November 4, 2020
The research on the history of pricing strategies and decisions by companies and individuals has not received much attention up to now. This is surprising, as pricing is the most important profit driver, and thus an inquiry into the historic origins of price-related decisions by the early modern market operators can yield important insights for both historians and current practitioners on successful marketing strategies. The following article contributes to the research on business history by proposing, first of all, a framework for the conceptual definition between a revenue and a price model. Furthermore, it is shown that subscription-based revenue was generated as early as 1617. The revenue model of the subscription – an early antecedent of today’s crowdfunding scheme – will then be covered in detail by investigating the case of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s piano concertos KV 413-415. The influential composer decided to appeal to a broader target group by using a subscription-based pricing scheme for these three piano concertos in 1783. The subscription however was unsuccessful, and the major reason for this failure as well as Mozart’s probable economic reasoning are elaborated. Finally, the rising modern market forc es, that steered the Viennese music market of the late 18 th century towards modern*structures, made sure that market operators at that time tried to adapt to these forces by offering modern and innovative revenue and price models, such as highly differentiated, content-based and time-definite subscriptions.