Skip to main content
/entertainment
  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print

CNN.com readers on Radiohead's 'name-your- price' strategy

Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

(CNN) -- English rock group Radiohead turned the music industry on its head today, releasing its seventh studio album "In Rainbows" as a digital download from the band's Web site.

art.yorke.afp.gi.jpg

Radiohead is offering downloads of their new album, "In Rainbows," at whatever price listeners see fit to pay.

In a move journalists and industry insiders called part experiment, part marketing genius, Radiohead let listeners pick their price for the album.

"It's up to you," reads a disclaimer on the Web site's checkout screen.

Thousands of fans who purchased the album ahead of time received unique download activation codes this morning. CNN.com received its code at 1:34 a.m. ET and had no problem downloading the 10 new tracks.

The whole process took about 90 seconds.

Much of the music world has been abuzz since members of Radiohead -- who finished their commitment to longtime label home EMI Music in 2005 -- announced plans to distribute their album via Web site October 1.

CNN.com asked readers for their thoughts on Radiohead's release, and how much they would be willing to pay for music. Below is a selection of their responses, some of which have been edited for length and clarity.

Mark Austin of Houston, Texas
It's hard to predict the future of someone's musical quality, but its not hard to rely on someone's past quality. I believe that Radiohead discography speaks for itself and speaks to me.

I paid full price, give or take a nickel -- $10.49 after conversion. I'm sure this idea scares other artists who rely on MTV to shove an album down your throat to get you to buy it. Or better yet, rely on one decent single to carry a crappy album.

Hopefully, this idea will bring back the album as well as take some of that loot out of the record labels' hands and give it back to the artists.

Either way, I'm listening to "In Rainbows" right now and feel like I may owe Radiohead a few extra bucks. It's great, just like I knew it would be. Think I may take this lucky streak to Vegas and put it all on black.

Stevey Majors of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I will not be spending money on the download, but I will be buying the deluxe edition of "In Rainbows" later this year, if I like the album. If they're offering something for free, I see no moral objection to taking them up on it.

... People are saying Radiohead's decision to release their new album in this manner might signal the death of the music industry. Personally, I have a hard time buying that. Radiohead has a very large fan base and doesn't need much promotion, marketing or the other things that a label often takes care of. Getting yourself noticed is very hard if you're plankton in the Pacific.

Jason Raney of Sacramento, California
I'm planning on paying a hundred dollars American flat for my download of "In Rainbows" by Radiohead. I'm not getting the special vinyl and CD set, just the ordinary download. I believe, that as a musician, it is an investment in my future. I want to send a message. "Keep your corporate conglomerate out of my artwork."

David Grodsky of Salt Lake City, Utah
I like remix versions of dance songs and international hits, which can be very hard to find, especially here in the U.S. If I want a song bad enough, I've paid as much as $15 for a CD with just remixes of one song on it.

When I can find what I want online, I really think that Apple's 99 cents per song strategy is the best pricing for me. I wished they'd check their quality, though, as sometimes it sounds like they just ripped some bargain CD instead of using a high-end copy.

Higher pricing will just make me obtain the songs in another way. I worked previously in the music industry for six years and I know how much it costs to make a CD. More than 25 percent of the retail price, or approximately $4, is packaging. A 12-song album is $12 with $0.00 going to packaging, so in the end, everyone from the labels to the artists to the distributor is making money.

Kris Gazsi of Carlisle, Pennsylvania
I think this is the greatest way for a band to take their music directly to the world. I have been a fan of Radiohead for almost 10 years and I have never been as excited for an upcoming album as I am for "In Rainbows." I already pre-ordered my copy and I paid exactly what I would have if it had been on iTunes.

Peter Gerr, outside of Boston, Massachusetts
I plan on downloading the new Radiohead album as soon as it becomes available, and will pay 7 euros, which as of October 9, is about $9.87 in the United States -- $9.99 is the price of most albums on iTunes, and I think this is a fair price for what I expect will become a classic and favorite of mine, alongside every other Radiohead album I own.

I admire Radiohead for their initiative in not only pushing the boundaries of content distribution, but for also placing the mantle of trust squarely into their fan's hands.

I'm sure some will rationalize downloading the album for free, re-distributing it on [peer-to-peer] networks, etc., saying, "Oh, the band is wealthy enough, they don't need my $10," but I think it's important to recognize the investment in time and creative energy a band like Radiohead pours into every album. I'm fairly certain that I'll end up with a positive [return on investment] on this transaction - how much is hours and hours of enjoyment and listening to good music worth? Surely more than $9.99.

Mark H. of Austin, Texas
I will probably pay $9.99 for the album and download it. As for music that inspires me to crack open my wallet, there are tons of bands I would still buy an album from. However, very few of those bands are mainstream acts. The problem is corporate record companies and the music industry itself used to focus on the quality of the music rather than the sex appeal or image that the artist now poses. MTV is at fault and has been since the late 90s when they brought boy bands and other teeny bop stars into the mainstream.

As for those artists that are not mainstream, there are plenty of bands I still buy albums from. Albums that reflect excellent songwriting skills usually 100 percent of the time from the artists themselves. More important, those artists put on great, non-lip syncing live shows which make you appreciate them even more. So yeah, I say if the record companies are going to ruin the integrity of music by releasing crap, then download mainstream albums, but the underground world has plenty that a real music fan would enjoy.

Radiohead, Besnard Lakes, Great Lake Swimmers, Arcade Fire, Bob Dylan, The Black Angels, etc. ... the list is infinite (of bands whose music I would buy) -- but notice that the list does not involve any crap. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Radiohead

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print
Quick Job Search
keyword(s):
enter city:
Home  |  World  |  U.S.  |  Politics  |  Crime  |  Entertainment  |  Health  |  Tech  |  Travel  |  Living  |  Money  |  Sports  |  Time.com
© 2014 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.