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10:07 p.m. - October 10, 2007
The Radiohead Revolution
Did you feel the revolution in the air today brothers and sisters?

What's that you say? Did something happen? Did North Korea renounce communism? Did Iran decide to give up their uranium enrichment? Did someone like Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps or Michelle Malkin apologize and say that they were wrong about something?

No, but it was a revolution. Remember it's MUSIC week, so it was a musical revolution.

(Cue "Volunteers" by the Jefferson Airplane).

It happened at about 3 AM or so, I gather, here in the States - about mid-morning in the UK.

Yes, it was the release of the new Radiohead album.

Oh, big deal, you say.

Yes, big deal. And some of you may know WHY this is a big deal.

You can't get the album on iTunes or in stores. You can only get it through their web site.

Hey, Prince did that before, you say, and other smaller bands do that too. You can go on King Crimson's site, and pay to download a whole lot of live shows from the 70's.

But, they set a price, right?

Radiohead released In Rainbows exclusively on their website. You can get a digital download, or wait until they ship you a big ol' hoggin' collectors version with a CD and all kinds of extras. Oh, and you still get the download today.

So, what's the catch?

You can pay what you want. As William Shatner would say, "You name your own price!"

There is a slight handling fee (45 pence, if I'm not mistaken), but besides that, you can put in any amount.

I plugged in four pounds for my download. That's about 9.09 total including the handling fee. So it was really close to how much you'd spend on iTunes.

But I could have put in 0, and after my credit card was processed for the handling fee, I would have had In Rainbows.

That's the revolution.

Radiohead doesn't have a record deal, so they can do this. Trent Reznor, he of Nine Inch Nails, also said recently this is a model that he may follow as well.

Good for them.

Of course, they have established names and fan bases. However, many small bands give away demos or songs at their web sites as well, and they make it up with buzz, touring, and merch.

So, you know, if Radiohead does it, if Nine Inch Nails does it, it may inspire more bands to do it? In fact, bands such as Built To Spill, which have a small buy very loyal fan base, may find this is a better model for getting their music out there than the BS of a record company.

Think about it - just how much is music worth to you - and you pay that amount? You, the consumer, are in control. The artist is also in control, releasing music when they want to, not when some suits dictate that it will 'fit the marketing plan'.

What a concept!


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