital business development Cameo Carlson said, adding that evidence of the Complete My Album’s ability to convert pre-album sales to post-release purchases is a major factor behind the appearance of more pre-release content. “Traditionally, there’s been some concern about how much content gets out there,” she said. “Complete My Album definitely helps alleviate some of that concern.”