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October 20, 2007

Radiohead Pioneers "Name your price" sale of record

As everyone knows, Radiohead is a very cool and very influential band. They have just recently released a new album called "In Rainbows" and they are doing something very cool with it.

They have released it EXCLUSIVELY online. Not just online like from itunes etc... As of now it is available only through a site dedicated to the album. The site is called inrainbows.com.

The interesting thing about how they are selling the album is as follows. You pay whatever you want. No joke, no strings attached. You name your price, pay for it, and download it right away. If you want to pay £1.00, you can. If you want to pay £10.00 you can. You pay what you think it is worth. No minimum, no maximum (as far as I know).

It is an interesting experiment. The thinking behind it is that their fans who have known them forever and who would buy the album at a normal store will probably just pay what they would pay for any other album. The no minimum price opens doors to a whole new fan base though. If you think "I don't really know them, but I would pay $1.00 for a new album just to try it out," you can do that. Hopefully you will like it, then you will buy other albums from them, shirts, concert tickets etc... They are basically giving away their music in hopes of winning new fans. It is a pretty innovative way of introducing a new album and gaining new fans.

Kudos to radiohead for their creativity. I hope this works out well for them.

In case you are wondering, the album is a great album. You should buy it. If you have your doubts, just pay what you are willing to pay to explore a new band. Try it!!!

Posted by collin on October 20, 2007 02:19 PM


I did it, and paid 6 pounds. I heard on the radio that so far the experiment is a failure because most of the people downloading it are paying nothing. Which stinks. I haven't been able to find any verification of that report though. And it doesn't take into account fans at concerts, etc.

(Although people who are too cheap to pay anything for a download probably won't pay much to see them in concert.)

It's cool, but only established bands can really do it, and make it work. I think, maybe I'm wrong.

Posted by: jason on October 20, 2007 03:23 PM

I love radiohead.

Posted by: Jenna on October 21, 2007 12:58 AM

you know what's weird... maybe because it was kind of "free," but I can't make myself listen to this album and I can't really get into it.

It's the same with this unreleased jimmy eat world album that collin pirated and sent me, I can't listen to it until I can buy the final release, just think it's not that important.

I don't know what my problem is.

Posted by: jason on October 21, 2007 01:37 AM

ha! i don't know where you heard that report about the album not making money--http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/radiohead_make_10_million_from_in_rainbows.html

i've heard from multiple sources (just google it) that it's made a mint.

interestingly enough, i don't think the strategy would work for anyone besides a big band. ie, if they had started this way, would they have been able to still be a band today? do they owe their ability to pull such a stunt to the very industry they are thumbing their nose at? big questions.

that said, i think it's a great move.

and i paid nothing for it. maybe when the hard copy comes out--radiohead has been too hit and miss (for my taste) for this impoverished boy to plunk down his cash without a listen first.

Posted by: jd on October 21, 2007 09:11 PM

I was thinking of offering our album for a "pay what you'd like" price... but I don't know how to do it really. I guess just an unfettered download with a tip jar?

But yeah, only bands that already got huge somehow *normally through the efforts of a major label* could make this really work.

I'm glad that they made good money. I guess the radio report I heard was wrong.

Posted by: jason on October 21, 2007 11:39 PM

i've never really been into radiohead, but i downloaded it for free. i won't have bought if it wasn't free and whose knows, if i like it enough maybe i'll buy the next or attend a concert.

cowboys 6-1

Posted by: paul on October 21, 2007 11:46 PM

eagles 2-4.

Posted by: jason on October 21, 2007 11:50 PM

I don't know.... I think it might be possible for an unsigned, unknown band to pull this off.

I know for a fact that I won't pay $10 for a record if I don't already know and love the band. I just won't. However, I will definitely give them a chance if I can hear their music for cheap or free.

Some of my very favorite bands became my favorite bands is a similar way. I got their music for free (AKA pirated) and then I LOVED what I heard. Now I am buying their other albums, concert tickets, and shirts. If I never had the opportunity to hear them for free first, I wouldn't have ever gotten into them.

Radiohead is basically giving people permission to pirate their music if that is what it will take for people to give them a chance.

Also, not everyone is taking it for free. People are paying an average of $8 for the album!!! That is really cool.

Posted by: Collin-Band Member on October 22, 2007 10:14 AM

everywhere I found, that $8 per album number is coming from one radio stations poll of 3000 people. Do we have official number for it?

Posted by: jason on October 23, 2007 10:58 AM

also, how would you hear of an unknown small time local band with no label backing enough to know if you even wanted to pirate them? I think that's kind of the problem that a lot of bands have to overcome.

Posted by: jason on October 23, 2007 11:07 AM

That is more of a distribution problem though. The way that I hear most of my new music is from the recommendation of a friend.

If I have a friend discover a small unsigned band and tell me that I can get their CD for free, I will give it a listen.

You just have to hope that it spreads and you build a fanbase / make contacts that way. If people are hearing your music and passing it around, you are more likely to have it get into hands that can do something with it.

Posted by: Collin-Band Member on October 23, 2007 11:49 AM

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