Radiohead ‘Pay What You Want’ Strategy an Unconventional Success

The Listening Post published an intriguing article today on the analysis of Radiohead’s groundbreaking ‘pay what you want’ distribution strategy for In Rainbows, which allowed fans to download the album from their website for whatever price they wanted with a valid email address.  Many critics of the strategy considered it a failure because the album became wildly popular on file sharing networks almost immediately upon its release.

But was it really a failure?  Analysts at MCPS PRS have crunched the numbers and beg to differ.  Sure, the album was ‘illegally’ shared more than 2.3 million times within the first 3 weeks of it’s release.  And that’s a lot of email addresses and potential revenue the band lost.  But the firm claims Radiohead’s strategy was a success nonetheless; winning the public’s attention to top the charts in both the UK and US and enable a hugely successful worldwide tour.

They conclude that when it comes to judging whether an album is a success these days, the old metrics just don’t cut it.  And that the music industry needs to stop thinking of shared files as lost sales, and start treating them as an aspect of reality upon which they can build their business. Hear hear!  

The full report will be available on the MCPS PRS website tomorrow.  Until then, enjoy another groundbreaking Radiohead development – the new video for House of Cards using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology.  No lights or cameras were used.  Just this 3D LIDAR technology.

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One thought on “Radiohead ‘Pay What You Want’ Strategy an Unconventional Success

  1. For the band, it was a financial success, as they made more money from the digital release of In Rainbows than “all the other Radiohead albums put together, forever.”

    For the listener, they got hold of a good piece of music at a price of their choice, and some people are used to paying nothing and others are used to willingly exchanging money for the pleasure.

    For the record companies, they got to see that their main purpose is for the promotion of teenie-crap and their that they have little purpose existing inbetween a band and its fanbase.

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