Monday, October 01, 2007

For What's it Worth

Today we read about that Oasis’ forthcoming single, Lord Don’t Slow Me Down, is to be released as a DRM-free MP3. Yesterday many bought the Travis new single plus 11 tracks with their Sunday Mail.

Now we find that Radiohead have followed that famous ‘honesty box’ ploy used by some restaurants where you pay what you believe the meal is worth. Radiohead are offering their new album ‘In Rainbows’ via an honesty box download which will be available 8 weeks ahead of the physical equivalent. You simply pay what you think it’s worth.

So the music industry finds itself trying to herd cats again. Forget Nasper, Kazza and the pirate P2P days, the artists are now leading the revolt and the industry appears but be like rabbits caught in the headlights. Who would invest in EMI and Universal today?

Radiohead are now seriously questioning their own relationship with their fans and the industry model. If you go to their site and click on the question mark beside the price field for ‘In Rainbows’ and it says, “It’s up to you.” Guess how many will pay more than a few pence? Guess how many will pay the full recommended price? In the restaurant trade the public often paid a fair price and often respected the approach and the fact that they were face to face with the staff. However, in the depersonalized world of the internet, decency may not be applicable and its down to what Radiohead fans think of Radiohead. Its going to be interesting to watch and irrespective of the outcome I would not like to be an executive at EMI, but again I never have.