So, in a post last week I wrote:
“Personally, I would rather bypass the record companies completely and pay the artist through his/her website for .mp3 downloads of a CD, plus whatever extras are on there. The internet makes this easy. The purpose of the record companies these days is to promote artists and their music. This is the only place where signed artists have the edge over ind pendent artists; the internet has opened up distribution model…The future cannot be stopped, only planned for and made advantageous.”
And guess what I see in the Los Angeles Times entertainment section today? Radiohead: Pay what you want :: Well-known band Radiohead is offering its new album online for get this…as the title says, pay what you want! You can pay 10 dollars, or nothing, or 50 dollars, or 50 cents and download the whole album from their website. Now this seems a little liberal for me, but it’s an interesting test. How much will people pay? This is also interesting because it is free of a record label, so whatever they get for the album is what they keep minus overhead. Also interesting are the extras offered for a price(including LPs!); so fans can actually pay for cool stuff, but the music is accessible to casual fans.
One can argue that this can never work for a band that is unknown…To that I have to say that it’s a start. Once more popular bands realize they can make a living like this, we’ll see a few more openings in record company rosters, AND ridiculous record contracts will be rewritten. For me this is all very exciting, I’m not sure whether it is more entertaining to see how technology helps art and artists, or the actual music made available to us. I know I’ll be cruising over to the Radiohead site, even though before this article I didn’t even know they were releasing a new album. I know who they are, but maybe this cool distribution method will get them a new fan! How about that?