01 October 2007

I never got into Radiohead...

But I seem to like a lot of bands that people love to say sound "just like Radiohead": Muse, Coldplay, Keane... Pretty much if you're from across the pond and sing in a falsetto you're a "Radiohead rip-off"

Anyway, Radiohead is making waves today because they've announced they will "give away" their new album "In Rainbows" on their website starting October 10. "In Rainbows" is Radioheads first album since 2003's "Hail to the Thief", after which the band's contract with EMI/Capitol expired.

Radiohead will accept donations and fans can pay as little or as much as they want for the new record; sorta like going to the Museum of Natural History. Fans will have to pay a minimum of 45pense (92¢) for the credit card handling fee but that's it.

This ain't the first time that a group has opted to charge nothing for its album, but the move is significant because Radiohead remains one of the biggest bands in the world.

The album is also available separately as part of a £40 ($82) box-set which includes the album on CD, two vinyl records, a CD with additional songs, photos, artwork and lyrics. Holy fucking Radiohead, Batman!

It is likely that many of its millions of die-hard fans will be unable to resist buying the box-set, available in December, while Radiohead will not be required to share its profit$ with either a record label or shops.

Radiohead could even benefit from those who ignore the box set and choose to pay nothing to download the album from Radiohead's online shop, where they will be required to register their details and therefore become targets for future marketing campaigns. Oooh, sneaky!

Free albums also drive demand for live tours, which translates $$$ later. Bands hardly ever make money off their record sales anyway; its all in the touring and the merchandising.

Radiohead has the financial welly and is sufficiently well-known to be confident enough that the move is a risk worth taking, but it might also become an answer for those lesser known bands that struggle to be signed by a record label, or are reluctant to share their profits.

Radiohead may have also done irreparable damage to the industry's traditional business model. At least thats what this guy thinks and it makes sense.


Unknown said...

Dude, the museum of natural history is not free....

Gotham City Insider said...

Oh maybe I meant MoMA then? One of them is "suggested donation", love. I could've sworn it was the MoNH? School me.