Tomorrow, in case you hadn’t heard, Radiohead release their new album. You can purchase it to download from their website as they don’t currently have a record deal. You can also purchase a Â£40 box set with additional tracks, artwork, vinyl and so on, and I believe the band are in talks with a record label with a view to releasing the album on CD sometime next year.
The big news is, of course, that the band are letting you choose how much you want to buy the tracks for.. and you CAN choose Â£0.00 (although you still have to pay 45p for processing the payment, bloody banks).
I’m a fan so I’ll be getting the tracks but the question is, of course, will I pay for them?
A lot of people have said they will, and a lot of people and artists in the music industry think this could be a tipping point, presuming the band make money from this of course. If it sells enough, the record labels might just take notice and might, maybe, concede that there is a slim chance they have been a little rash and that, possibly, there are other ways to treat the music fans out there. Maybe. Sort of.
Me? I won’t be paying a thing. I will log onto the Radiohead website at some point, presuming it doesn’t spend half the day on its arse, and offer to pay Â£0.00 for the tracks. I’ll download them and listen to them with no guilt whatsoever.
Why no guilt? Because I do this already. I download albums, without paying, and listen to them. If I really enjoy the tracks then yes, I do then go and pay for them.
But that doesn’t always happen. Why doesn’t it always happen? Because I’m lazy and it’s hard and I’ve got to jump through hoops and, even once I’ve done that, I am then restricted as to what I can do with the tracks I’ve just purchased. So, what I tend to do is purchase the tracks, or CD, and then… continue to use the tracks I download (unless they are low quality). I have CDs on my shelves which have never been opened, and I know for a fact a couple of them still have the cellophane wrapper intact.
However, Radiohead have given me a way to continue to sample music, and have made it very easy for me to pay if I like it. If I choose to purchase the Radiohead album (which I will I know, so this is a rather academic discussion but I’m trying to make a point here..) I will go back to their website, “buy” the tracks and then NOT bother downloading them again.
Which, I guess, still brings me round to the question of how MUCH I’ll offer to buy the tracks for, Â£1 a track? Less? More?
Considering the eyes of the music industry are watching this ‘event’ very keenly, I’m almost tempted to pay well over the odds as a weird kind of protest. I’ll be sticking two fingers up and proclaiming: “See!!! We WILL spend money if you make it easy for us and don’t kibosh the tracks with DRM nonsense, don’t you get it?!”
Nothing is free, everyone knows that (ok ok, apart from air and stuff like that, don’t be so bloody pedantic) so it ultimately comes down to a single question: How much should you pay for something that is free?