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I don’t know if anyone told you — I mean the Internet has been practically silent about it — but Radiohead is offering Magnatune-style pay-what-you-like pricing (including free) on the digital download of their new album In Rainbows (site is currently dead slow), to be released in ten days. Or you can buy their $80 box of vinyl and extra songs and stuff.

I don’t have much to say about the move. Radiohead is in a unique position that’s about as far away from most musicians as can be imagined and I’m thinking it’ll work great for them.

What’s interesting to me though, especially as I try to decide on one myself for the next record, is all the different sales models out there that musicians are using. It’s a little overwhelming:

There’s giving it away for free and asking for donations, variable pricing, lower-than-retail pricing, higher-than-retail pricing, tiered clubs with rewards, pre-ordering incentives, club memberships, merch bundles, box sets, etc, etc, etc.

How do you choose which one’s best?

Posted on - October 1, 2007 [at] 3:17 pm by Brad
Tagged in - , , ,

6 Comments on this post

Josh Woodward on Radiohead and pricing thoughts
October 1, 2007 at 4:39 pm

I’ve been selling my two most recent physical CDs on a name-your-own-price basis, and the average price has been $8.23 so far. Plus, I’ve been selling a good number more than I did with fixed $10 pricing, so it’s a definite win.

Robbo B on Radiohead and pricing thoughts
October 2, 2007 at 8:04 am

It’s easy.

Release the album.

I’ll buy it.

Simple :)

jamie on Radiohead and pricing thoughts
October 2, 2007 at 8:15 am

I’ve always wondered how it would work by giving away the music for free (how you’ve done it forever), but getting an additional something with a purchased CD (sorta how you did when you first released IDKWID – either download it for free, or buy the CD and get a nice package, with high quality mp3s, etc). Tool did something similar with their latest (and probably other bands do it too): the CD package was supercool, something you’d lose if you just pirated it.

Anyhow, something like releasing the basic album for free and tradeable, but then the CD itself is a cool package, with maybe a few bonus tracks that wouldn’t be available for free – sure, they’d probably end up online, but hopefully your fans would be cool enough not to do that, either through guilt or just that they paid for something and don’t want to give it to everyone.

I’m sure these aren’t new ideas.

In related news, have you heard Trent was encouraging Australian fans to steal his music because of high Aussie CD prices? Must be nice to be in that position.

VariableRush on Radiohead and pricing thoughts
October 9, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Several months ago, Prince did something similar by releasing his latest album free as a pack-in inside specially marked newspapers in London.

He went on to sell out 21 out of 21 concerts he played around London.

Sorry, I had to say “specially marked” almost like cereal boxes, free toy inside.

Petrick (GameShout VIP) on Radiohead and pricing thoughts
October 15, 2007 at 12:15 pm

“A poll of in excess of 3,000 people on a Record of the Day website has found that the average price a Radiohead fan paid for a copy of ‘In Rainbows’ was £4.

Corroborated with our exclusive that the Oxford band shifted 1.2million copies of the album – thanks to inside knowledge of a source close to the band – it means that Radiohead could have potentially earned a massive £4.8million from the album already! ”

Wow, nice. You have to convert that 4.8million ounds to your own currency, but anyway that’s lot’s of money.

Comments are closed on this post.