Friday, October 05, 2007

Johnny, you are the man. You get it! The Internet has leveled the playing field for music (and soon video) and we want to pay you, not the machine.

On October 10th, 2007 Radiohead will release their 7th album In Rainbows with a "pay what you want" model. You name the price that you want to pay for the entire album! Pay what you would for one track on iTunes, or an album at retail, maybe more if you really love the band. This trumps the last innovative sales technique by the steady flower, Chuck D of Public Enemy who in 1998 said that "musicians will circumvent the record label's distribution role." After dropping his label Def Jam in December of 1998, the group who includes current TV star Flavor Flav created history in May of 1999 by releasing the first album over the Internet from a platinum selling group. "There's a Poison Goin On" was available in Real Audio format via the web, with a CD mailed direct to consumers for $10. This was during an age of RIAA lawsuits over the first mass-consumer MP3 player, the RIO PMP-300. I had one and its parallel port interface and 32MB of storage was a joke by todays standards. You can still buy PE music from and their current album, still $10, is "New Whirl Odor." Now instead of one portable MP3 player there are thousands on the market, with more than 110 million sold according to an April 2007 announcement from Apple.

But I digress. Back to Radiohead. You visit their website and enter the amount of UK Pounds that you wish to pay for their new album "In Rainbows," register for their site, then plug in your credit card digits and presto. They get money directly in their bank account. There is a 0.45 pound credit card processing fee, and Waste Products, LTD is handling the transactions for them, since an iTunes song has a similar processing fee, I would venture that Waste is making 0.15 pence (or UK pennies) on each transaction.

Read deeply into these artists album titles. They have more meaning than we imagined... Labels look out! The artists are restless!

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