Friday, October 26, 2007

Radiohead: Open Source Music

Depending on your musical taste, you may or may not have listened to the band Radiohead. In their Wikipedia entry, the band is referred to as "the "English version of Nirvana". Both bands make/made songs with quiet and beautiful moments and also loud guitar distortion."

A few weeks ago Radiohead released their latest album titled "In Rainbows", selling it as a download without digital-rights management (translated - no copy protection). The band is asking for fans to establish the value of the music on the album and determine how much they want to pay for the music, if anything at all. It's available free.

Radiohead has joined a list of artists moving away from traditional distribution methods. According to the New York Times:

"....a short but growing list of recording stars that includes Prince, Madonna, Nine Inch Nails and .... Radiohead have indicated their willingness to depart from the conventions of music sales and the control of the four multinational corporations that dominate the industry."

Here's more from the New York Times piece:

"Early reaction suggested that listeners would pay, but less than they would for a CD in stores. The blog carried a poll in which the plurality of voters — almost 40 percent — said they would pay from $2.05 to $10.12."

and a bit more:

"Whether Radiohead’s move will lead to a shift for the industry is far from clear. In taking over more of its own sales, the band risks losing what connection it has with the mass market and turning into a niche operation. Indeed, not all artists choose to depart the major-label structure when the opportunity arises — Bruce Springsteen, for one, decided to renew his relationship with Sony Music’s Columbia label when his contract was near expiration."

The band currently is not contracted with a recording company and has not sold content on iTunes. According the the Times - early next year they say the will release a CD, two record vinyl (!) set and photo book that will sell for approximately 40 pounds (about $82).

Watch the Radiohead website and legally download the music here.

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