Radiohead announced October 1st,on its blog, casually as if they were talking about a night at the pub, that they were releasing a new album in ten days. At first I didn’t give it much of a thought other than I was happy that I didn’t have to wait six months for the album. Yesterday, I went to the site and found out that by choosing the download option, I got to decide what this album was worth to me. Yes, I actually paid for music!
I don’t normally read too much news, which is why I just found out about this, but it has been a blast reading how people are responding to this beautiful act of vulnerability. There are two general questions that I see being raised. The first being, is it going to work, which is really, are they going to make any money? Who cares, it is clear that they want their fans to decide the value of the new album. The second being, how is this going to change the business, which is really, are middle men in the music business still going to make money? There are very few bands in a position to let their audiences decide what to pay so, yes there is still money to be made.
It is not hard for me to sit and dream, of a society that relies on each other to define value, putting aside self for others and actually believing that as I take care of others, I in turn will be taken care of. What would happen if we all followed the model that Radiohead is taking with In Rainbows and let whoever is receiving what we do dictate honestly its worth?
So what did I pay for In Rainbows?
I’ll never tell