by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 3rd 2007 7:57am
With Radiohead's new business model getting so much attention, we're hearing a bunch of folks start to claim that this kind of business model only works for big, established bands. Funny thing is, when we point to smaller artists doing similar things, people say that such a model may work for no name artists, but couldn't possibly work for big pop stars, who would inevitably lose money. The fact is that a business model that involves using the music as a promotional good can work for both small and large bands if you understand the economics of infinite goods and how to apply the appropriate business model based on the stage of the musician's career. So for all those claiming that the Radiohead situation is unique because they're so well known, can you please explain why other, significantly less well known artists have done quite well using similar models? The simple fact is that these types of business models allow some less well known musicians to have a career in music in the first place -- whereas in the past they may have been forced out of music into another job. It's opened up plenty of new possibilities for ways to make a living by growing a fanbase and charging them for additional (scarce) products. So, yes, Radiohead will do well because they're well known and well-liked. But, plenty of less well known artists are adopting similar models because it helps them establish a following in the first place.
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