Radiohead is making some noise again today, with lead singer Thom Yorke basically saying that the band won't do a promotion giving away free music again
. Some are using this to suggest the model was a failure or that those of us who recognize the clear economic trends toward free music were somehow wrong. That's not the case at all. Early on Yorke had admitted that there was no large theory behind the decision to do the name your own price offering. One of the band's managers suggested it and the group went with it as a publicity stunt -- which worked. The fact that the band then pulled down
the download offering prior to releasing the actual CD confirmed that the band merely viewed the free offering as a stunt, rather than part of a larger strategy. As such, it's not at all surprising that Yorke would say the band won't do it again. Since they only viewed it as a stunt, repeating the stunt doesn't make sense. They'll come up with some other stunt for the next release. That doesn't, however, mean that the idea was wrong or a failure. Just that the band wants its publicity stunts to be new and different each time. The fact that this most recent one tapped into an obvious trend seems to have been more of a lucky guess than the sign of a well-thought out strategy. The good news is that it's made plenty of others start to realize the power of free music -- even if that line of thought hasn't permeated back to Radiohead and Yorke.