In the world of music retail there are many vouchers, gift cards and coupons tailored promote sales and to meet consumer demands. Firstly, the word ‘coupon’ tends to refer to a ticket that can be used to claim a discount on a product. Music coupons are generally designed to tempt would be consumers into purchasing songs and albums, either online or in store. They tend to be distributed freely, on mass and can offer anything from a percentage off any item on sale to a certain value off a given album or single.
An example of a music coupon designed to promote a certain product could be ‘£1.99 off Kylie Minouge’s Aphrodite album’. A coupon that aims to promote an entire store or site, on the other hand, may offer ‘20% off any album purchase over £5’. As mentioned, the coupons may be valid online, in store or both. Music vouchers, however, tend to be designed as gift items. A person can purchase a gift voucher from a store or online for a certain amount and the voucher can then be exchanged for music or other products available costing up to that amount in the given store. It is seen as an alternative to giving money as a present and the vouchers tend to come in values of £5, £10, £20 or £50. If the value of purchase is less than the value of the voucher, not all stores offer change. Those that do, however, do so in the form of more gift vouchers. This is a way of ensuring the whole amount is spent in store.
Music vouchers designed to be used online, or ‘Evouchers’, are generally sent by email and often have a unique code to input into the order form when purchasing music online. On the contrary, HMV run a system whereby, upon receiving an Evoucher by email, a user is required to set up an online account, registering the email address they received the Evoucher through. The music voucher is then automatically credited to their ‘e-wallet’ and the user can spend this online. If the voucher credit is not sufficient to cover the whole cost of an order the balance needs to be paid off by credit or debit card.
Similar to music vouchers, music cards are generally marketed as gift items. When purchased, the customer will pay for a certain amount of credit to be put onto the card, which can then be spent in store. The card can then be used on multiple occasions until the credit has run out. Some stores then allow the card to be ‘topped up’ and used again. Popular music gift cards include HMV gift cards and iTunes gift cards. The iTunes gift card is an example of a music card that can be used online. The pre paid cards, known as ‘e-certificates’ can be exchanged for music products in the iTunes store. They are available to purchase at most well known music retailers and supermarkets for set amounts. Unlike store specific music vouchers, many different retailers stock iTunes gift cards.