Radiohead lets fans pick price for new album


Sweet fancy Moses this is awesome!* BB reader Daniel says,

Radiohead has just announced the details for their new album, In Rainbows.

They're only selling it through their website (at least for now), and for the digital download version, they're letting listeners pick their own price for the album - it's literally a donation-based product.

Obviously this is sparking confusion among many, but the only help the website provides are the words "It's up to you."

Link, album's out October 10. To recap: the box set (Glorious thick 12" vinyl! and "enhanced CD") is $80, but the downloads are name-your-own-price. Some readers are reporting that you get the downloads for free anyway if you buy the box set.


No details on the download file format. Does anyone out there know? DRM-free? MP3s? What bitrate, what quality?

I just bought my copy (download, though I'll probably go back and buy the boxed set, too). I got wonky html on the purchase confirmation screen indicating some code glurbles going on at the online store -- not sure if my transaction actually took. Perhaps the shop's overloaded right now, announcement just went live.

This is major, and it's such a slap in the record industry's face. An unsigned superband, treating loyal fans and customers like loyal fans and customers instead of thieves -- what a revolutionary concept.

In related news, the band is dismissing a hoax website that duped fans this weekend:

The site -- www.radioheadlp7.com -- launched on Friday with a countdown timer due to reach zero on Saturday morning. It claimed it would be making a big announcement about the band. Fans speculated the "Creep" hitmakers were planning to reveal details about their next album. But a spokesperson for the band has called the Web site a "hoax" and "nothing to do with Radiohead."
Link to SF Gate blog post.

Update: More on the band's unusual indie sales approach in these news and blog reports: Green Plastic (fansite online since 1997) Billboard, Idolatr, FQMB.

But Bob Lefsetz, as usual, sums it up best:

It's not like Radiohead's living in a different world. But they're playing by a different rule book. One that says the money flows from the music, that people have to believe in you, that you've got to treat them right.

Shit, you can barely get a ticket to a Radiohead show. The venues aren't big and the demand is incredible. They're doing it all wrong, don't they see?? Well, obviously they don't.

This is big news. This says the major labels are fucked. Untrustworthy with a worthless business model. Radiohead doesn't seem to care if the music is free. Not that they believe it will be. Because believers will give you ALL THEIR MONEY!

This is the industry's worst nightmare. Superstar band, THE superstar band, forging ahead by its own wits. Proving that others can too. And they will.

Disclaimer: I AM THE HUGEST RADIOHEAD FAN ON THE PLANET. (* Thanks Coop)