Radiohead Tells Fans To Name Their Own Price For Latest Album Downloads; Gives Them A Reason To Pay

from the new-business-models dept

The band Radiohead is apparently coming out with a new album; the first after its original record deal was completed. It appears that, like many other musicians, they're realizing that the traditional recording industry business model doesn't quite make sense for them. While there was some buzz about an apparent hoax website about the band's new album, it turns out the real thing is a bit more interesting. That's because Radiohead is doing two smart things. It's telling fans they can name their own price for digital downloads. You just pay the band however much you think the downloads are worth and they'll be happy. But that's not all (though, that's what most folks are focused on). Rather than just offering up the content, they're also trying to give people a reason to actually buy something else. In this case, it's a "discbox," which will include the new album on both CD and vinyl, as well as an additional CD of seven extra songs and photos, artwork and lyrics. The whole thing will be packaged in a nice container. In other words, the band is following in the footsteps of folks like Trent Reznor, in realizing that the music is promotional for other stuff -- and you can still sell stuff if you make it worthwhile. In this case, Radiohead isn't really selling the "music." After all, you can get that for free. They're selling the full collection of stuff that comes with the music. Funny how it's the musicians, and not the record labels, who seem to realize that adding value and getting people to pay for it is a business model that beats suing fans.

Filed Under: business models, music
Companies: radiohead


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  1. identicon
    Reality Check, 1 Oct 2007 @ 6:35pm

    not quite ...

    "I had an interesting conversation over the weekend with a second year student who's majoring in business and minoring in music. He was telling me about one of their class exercises which was to calculate the number of album sales needed to cover the costs of producing from a musicians perspective.
    Of the $19.99 you spend for a music CD the band only gets about 72 cents. The rest goes to the record label. "


    The clerk at the record store gets some of that money, as does the store's landlord, and the owner, and the guy who drove the delivery truck, and the people at the label's warehouse, etc. etc. Also the label has costs to recoup - the million-dollar video without which no records would sell, the payola to radio, the advertising, the recording which took so long because the band are doped-up hacks that are somehow proud of having written half the album in studio at $10000 per day, etc. etc. etc.

    The labels are far from angels, but a lot of the artists have been their own worst enemies in a business sense. If bands were more stable and acting like adults, the labels would have a lot less losses to cover and so goes the cycle.

    Two sides to every coin. Keep on rockin'.

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