It wasn’t too long ago that the only way to pick up the newest Radiohead album was to saunter (or shuffle if you are really emo) over to your local record store and plop down the $13-17 to walk out the owner of a crisp new CD… that will be scratched within the week because everybody will want to borrow it. Radiohead is now letting you decide how much their new album is worth, be it $15 or free.
It’s true that Radiohead is not the first band to offer free music online, but it is one of the first incredibly well known bands to offer an entire album online, potentially for free. The band’s publicist is fairly bullish in regards to how the online album experiment is working, adding that sales of the $80 ‘discobox’ edition of In Rainbows is fairly brisk.
The article brings up an interesting idea: allow casual listeners the ability to download an album at what they perceive to be fair market value, while offering the die-hard fans the extra CD, vinyl version, secret decoder ring and whatever else the band thinks it’s fans would enjoy, at a higher price. I know that if Faith No More, my band of choice circa 1992-2003, offered a special version of any of their albums, I would have purchased it in a heartbeat. I even bought poorly recorded bootlegs of live concerts and liked it! Imagine if I had authorized remixes of “Epic” or “Midlife Crisis” or even “Woodpecker From Mars” along with humorous anecdotes about why the band was constantly consumed with infighting! How about you?
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First off I want to say that I love Radiohead. In some aspects I understand why they are doing the “Whatever you think it is worth” idea, however, in other ways I don’t.
For me personally I enjoy going to the nearest CD store and buying it, owning it and of course bragging about just getting it. However, with the iPod and iTunes taking over, it is an interesting approach. They could lose money, or they could make so much more. For examples, you have cheap people who will take anything free that they can get. You have people who believe in justice, and who will be fair. And of course you have fans that now have the opportunity to give money to Radiohead. Instead of just giving the $13 for a CD, a fan can give $20. So, we will see how the approach turns out.
Wow, your blog has put me in the mood for some Radiohead. I think I’m going to put in my new CD right now.
Its their best album in forever. I am glad they are done with their “I got a new mixer check out what I can do” phase.