Ever cognizant of the growing and rapid change in the way we obtain and listen to music, I’ve been intently following the release of Radiohead‘s new album In Rainbows which was rumored to have a price tag left up to the buyer.
Five years ago, the idea of buying mp3s was still relatively new and left mainly to the Napsters and Limewires of the global net…Tower and Warehouse roamed the Earth and used CD bins were the place to be. But as Apple announced their plans to launch a wirelessly accessible iTunes store conjoined with the fact that in the last fiscal year, 31% of music has been released in digital format ONLY, a new horizon of music store frontiers looms in front of us. It appears that Radiohead is one of the first groups ready to take the plunge.
Known for bucking the mainstream and having extreme problems with the state of the establishment, Radiohead has been groundbreaking for years, mainly in their musical endeavors of OK Computer, Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief. Now, their new release In Rainbows, a mere (yes, I’m being sarcastic, this is longer than edIT and Felix) four years after Hail to the Thief, attempts to go even further in that it is being offered digitally only. While they say they have a box set ready for a few months from now, for now, the download only album speaks boldly of their lack of concern for traditional methods of distributing music, and their personal belief that their album will sell.
But Radiohead didn’t stop there. In the current world of .99 cent iTunes songs and 10 dollar albums, Radiohead has stepped up their opposition to the label war on the music consumer by giving their fans something different…you can actually decide what you think the album is worth. That’s right, you pick the price. You get to the checkout basket, and there’s a blank slot for the price that you fill in. There’s a ? link next to it, and when you click it it says, “you decide.” If you click it again, it says, “No, really, you decide.” It also allows you to fill in 0 if you want to download it for free. Talk about holding the artist’s livelihood in your hands! So check it out… www.inrainbows.com (if it’s not jammed full and busy at that point). Maybe a musical purchasing future like this is out there somewhere, where bluebirds fly.
For those of you interested…I paid 7.10L for my copy (roughly 15 dollars)…the .10 I put in there because for some reason Radiohead has centered around the number 10 for this album (released 10/10, 10 tracks, announced 10 days before release). I’ll also let you know that the first track has some…..Glitch!