There have always been two reasons why I like the band Radiohead. Firstly, I love the music (and started loving it before I was 28 which, apparently, is when our music tastes freeze for all time). Secondly, I went to the same school as they did, Abingdon school, and knew Jonny, the guitarist. He was in my French A-level class. I bought one of their fist demo tapes (eventually sold for 600 pounds on ebay to pay for my Charity India motorbike trip), and my friends and I went to all their early Oxford gigs, some before they were even signed and were still known as On a Friday….
Now I have a third reason to like them. They have just completed their latest album, to be released on October 10th. So what? So, they are releasing it on their own, with no record label involved, via their website. And guess what? You decide what to pay for the album. If you go for the digital download option and click on ‘view basket’ you see empty boxes where a price should be. Clicking a question mark next to the empty price boxes elicits a new page saying ‘You decide’, and again, another question mark links to a page saying, ‘No, really. You decide’… and so it is, the fans decide how much they want to give the band for their new record. I paid 5 pounds to pre-order mine (which I reason is more than the band would normally get from their cut of a CD sale), and will get an email on or before the 10th with my download link.
So, not every band has the clout to make this work, but this is obviously a revolutionary move, and just how the music business ought to work: ditch the greedy labels, and make the fans happy to pay you for your work. No matter what happens/what people pay (and I’m sure Radiohead will come out very happy from this new way of selling their music), they will still make a fortune on the concerts that will follow and the admiration this will inspire. So it’s win win for them, and win win for us!
What do you think?