Sunday, October 07, 2007

Radiohead Gets It Right

Radiohead's new album, In Rainbows, is coming out this Wednesday October 10th. Since Radiohead is no longer affiliated with any record label, they've got the freedom to try something very interesting. The In Rainbows website gives you the option to pre-order the album in digital downloadable format, or as a discbox which contains the album on CDs and vinyl records. Here's the interesting part: pre-ordering the download presents you with a blank field where you can type in any amount of pounds you'd like to donate for the mp3s - you decide the value yourself. If you want to, leave the field blank, and you'll get the tracks - straight from the band - for free. It's really nice to see something like this that doesn't involve the RIAA and normal folks getting slammed for downloading music, like the single mom from Minnesota who's now up to half a million dollars in the hole.

This is a battle that's been raging for a long time, and I must say I'm glad it's not such an issue in Canada. Maybe it's because I've grown up with it and become a pseudo-audiophile, but I'm a big supporter of digital distribution of music. I think Apple's got the right idea making people pay a minimal charge for a track or an album, and I think Radiohead's free will donation idea is even better. If I had that MasterCard I'd probably donate a good 10 pounds for the mp3s and I'd feel good about it, because I love Radiohead, especially for taking this approach. I predict it will bring them success, and you'll see other artists start using the same or a similar strategy for their releases.

Here's a fun music video for Weird Al's "Don't Download This Song". Gotta love satire.

Note: The In Rainbows discbox will put you out 40 pounds, and a standard in-store CD release is scheduled for early 2008, according to Wikipedia.

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At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

I can say with pride (ha) that I, personally, have *never* bought a cd for myself. (I'm not including a few cds I've received for christmas or whatever here). Now this isn't because I don't like music, and its not because I don't have money. The truth is, if I couldn't get whatever music for free, I just wouldn't listen to it. I'd probably just listen to the radio.

I liken this scenario to tv, I mute commercials or change the channel so I may aswell just download it without any.

Anyway, even as someone that would never buy music from itunes or another site, I still find it insulting that there are *any* restrictions on the songs you get. All restrictions on copying etc. are merely incentives to pirate music in my eyes.

Anyhow, my little rant didn't have much to do with anything, but as a final word I just wanted to say I found the weird al song funny. Basically because the song is awful, but then, isn't it supposed to be?

At 5:44 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

Also meant to say, Nine Inch Nails ditched their record label now too.

At 9:38 PM, Blogger Dave said...

So you don't regard music as intellectual property? Or don't believe in intellectual property at all? Like I said, I think the one and only reason I support getting music for free is because I was raised this way. It's given me this idea that it may not be reasonable for artists to expect that they can "do" music exclusively as their career. That said, it doesn't seem fair that creative works like music and other media are suddenly totally worthless just because we have the capability to distribute them for free.

At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

Well while I'm not saying music or other media is worthless, I am saying that if I wasn't able to obtain it for free, I just wouldn't bother at all. Either way, the artists wouldn't be getting my support. I know that sounds cynical, but that's just my mindset.

As many have said before, cds and radio are a form of marketing for live performances, although not limited to that. If you're a real fan of the music, you might go and see them live where you'll really be able to enjoy it to the fullest extent and truly show your support for the artist.


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