Certainly an awful lot has been written
about Radiohead's experiments with new business models, but it's starting to crank up again, as the band gets ready to release the new album on CD
. While some fans felt "betrayed" by this, the band had made it quite clear
from the beginning that this was the strategy. However, it's likely that we'll now see plenty of stories focused on how well the CD sells, as if that will be the key factor in determining whether or not this experiment qualifies as a "success."
That, however, is the wrong way to look at things. It's the "old business model" way of looking at things, where the key point is how many CDs were sold. That's doesn't much matter any more. The band has supposedly made quite a lot of money from selling the MP3s directly, and the attention garnered by the marketing stunt will likely allow them to sell more concert tickets at higher prices (and, yes, the band is about to start touring). Plenty of people who knew little about the band now know a lot more and are talking about and listening to the new album. At this point, no matter what happens with the CD, you'd have to say that the experiment has been quite a success.
That said, it doesn't appear as though the band fully embraces the economics
impacting the music industry these days. That's because the band has decided to stop offering the downloads
off its site as it gears up to try to sell the CDs. That seems like a rather pointless and shortsighted move. The music is already out there and being listened to widely. If you look on sites like Last.fm
and Hype Machine
, Radiohead clearly dominates. Continuing to offer fans an option in terms of how they want to consume and purchase the music only makes sense. It's not as if the music is suddenly not going to be available on various file sharing sites. So, really, all this move does is limit the ways fans can give the band money -- and that doesn't make much sense.
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