Blogs » Pop Goes the Culture » Radiohead's little experiment...


Whudda thunk it, folks? If you give people the option of either paying for something or getting it for free, most people will chose to (...wait for it...wait for it...) take it for free.

I know! I'm just as shocked as you are! (Editor's note for the humor challenged: That sentence is dripping with sarcasm...I mean, we're talking Chinese water torture drip).

But believe it or not, some people are still surprised by the fact that when British band Radiohead (or as I like to call them "Whiny College Music Band") offered fans the option of paying whatever price they felt like paying for downloading their latest album, "In Rainbows," most people choose the price of free.

Well, duh. I may not be very good at math, but I do know that in terms of money, 0 is damn good price.

According to, "During the first 29 days of October, 1.2 million people worldwide visited the 'In Rainbows' site...the study showed that 38 percent of global downloaders of the album willingly paid to do so, with the remaining 62 percent choosing to pay nothing."

Well, that answers one question. 62 percent of Radiohead fans are smart.

I'm sorry but in my opinion, why pay when you don't have to? It's not like Radiohead is struggling for money. Chances are our 6-year-old niece could probably pirate it off the Internet for free anyway. And most of us music fans still want to get back at the music industry for quashing the dream that was Napster (ah, the good 'ol days).

That said, however, I applaud Radiohead for embracing the future of the music industry. Offering the music directly to fans at whatever price they deem appropriate (even free), they have sidestepped the traditional music industry way of doing things. And the money goes directly to the band, not to the fat cats chewing on their cigars in their music industry boardroom, which I'm sure is causing a panic among them ("Oh no! We can no longer exploit musicians and their fans and rob them blind! What's next? MTV actually playing music videos?! Oh, the humanity.")

Piracy of music and movies will always be around. In college, I knew dudes who could get copies of albums months before they hit the stores. Radiohead has made one bold move as a band and is trying to work with the changes in how people buy and listen to music. I can only hope other bands break away from the mainstream music industry and follow in their footsteps.