While Trent Reznor has been very open
in discussing the results of his various business model experiments, Radiohead has been notoriously quiet about it -- leading some to falsely assume that the experiment was a failure. CNN even called it one of the dumbest moments in business
last year. That seemed ridiculous on its face, as it was quite clear that the experiment was a huge success for Radiohead, even if the band was quiet about the numbers. However, Radiohead's publisher has now come out and revealed some of the numbers and debunked the myth that the experiment was a failure
(thanks to SteveD for sending this over). Instead, it turns out that Radiohead made much more money from this experiment than from their previous album. The band's music was spread much more widely than previous albums, with over 1.75 million physical albums sold (and that's not counting all of the paid downloads) -- as compared to its previous albums, which all sold in the hundreds of thousands. About the only downside
to the experiment was that the band found itself talking about the experiment more than the music.
Now, of course, some will point out that this experiment isn't very representative, because Radiohead got a huge boost by being the first high profile band to do this. And that's absolutely true. But that doesn't mean the business model doesn't work at a more reasonable level. Obviously, Radiohead got a big boost from doing something unique and different, but that just gives other bands reasons to look at not just copying Radiohead, but adding more unique offerings themselves. That's how business models innovate, by trying out new stuff and trying to attract attention. Unfortunately, though, we still have big record labels who think business model innovation is having Congress protect your old business model