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  • An Album That Costs What You Want It To

    Radiohead let's you decide how much to pay for their new CD.

    The members of Radiohead, the respected British rock act, said that the band would sell its new album, at least initially, exclusively as a digital download and allow fans to decide how much to pay for it, if anything. In a statement yesterday, the band said it had begun taking orders for the album,
    Something...

  • #2
    This is a really interesting experiment.

    I hope it works out.


    I think the fact you apparently have to fill out the donation/pay form may actually make people think about it.

    If it was a simple download button separated from the pay interface, I'd be worried that folks would DL the album with the idea of "trying it out" and then figure they could pay later... (which is why good intentions often turn vaporous in the shareware world).

    I'll be watching this. I've tried asking for voluntary donations on my own site and -- though I used to sell some CDs over at the old Mp3.com and even sold some 'virtual albums' which ould have just as easilyl been DL'd for free one at a time -- but, after (the old) Mp3.com essentially closed down, the voluntary donation on my own site thing never netted a dime...

    I've got my fingers crossed for them. And I'll probably buy the album but things are kind of tight right now...
    .

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    • #3

      If it was a simple download button separated from the pay interface, I'd be worried that folks would DL the album with the idea of "trying it out" and then figure they could pay later...


      I, uh, have done that with a couple of their previous releases... ended up ordering the CD after I'd DL'd and listened a few times... and I probably wouldn't have bought the CD's otherwise, they definitely fall into the "have to listen several times before you really like it" category for me. And they intentionally leaked their last record to the download sites a week or two before its release. So, it seems to be working for them.
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      • #4
        The Radiohead thing can't work as a model for the entire industry. Right now it's an exception, a news-grabber, an attention-getter. Interesting, I must admit, but if the idea was mainstreamed, we'd all be back to zero sum, everyone downloading and hardly anyone paying for it.

        It's like Mom always said, "What if EVERYONE did that?" To which you replied, "Mom, EVERYONE is not going to do that so it makes no difference".

        nat whilk ii

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        • #5
          The Radiohead thing can't work as a model for the entire industry.


          Part of me agrees with you, but perhaps for a different reasons than you expect.

          I believe that the crucial aspect of this lives within the maturity of the fans. Note I didn't say "age". I said "maturity".

          A mature fan will understand that the music has an intrinsic value, and is happy to offer some compensation for the pleasure of owning the music. When the mature fan is aware that his/her money isn't being routed through record labels and other points in a distribution chain that removes profit to the artists themselves, he/she would be more likely to pay a fair amount for the music.

          So, the reason this DOESN'T work for the industry at large is that MOST artists (at least in the pop world) have been focused on an immature audience that would never voluntarily pay for the music if they didn't have to.

          Radiohead is a good band to try this method, and I applaud them. It would NOT work for most hip-hop artists, nor the emo bands selling to high school kids. I'm trying not to generalize, but you can see where the model breaks down.

          Anyway, good for Radiohead's adventurousness. Bravo.
          Music, thoughts, stuff, and... I guess that's all

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          • #6
            hell yeah!

            i'll probably give 'em like 30 bucks for it, out of principle. i think a lot of people will, and this will probably turn out better for them than had they sold it in stores.

            sucks you can't get a hard copy though, i'd still like to own it.
            My electronic music project, KHALIL, just released its first EP, "tell Us What Happened" on Thumbs Up Records in Florida. If you are into chill, experimental beat music with keyboards, saxophone and sample manipulation, check it out:http://khalilduo.bandcamp.com/Piano Interperetation of Fleedwood Mac's "Landslide" --https://soundcloud.com/ryan7585/landslide

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            • #7
              I dunno, I read on wikipedia that there are rumours that they're going to release a CD of it. They come with the box set anyway, but if you're just after the album, then that's a bit hefty, price-wise.
              Li10 - resident noob

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              • #8
                Gee, I remember a band that did pretty well letting people record & copy their music... Grateful Dead

                Saying 'what if everyone did it' is facetious at best, simply because everyone won't do it. Sort of like saying "What if they shut off gravity tomorrow?"

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                • #9
                  The Grateful Dead are sort of an anomaly given the touring support they had through the years. And keep in mind they only let people record/copy their live shows, not the studio stuff.

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                  • #10
                    The Grateful Dead are sort of an anomaly given the touring support they had through the years. And keep in mind they only let people record/copy their live shows, not the studio stuff.


                    Well, OK, point taken... but it does not change the fact that bands make their money today in live shows; only the label gets outrageous profits from albums - bands are extremely fortunate if they break even on a label release.

                    So, if an album release is destined to be a loss leader anyway, why not give it away?

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                    • #11
                      Well, OK, point taken... but it does not change the fact that bands make their money today in live shows; only the label gets outrageous profits from albums - bands are extremely fortunate if they break even on a label release.

                      So, if an album release is destined to be a loss leader anyway, why not give it away?


                      +1
                      The only downside to that model is that it puts the musician in the position of having to make the recording as inexpensively as possible since they will have to eat all that cost.

                      SOT: WRT the Greatful Dead, most Deadheads like the live recordings much better than the studio stuff anyways.

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                      • #12
                        SOT: WRT the Greatful Dead, most Deadheads like the live recordings much better than the studio stuff anyways.


                        Hell yeah, as do the band themselves.
                        Music, thoughts, stuff, and... I guess that's all

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                        • #13
                          +1
                          The only downside to that model is that it puts the musician in the position of having to make the recording as inexpensively as possible since they will have to eat all that cost.


                          They've always had to anyway as all those expenses are recoupable by the label. Even many famous artists barely saw a dime in record royalties by the time they got done "recouping." Most of their money came from song royalties, touring and merch sales. So you can see why many of them now think it makes more sense to make it themselves and give it away or sell it cheap.

                          And nowadays the labels won't spend much money on a recording either, in most cases.
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                          • #14
                            They've always had to anyway as all those expenses are recoupable by the label.


                            Precisely. In my job, I've had the chance to talk with many artists who you'd assume would be millionaires. In far too many cases, these folks would end up OWING their labels money, even after a gold record.

                            Owing them money. I'm serious.

                            And nowadays the labels won't spend much money on a recording either, in most cases.


                            The basic expectation is that you're going to record the **************** on your own dime in all but a few cases. As a new unproven artist, it's extremely rare to get a recording budget at all these days.
                            Music, thoughts, stuff, and... I guess that's all

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                            • #15
                              Precisely. In my job, I've had the chance to talk with many artists who you'd assume would be millionaires. In far too many cases, these folks would end up OWING their labels money, even after a gold record.

                              Owing them money. I'm serious.


                              Yep. I've known quite a number of people in this situation.


                              The basic expectation is that you're going to record the **************** on your own dime in all but a few cases. As a new unproven artist, it's extremely rare to get a recording budget at all these days.


                              Yep. As a new artist you don't get a recording budget or tour support anymore, and as an established artist you can keep more money by releasing your records yourself. So what exactly is the point of having a label anymore? Many people have already answered that question: "There isn't one."
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