So yesterday, Oct. 10 2007, Radiohead made history.
Well, music history. Their new album, In Rainbows, was released for download on their website yesterday. For – get this – whatever fans wanted to pay for it. “No really,” says the website, “It’s up to you.” That’s right, if you want to buy the new album for £0.00, you can!
I may have paid a little more than that, but the album (heralded as the best Radiohead album yet released) would have been worth much more.
Although I’m happy with my new music, what really makes me happy, the anti-iTunes rebel that I am, is the MP3s are not coded with DRM – or any software that prevents further copying and e-mailing of digital music files.
And yet the real value is what Radiohead is doing for the music industry. By cutting all ties with their record company, who would normally take 80 percent of the profits off an album, and cutting down on production costs by releasing digitally, Radiohead has seen to it that almost all of the sales revenue directly profits the band. So they make money off you saving money. Plus, by giving their music away they get more people listening to their music and more people attending their concerts, which is where the real money is made.
After this, who is ever going to get away with selling a $16 CD again? As one producer quoted in Time Magazine put it, “Radiohead is the best band in the world,
if you can pay whatever you want for music by the best band in the
world, why would you pay $13 or $0.99 for music by somebody less
I sure wouldn’t.