Breaking Free

Piracy. It’s feared by major record labels who failed to see the potential of the digital market and instead tried to block it. Official downloading is taking off but so many now see music as a free commodity.

Radiohead announced last night that their new album would be available from October 10th as a download only. You have two ways of buying the new album, In Rainbows. You can visit the website, pay £40 and receive the discbox on or before the 3rd December which includes the new album, a bonus CD, 2 12 inch vinyl records, artwork and lyric booklets plus a code that allows you to download the new album on the 10th of October.

The second option is to visit the website, choose download only and pay…whatever you like to receive the download code for the October 10th release date. Yes, that’s right. Choose your own price. You can enter £0.00 if you like and get the album for free. Amazing. Now I’ve no idea whether the album is any good but with an offer like that can you really go wrong? Even if your not a fan it must be worth at least trying?

All this while Radiohead are free from any studio ties as they aren’t signed to any label. Could this be a new way of selling music? Surely this will remove any need to pirate as people will pay what they want for the album even if it is nothing? I can only see them making more money this way despite having to pay for their own server bandwidth. No labels, no distributor cuts and lot’s of people paying quite a bit for the download or like me ordering the discbox for £40. Never did I think I’d pay £40 for an album that I could get for free. Is this another nail in the coffin for the traditional large record labels?

Roll on October 10th. It’s been a long time coming.

4 Comments

  1. Me- Desperately scans the studio photos for any evidence of a guitar. Bit worrying to see Thom smiling… traitor.

  2. This is a really interesting development. We’ve all known software piracy since the days of the Vic20 and Dragon32. Xbox Live turned that argument around – buy the official software to game online. However, we’re all a bit older now and probably don’t mind paying for stuff we actually value (for me every Bungie or Rockstar product). These guys have EARNED their money with some great products. I’d pay for stuff I valued, but should I pay for 99% of the films/movies/music/gaming out there are pap? Market economics might mean that only the best at their art (whatever that media might be) survive?

  3. LOL

    I love this line of reasoning, and it works fine. If you are Radiohead or some other well established band.

    But what of the small band, with little to no exposure OTHER than their website. How do they get any traction, they are just one more act in the Long Tail of bands that I might like, but with no record label promoting them then more thought needs to be given (by such bands, not by me) on how easy it is for people to find their music.

    Interesting though, and I’ll be downloading the album and paying… £10 probably. I’ve never had a problem paying £10 for a new album, it’s the £13-14 and more, that annoyed me.

  4. I was going to update the post after a bit more thought. Agreed this only really works for established bands but it’s something I haven’t seen anyone else do and for that I think they should be applauded. Unknowns can always build up traction via myspace and websites – happening more and more now.

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