Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Out of Their Radiominds?

Rock band, Radiohead is releasing its new album on October 10th. Want to buy it?....name your price. Seriously. Fans visiting radiohead.com are asked to enter what they're willing to pay (as little as 1 pence/2cents, plus the 45pence credit card fee). Independent after completing their contract with Capitol Records, the band is going what the LA Times calls the "tip-jar route" to maximize fan awareness and engagement on the album as opposed to sales revenues. Any attempt to qualify the success of the strategy will likely be up for debate, but, then again, if we're debating the album then Radiohead'll have accomplished a primary goal of the maneuver.

1 comment:

Daniel Kamps said...

Oasis, Jamiroquai to follow Radiohead

By Harry Wallop and Lucy Cockcroft
Last Updated: 9:35am BST 10/10/2007

Some of the music industry’s biggest names are considering offering their music free online following the success of the experiment by the band Radiohead to let fans download their new album without charge.
# Update: Radiohead's new album available for download today
# Bryony Gordon: What is music worth to you?
# Freakonomics behind Radiohead's free album?
# Analysis: Radiohead generation believes music is free

The band’s website topped the chart of music websites with an 11-fold increase in internet hits after the announcement, according to internet monitoring agency HitWise.

Radiohead fans are willing to pay for their music

Now Jamiroquai and Oasis, two major names that are not contracted to a record labels, are rumoured to be considering following Radiohead by offering work for free, according to industry sources.

Radiohead refuse to reveal how many fans have pre-ordered their seventh album, In Rainbows, but figures from HitWise show the move pushed the site up from number 43 to the top slot for music websites in the UK.

Google say that searches for Radiohead have increased tenfold this week as fans log on to the band’s site, with the majority – according to the band’s spokesman – spurning the opportunity to download the album for as little as 45 pence and instead signing up for the £40 box set, which includes vinyl records, CD and artwork

The Charlatans are also offering fans their next album completely for free if they visit the site of radio station XFM.

The performers that give away their music for free are expected to make their money from sales of concert tickets and merchandise.

"They’ll all be thinking about it now," said Stuart Clarke at Music Week. "Any big name that is out of contract such as Jamiroquai and Oasis will now see it as an option."

Oasis has already announced that its next single, Lord Don’t Slow Me Down, will be available only to download for 99 pence. Meanwhile rumours abound that Madness, a band with a loyal fanbase amongst 40-somethings, is considering giving away its next album for free.

David Enthoven, founder of ie:music, Robbie Williams’s management company, said: "I think a lot could follow. You’ve got to be sure about your fan base but why would you sign your career away to a record label when CD sales are falling so rapidly?"

While CD sales are falling dramatically, download sales have grown from zero in 2003, to 26.5 million in 2005 which then doubled last year to 53.0 million. However, according to the British Phonographic Industry, for every track that is paid for, twenty are downloaded illegally for free.

Yesterday, Alan McGee, the manager of the Charlatans, said he was astonished by how popular the experiment was proving, even though fans were not yet able to download the album.

"The record industry is obsessed by age and fashion. And so you get these amazing British bands like the Charlatans and the Happy Mondays that were massive 10 years ago and are still great, but are out of contract. How do you get them profile? You give away the record."

He said that the initial feedback had been so positive that the he was already considering booking larger venues for the band to play in when they tour next year. "This experiment is going to work, I feel," he said, adding he was confident that merchandise and concert tickets will make up for giving away the free album for free.