Legendary rock band Radiohead charges "whatever you want" for latest album
It's making huges waves through the music industry, which is hardly surprising. Organizations like the RIAA have been trying, and failing I think, to crack down on illegal music downloads. And in response to this, Radiohead have decided to charge "whatever you think the album is worth" to download it in full (plus a small negligable transaction fee).
The new album, In Rainbows, is released on October 10th and promises to be the greatest Radiohead album since OK Computer (which by many critics' standards is one of the best albums ever recorded, and I agree.) If you go to the website here you can pre-order the download.
But more important than the album itself is the stand Radiohead is taking on the price. The band separated from their music company EMI in 2003 and have argued that there's no reason a music group can't promote and distribute an album without the backing of a major label. I for one hope they're right and strike a blow for handcuffed musicians everywhere. In fact, this could mark an exodus of bands leaving record labels if Radiohead is successful.
As you can read for yourself in this article by The Washington Post , the recording industry is doing whatever it can to hand on to profits by persecuting illegal music sharing. I think $30,000 per illegal song is overkill in the extreme, but this reaction is one to the massive mountain the recording industry has to climb. When it comes down to it, why pay for an entire album for anywhere from $10 - $20 when you can cherry-pick songs for $1 at iTunes or grab them free from places like Bit Torrent?
The price fixing conspiracy that the recording industry was involved in during the late 90's has already tainted their reputation with music-lovers everywhere. And when recording artists were pushing albums crammed with "filler material" for extortionate prices, it was inevitable that the worm would turn. And turn it has, completely, to the point where the music industry is on its knees.
This move by Radiohead is one of extreme confidence in their own music and in the good will of fans. No doubt many people out there will pay less than the price they'd pay for a full album download at iTunes, but I suspect the majority will pay way more than $1. And the reason...respect. I know I will be downloading the album for $10 because it will be worth every penny.
So, mark the date. October 10th is a day for great music and the beginning of great changes in the way we buy music, hopefully.