backtop


Print 22 comment(s) - last by Andrew Campbel.. on Oct 10 at 2:15 AM

Radiohead to give away free download of new album

Major political alt-rockers Radiohead have a new album that is brewing a storm of interest due to its unique distribution model.  The band will distribute the new album In Rainbows independent of a major record label from their webpage.  

Fans have two options for acquiring the new album.  The first is a discbox set containing CDs, heavyweight 12” vinyls, supplementary artwork, extra tracks and booklets.  This package costs 40 pounds, about $81.75 U.S., includes an on-line download, and is set to ship by December 3, 2007.  

The real head-turner here is option number two: download the album at whatever price you choose.  That’s right, customers are given the option to pay anywhere from zero to 99.99 GBP, the latter limited by the size of the price entry field.  

The full length MP3 set will be available for download on October 10, 2007 using an activation code e-mailed to customers who choose to “purchase” the download.  Customers purchasing the discbox will also be able to download the album on the tenth.  

It is hard to say at this point whether this approach will prove to be a competitive business model, but it is certain to generate tremendous interest and accolades from Radiohead’s fans.
It is more difficult than one might think to argue against this model considering the nature of the Web 2.0 economy. 

Many of the Internet’s most popular products, Google, Yahoo! Mail and Wikipedia, all give the majority of their content to users for free.  Further more the barrier to piracy is so low that most content can be taken for free by anyone willing.  Author Chris Anderson, “The Long Tail” is going to explore this topic in his next work, tentatively called “Free: The Past and Future of a Radical Price.”   

So what we have here is an outline of a  business model for the “Brave Free World.”  Embrace the fee-free zeitgeist of the web.  Decriminalize the consumers who won’t pay for content.  Maximize your profit by capturing the most wealthy few percentile of customers by maximizing their exposure to your core product.  

In this case the core product is Radiohead, not the album.  Giving away the album should greatly broaden its distribution and the exposure of wealthy consumers.  They will capture the wealth of this upper crust through high value packages like the discbox, world tours, and who knows what other cool things that are worth paying for.  

The only piece of the Web 2.0 business model that Radiohead’s plan is missing is embedded advertising.  Given the band’s philosophies, I don’t think we will be seeing this anytime soon.  

I know everyone is wondering, so I did some research and yes, entering zero for price really does work.  This is not the worst thing that could happen to the band since I will pay for concert tickets to see the band, as I have before, and if the album knocks my socks off I will also pay for  a hard copy of the CD. 


Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: for music, this model has teeth
By glynor on 10/2/2007 11:13:23 AM , Rating: 2
You know... It's funny. The last physical CD I bought (and the last bit of RIAA-label music I've paid for) was Amnesiac when it came out way back in June of 2001. Since then, I've been paying for indie label music but refused to buy anything where money would go to the RIAA.

I just ordered In Rainbows and I paid a fair price (which was much more than they would have gotten from EMI). And I will probably pay to go see them live again if they come anywhere close to me.

I particularly liked this quote from this Time article: http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,16669...

quote:
While many industry observers speculated that Radiohead might go off-label for its seventh album, it was presumed the band would at least rely on Apple's iTunes or United Kingdom-based online music store 7digital for distribution. Few suspected the band members had the ambition (or the server capacity) to put an album out on their own. The final decision was apparently made just a few weeks ago, and, when informed of the news on Sunday, several record executives admitted that, despite the rumors, they were stunned. "This feels like yet another death knell," emailed an A&R executive at a major European label. "If the best band in the world doesn't want a part of us, I'm not sure what's left for this business."

While many industry observers speculated that Radiohead might go off-label for its seventh album, it was presumed the band would at least rely on Apple's iTunes or United Kingdom-based online music store 7digital for distribution. Few suspected the band members had the ambition (or the server capacity) to put an album out on their own. The final decision was apparently made just a few weeks ago, and, when informed of the news on Sunday, several record executives admitted that, despite the rumors, they were stunned. "This feels like yet another death knell," emailed an A&R executive at a major European label. "If the best band in the world doesn't want a part of us, I'm not sure what's left for this business."


"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki