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Radiohead Says Name Your Own Price for New Album 498

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the funny-that-the-artists-are-pushing-for-lower-prices dept.
TechDirt is reporting that the band Radiohead has apparently chosen the path less traveled when it comes to the release of their new album. They are offering two very unique methods of purchase for their new music, the ability to name your own price for a digital download or the ability to purchase a special "discbox" which will contain the album on CD and vinyl in addition to a horde of goodies. Will be interesting to see how this new model works out for them and what it might do to more traditional methods.
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Radiohead Says Name Your Own Price for New Album

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2007 @01:23PM (#20812537)
    But it is beautiful PR for Radiohead
  • by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Monday October 01, 2007 @01:29PM (#20812661)
    It will be even more interesting to see the reaction of some of the big labels.
  • Re:Does... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by multisync (218450) on Monday October 01, 2007 @01:31PM (#20812689) Journal

    free count as a price?


    Of course it does. That's sort of the point, isn't it? You pay what it is worth to you. If it is worth nothing, pay nothing. If nobody pays anything, we are unlikely to see more music from Radiohead (especially under such permissive marketing schemes) but it wasn't worth anything to you so who cares?

    If, on the other hand, it is worth something to you, you might want to send them something to encourage them to continue making music.

    It's really quite simple.
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Monday October 01, 2007 @01:33PM (#20812715) Journal
    Not because $0.00 is a valid price to download, but because they are actually doing something right, valuing a download vs. real physical product in this test. No matter what they do, people will be sharing their music for free, so they capitalize on that for the news bite, AND offer up more than a license to listen to 3+ minutes of music for sale. The way the human mind tends to work, they stand a good chance of making money on this.
  • by jgarra23 (1109651) on Monday October 01, 2007 @01:35PM (#20812747)
    I think this will be very interesting *ONLY IF* Radiohead publishes the results of such a promotion.

    It will be interesting because they are (for whatever reason) a relevant and popular band with access to traditional B&M distribution. So we can see (very approximately and inaccurate duh)
    -what geographic locations paid the most average price
    -what geographic locations which paid nothing
    -what the average per-download price was
    -highest & lowest price

    and so on... esp. since it's not often that a band with as much exposure as Radiohead (don't even say Prince or I will slap you) experiments like this.
  • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday October 01, 2007 @01:41PM (#20812867)
    There are plenty of us out there that are willing to reward those who behave in a manner we consider "good" with money as incentive to continue along that path.

    That's why I don't own Microsoft stock but do own Google stock. The question will be, how many of those people are aware of this and how many are Radiohead fans? I'm a bit shamefaced to admit that while I've heard of them, I wouldn't be able to name a song by them without resorting to Google/Wikipedia. But then, I'm not that into the music world. I probably have heard their songs day in and day out and simply haven't connected the song to the group.

    This model, the cheap disc vs the expensive collector's item with goodies, has worked well in the video game and anime markets. I don't see much of a difference here other than the fact that they are marketing the cheap disc as "really cheap". I hope it works out for them. If previous experience is anything to go by, I think it will.
  • love this idea... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Connie_Lingus (317691) on Monday October 01, 2007 @01:45PM (#20812941) Homepage
    I think this (along with, unfortunately, corporate sponsorship) is the future of original music sales. Several years ago, after downloading the fantastic "Source Tags and Codes" album from the Band "And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead", I tried to email the lads and offer them $5 directly for the music.

    I got a nice email from someone saying "thanks, but due to contract restrictions with the record label, they could not accept direct donations...please support us by purchasing our album from traditional sources" or something along those lines.

    There is something 10x more satisfying by trying to give my hard earned money directly to the artist, and not to the scum-sucking music executives who have, for years, been stealing millions from naive, unsuspecting bands.
  • Re:Radiohead++ (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stranger_to_himself (1132241) on Monday October 01, 2007 @01:46PM (#20812977) Journal

    That's not true at all. Major tours cost huge amounts of money to move around, and are only used for promotion for the records. Bands don't tour so much these days because more of that promotional money is spent on the videos that they make.

    I agree with you though that Radiohead can afford to try this kind of stunt even if it fails, so they're not laying a lot on the line. It'll be valuable for less well off bands though to see if it works.

  • by penguin_dance (536599) on Monday October 01, 2007 @01:47PM (#20813007)

    "The traditional business model had been ruined by the Internet," said Grundy. "The industry is still trying to work out what on earth the new model or models should be and this is just one option."

    Sucks when you've become redundant, eh? Authors are self-publishing; musicians can sell their songs on-line. They've found that they're doing most of the promotional work anyway, so why are you getting such a big cut? They've peaked behind the curtain and found there is no wizard. You evolve or you get run over.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2007 @01:58PM (#20813189)
    Stephen King did something similar with his online-only The Plant series. IIRC about 60% paid to download the first chapter, but by the time he released the fifth that dropped down quite a lot and almost everyone chose to get it for free. King then pulled the plug on the pay-if-you-like project saying something like "I could get much more money going through a traditional book publishing route, but I might change my mind in the future."
  • by neurojab (15737) on Monday October 01, 2007 @01:58PM (#20813193)
    That being said, I wonder if this is some kind of strange social experiment to see if anyone actually puts more than $0 in the price box. I probably won't.

    Maybe if I was really hard up for cash, I'd consider putting in a lowball amount, but not $0. Putting in $0 would be worse, IMO than stiffing the waitstaff at a nice restaurant on their tip. You're not required to tip them, but you should. Why? They work hard, and make most of their money that way. Maybe it's just me, but I think that artists deserve to be paid for their efforts, even when they don't force the payment. They're asking to be paid a fair price, not to be stiffed. They've cut out the middlemen here, so perhaps that amount is less than you'd pay for a CD on Amazon. Perhaps it's more, for that very reason. They've let you decide.
  • Re:Does... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Conception (212279) on Monday October 01, 2007 @01:59PM (#20813207)
    Actually, I think in this case the rational decision is to give them money because you don't know if anyone else will. If you actually enjoy Radiohead and want to support them, why would you rationally rely on "hope" as a means to their support rather than the logical, "I know Radiohead is getting support, because I supported them."

    Now, if Radiohead announced, "Hey, we made 20 million off this idea! Thanks guys!" then I could see the Tragedy of the Commons becoming common.
  • by jaypaulw (889877) on Monday October 01, 2007 @02:05PM (#20813337)
    They are holding back disk 2 of the record for people willing to buy the ~80USD version. So it's not all happy happy fans we love you.

    CD 2
    MK 1
    DOWN IS THE NEW UP
    GO SLOWLY
    MK 2
    LAST FLOWERS
    UP ON THE LADDER
    BANGERS AND MASH
    4 MINUTE WARNING

    Also, the only reason radiohead are in a position to do this is the label they used to be on. And while I think this is the perfect direction for them, but I don't think it makes sense for labels to disappear. Good labels filter out the garbage to find and promote the good bands (please don't make me list a bunch of good labels.)

    Finally, the label actually does benefit from this because they will sell more copies of back catalog records as new people who have been living under rocks or graduating middle school will "discover" the band.

    Anyway it's a lot to cope with in one day for a sad Radiohead obsessive like myself.
  • Odd model (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iabervon (1971) on Monday October 01, 2007 @02:16PM (#20813507) Homepage Journal
    The problem with this model is that people haven't heard the album, and therefore don't know how good it is, so they can't decide in an informed fashion how much they want to pay for it. Even under the assumption that people will be happiest if they pay what they feel something is worth, I expect that people's happiness falls off more quickly on the overpaying side than the underpaying side, and that people expect this is general, so people will underpay to maximize their expected happiness if they don't know what they will feel something is worth.
  • by soliptic (665417) on Monday October 01, 2007 @02:24PM (#20813677) Journal

    My guess is that the slashdot "groupthink" will be positive, and likewise, I'm broadly positive about the attitude behind this.

    However, in the details, it ends up leaving me high and dry.

    Downloads, for me, are for those cases where "there's only one or two tracks on the CD I really like". If an album is any good, I vastly prefer to buy the CD - I enjoy the physical product, the artwork, lyrics/inlay notes, the free backup, the future-proof lossless quality.

    On the other hand, I've no interest in vinyl - I've got no decks!

    So with a choice of "buy the mp3s" or "buy the CD and vinyl boxset", I don't really want either :(

    Shame they're abandoning the middle ground of selling regular CDs, which I'd guess still represents the majority of music purchasing in the western world today.

    (And no, this isn't one of these "and thus I feel justified in pirating" excuse-posts. I spend more of my money on music than any other form of leisure/luxury; over £100/mo isn't uncommon. And I'm in a band who has cd and mp3 sales [keiretsumusic.com] of our own, and we've been at the wrong end of Russian allofmp3 style sites ("wholly legitimate" cry the slashdotters - legally, perhaps, on a technicality, but not morally... they're not sending any money through) and p2p. So, if I like the sound of this, I will pay for it, but I will be slightly miffed there is no way to get a CD without also wasting money (and space) on unwanted vinyl.)

  • Zero paradox (Score:4, Insightful)

    by athloi (1075845) on Monday October 01, 2007 @02:34PM (#20813839) Homepage Journal
    If it's worth nothing ($0.00) to you, don't download it, because it's worth nothing to you and therefore you have no need of it.

    This is the first major label major band defection that I can recall since Trent Reznor, and this will be sizably more influential as Radiohead still has a career left.

    The real problem with getting rid of major labels is how artists will handle promotion. Radiohead would not have become this big without mass-media coverage, radio station payola, and other forms of promotion. Independent artists have more freedom and make more money, but how do they promote outside a local area?

  • by saleenS281 (859657) on Monday October 01, 2007 @02:40PM (#20813923) Homepage
    I've always said, if artists I liked would simply put up a paypal link on their page, where I knew all the money went to them... I'd gladly pay even list price for a lot of cd's. Knowing that only 1$ of my 20$ payment goes to the artist, and the rest to the MAFIAA, has long deterred me from purchasing any new music.

    SO... how much of my price goes straight to radiohead? And how much goes to the MAFIAA (if any)? The article wasn't really clear about that point... Anyone care to enlighten me/us?
  • by duerra (684053) * on Monday October 01, 2007 @02:41PM (#20813941) Homepage
    I think this is absolutely great of Radiohead to do, and I give them props for putting their fans first. However, from the perspective of hoping that this moves the industry in the same direction, I don't see that happening. This addresses the problem of "how to cut out the RIAA" from existing, known bands. However, it does not account for how to generate new interest in the marketplace without the RIAA. Currently, 95%+ of the artists out there that most people have actually heard of all still deal with the RIAA.

    iTunes and other online distribution stores are a start. However, there still needs to be a better way to get lesser-known artists' music broadcast to as many people as possible, while still cutting the RIAA out of the loop. The answer to that dilemma? Well, I guess I'm not really sure. =/
  • wtf? Radiohead being one of the bands whose albums I consistently listen to all the way through I was all about this, especially given that there would almost certainly be a higher-quality master on vinyl (due to its inability to participate in the loudness war), but $80 is crazy. If I knew for a fact that it was a fantastic master, with lots of dynamic range and absolutely no clipping I'd be willing to pay $40 for one of the two formats, but with no such guarantee--or any information at all for that matter--I can't imagine what makes this worth that price. Although I applaud basically giving away MP3s (because they're worthless), you can hardly call charging more than double price for a given media and then forcing us to buy two together getting it right.

  • by FreshFunk510 (526493) on Monday October 01, 2007 @03:08PM (#20814321)
    I'd like to offer a perspective different from the PR stunt that people seem to think it is.

    Perhaps they are just artists. Granted, they've probably made enough money from their prior albums to no longer need to worry about money. They are treating their music like a piece of art. Real art should be free and open to the public (which is why public museums in London are free to the public). If this was their intention then I applaud Radiohead.

    Personally, I'm a fan but not the biggest fan. I would've liked to sample the album beforehand but their reputation and previous albums are good enough for me to put money on the line.
  • Re:Odd model (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cowscows (103644) on Monday October 01, 2007 @03:10PM (#20814349) Journal
    I think most music consumers have an innate sense of what they consider to be a good, fair price for music. It gets adjusted a little bit for different circumstances (OMG RADIOHEAD IS MY FAVORITE BAND!, I think that digital albums should be cheaper because of the lack of physical media/shipping costs, I'm a dirt poor college student right now, etc...), but if you were to take a poll of random people on the street, I'm guessing a pretty clear baseline would start to emerge.

    People already pay ridiculously high prices for albums that they haven't heard all the way through. Often times they're buying it just for one or two songs that they've heard on the radio, and the rest of the disc is just gravy (or filler). The cost of CD's probably has a significant effect on the baseline perceived value of a digital album that I mentioned earlier, although I'd guess that most people would agree that a downloaded song should be cheaper than a disc.

    You're probably right in that people will tend to underpay initially out of fear of "getting ripped off", unless they're huge radiohead fans. But if you do that, and it turns out you really dig the album, and you wish you had paid more; I'm sure radiohead wouldn't mind if you paid for and downloaded the album again.
  • by queenb**ch (446380) on Monday October 01, 2007 @03:11PM (#20814367) Homepage Journal
    Considering that most bands are lucky to see two or three cents per CD sale, I'd say that won't be too hard. I'm going to explain the recording industry for you folks. Follow along and see if you kids can keep up. Let's pretend for a few minutes that you're a musician. You bust your butt gigging, playing all over town and one day some guy walks up to you and says, "Hi! I'm with (fill in name of record company here), and we'd really like to sign you to a recording contract." Well, you get all excited and you sign your deal with the devil.

    The devil says "Come to my recording studio and we'll cut the record." Once you get there, they've got the studio lined up, the producer, and a few other people to "help you" make your record. If you ask about how much is going to cost, you get told, as is standard in the recording industry that "it will come out of the profits." Then you cut your album and "you have to promote it". If you ask how much that's going to cost...you guessed it kids, "it comes out of the profits". Now that you have to market your album, you have to go on tour. That means a bus, lights, roadies, stage, sound equipment, etc. If you ask how much that's going to cost...you guessed it kids, "it comes out of the profits".

    While you're on tour, you need to have T-shirts, posters, bumper sticker, etc. You also need to have hot dogs, twinkies, beer, and cokes for people to consume during the concert. If you ask how much that's going to cost...you guessed it kids, "it comes out of the profits". By the time they're through pulling all the costs out of "the profits", there usually aren't any profits left, which means all that the artist gets is what ever they get as a signing bonus. Not the advance - the signing bonus - since the advance comes "out of the profits", too.

    The way that this works out is that if you're lucky, the artist on any given album might see 1 or 2 cents of the $16.99 you pay for CD of music at Wal-Mart. Given that the Internet is the ideal distribution medium for music, I'd rather just go to the artists web site and buy the songs directly from them. Then the artist would get the whole $16.99 for the album instead of $0.02. But you see, the RIAA can't allow that because in that $16.97 lies their profit margins. Without them, it's a brave new world for digital music.

    Why do you and I have to pay a third party middleman to broker the transaction for nothing more than a song? Worse yet, we are required to continue to pay this middleman who threatens to sue both the consumer and the musician when we try to cut him out of the transaction. If the artist tries to sell their songs on the website the RIAA will try to sue them for contract violations. If you and I try to download the music, we get sued. The only reason for this is that it leaves the big, fat RIAA profit margin intact.

    The RIAA complains that their sales are down and points an accusing finger at "piracy". I'd like to take a moment to dispel that myth. When Napster was operating at it's peak, music sales were up 20% without the RIAA doing any additional marketing. Viral, word-of-mouth would spread quickly about new bands and good new interesting music. People were buying CD's because they'd get a taste of some stuff and like it. Then they'd go to the store, find the artist and buy some stuff. Now, there's no place to share that isn't full of viruses, worms, trojans, fake files, etc. No more free marketing RIAA - you pretty much litigated the goose that laid the golden egg out of existence.

    Compounding the problem is that the RIAA is key in determining what gets pushed to the public. Frankly, I think that they've lost the pulse. We don't care about Brittany Spears, although my husband was caught peering at her photos when she got snapped sans the undies. For some reason, the music industry has decided to cater to 14 year old girls. Why? I don't really know. When's the last time you saw a 14 year old that had more than $20 of disposable income at any given moment? If you
  • by Nasajin (967925) on Monday October 01, 2007 @03:19PM (#20814489)
    Radiohead have finished their recording contract with their publisher (I forget who it is), and as such are basically responsible for their own publishing henceforth. As a band that's released 7 studio albums, is pretty big in a number of countries outside the US (UK, Australia, NZ, Japan), and remembered for more than just "Creep" in those countries, they're going to do quite well as individuals, capable of naming their own price. They've probably decided to outsource their publish, and distribute themselves in the UK and internationally, that way they can be outside conventional distribution control. While I'll admit that my guess is just that: a guess, Radiohead is a pretty socially conscious band, and probably like the idea of working with the RIAA as much as you or I do.
  • by Jawnn (445279) on Monday October 01, 2007 @03:19PM (#20814491)
    Two bucks, if delivered straight to their pockets, is more than they would make on the sale of a CD under the typical record company deal, even after subtracting the expense of producing and shipping the media. So...
    Cheap CD's for us. More money to the artists. What's not to like? I mean, unless you're the record company.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2007 @03:30PM (#20814667)
    You know, the fact that you're a cheap fuck isn't really a point against the _band_, per se...that and the fact that you specifically mention that you're not even a fan (in a reply to one of your own replies) both add up to make it pretty clear that you're trying hard for a troll and failing miserably.
  • Re:Does... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2007 @03:31PM (#20814679)

    The only thing that it says about the band is that none of their fans have taken game theory.
    FWIW, game theory is a major part of my PhD (specifically social dilemmas), and I've just paid 5 pounds for the album. Usually I download music illegally and only buy CDs from my friends' bands, but I'm prepared to spend 5 pounds to reward the generous gesture of offering me the album for nothing.

    Your mistake is to assume that standard game theoretic notions of "rationality" apply to human beings. There's ample [wikipedia.org] evidence [doi.org] to the contrary [bc.edu].

  • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Monday October 01, 2007 @03:32PM (#20814705) Homepage Journal
    40 quid isn't bad for two CDs, two LPs, digital download, a nice book and shipping.

    It's assinine to be crapping on about "dynamic range" and so forth. Given the albums provenance it will probably sound like Radiohead want it to sound which is where the actual value lays for people who like their music.
  • by bwalling (195998) on Monday October 01, 2007 @03:38PM (#20814835) Homepage

    Real art should be free and open to the public (which is why public museums in London are free to the public
    Taxes or admission - you're still paying for it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2007 @03:45PM (#20814965)
    If the problem is you don't know if the music is good before you buy it, buy the download on the cheap, listen to it and decide if you want the vinyl and cds.
  • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Monday October 01, 2007 @04:13PM (#20815391) Homepage Journal

    Number two, the digital download, unless it's vastly different than any other digital download, is next to worthless
    Yes, the millions of people that get enormous amounts of enjoyment out of MP3s every single day don't exist. You pretentious twat.
  • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Monday October 01, 2007 @04:17PM (#20815441) Homepage Journal
    then there probably wouldn't be much point in music in the first place.

    There is more to life than game theory, thankfully.
  • Awful site (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sanity (1431) on Monday October 01, 2007 @04:28PM (#20815571) Homepage Journal
    It took me about 4 tries before I could pre-purchase that album due to the extremely flaky website. Its a shame because its a great concept, but if it fails, it will probably be due to the awful execution. You would imagine that the creators of "Ok Computer" would know some decent web designers...
  • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Monday October 01, 2007 @04:44PM (#20815843)

    Having worked as a waiter before, I'd say that you have no idea how stressful and hectic it can be. A good waiter does have a number of specialized skills, including diplomacy, efficient time management, and expectation management. Having a good memory, the ability to multitask and think on your feet, and keep the customer satisfied as their sole conduit to the (usually harried and even more frazzled) kitchen staff is a lot more challenging than you'd think.

    I've never been a waiter but I'll second that. Let's say the average tip is the aforementioned 18%, and since the whole point is to be a discretionary reward, that I range from 10%-25% for below average to above average service. If the check for a party of two comes to $50, then I might tip between $5 and $7.50 (examples only, I don't actually count pennies). Surely the difference between a good and bad server is worth $2.50.

    So what do I get for my extra $2.50? Not having to ask twice for condiments. Having the guy notice I need a refill before I give up in vain and start holding the glass above my head. Not sitting for a half hour waiting for my check. Not getting my order screwed up. If someone does all those things they make my dinner more enjoyable; I have no problem rewarding them for it.

    Now, one could claim from a statistical standpoint that the amount of the tip need not correspond directly to the value of the service, but to the discretionary portion of the service alone. A tip of zero should correspond to bare minimum service or the least amount a humane person would leave, with the employer picking up the difference and increasing salaries. In America, anything below 10% is considered unconscionable. What's the point of the tipping system, if it's not actually discretionary? Just save me the hassle and pay the servers more. That way, they don't worry about getting stiffed by tightwads, and leaving a sizeable tip would be more of an actual reward than something servers count on for their salary (which seems to have been the original point of the whole custom).

    But in general, having had a number of friends who were servers in college and hearing all the crap they have to do...yeah, cut the server a break. Another reason that tips seem high: yes, they probably do make $30 an hour on Saturday night - but that accounts for 1) the fact they have to work Saturday night, which sucks, 2) it's not always that busy and lucrative, and 3) at a lot of places, they have to show up before the restaurant opens to do prep and stay afterwards to do close, at which point they make half minimum wage. And if it really were that lucrative, you'd see a lot more non-teenagers making a career out of being an Applebys server, but somehow I think it's not that great a deal.

  • by ResidntGeek (772730) on Monday October 01, 2007 @05:26PM (#20816331) Journal
    That's why you're a pretentious twat. You don't care that the music is good, you only care if there's an ever-so-slight difference in sound quality between the album and your imagined ideal. Shut up and enjoy the music, won't you? You're the problem with music today, you're the reason modern non-pop music is made up of groups like Radiohead and The Mars Volta and Animal Collective instead of the Who and the Beatles and Van Halen and Black Sabbath and a thousand other bands that are better than Radiohead that not enough people listen to anymore.
  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Monday October 01, 2007 @05:28PM (#20816353) Journal
    Maybe he got a little too prima donna about the whole thing, and that showed through in the work as it progressed?

    (Not a fan, so didn't participate in that little experiment of his, but the thought occurred to me since so many people started out paying.)
  • by Von Helmet (727753) on Monday October 01, 2007 @05:28PM (#20816355)

    Well, to make you feel better, I'm sure that you could hear the difference if you knew what to listen for and listened for it.

    Well done on turning a relaxing hobby into hard work.

    Yes, CDs sound better than mp3s, but if you rip half decently then the difference is negligible for the vast majority of people, say 95% of them. Double blind tests bear this out. Sure, a handful of audiophiles can tell the difference, but you guys are far and away in the minority. No one really cares about your airless gold plated cables on your hi-fi that cost more than my car. Most people listen to mp3s on an ipod using low end earbuds, and most people are perfectly happy with that.

  • Mod parent up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (yranoituloverevol)> on Monday October 01, 2007 @05:38PM (#20816471) Journal
    The post highlights some very important research in game theory that show that the Homo Economicus [wikipedia.org] model is severely flawed. This is important as our entire free market, capitalist system is based on assumptions from this model. Most people are more motivated by notions of fairness and reciprocity than pure selfish gain. That being the case, cooperative systems that allow people to punish inequality are more suited to real human nature than our current system, which rewards selfishness and increases inequality.
  • by lennier (44736) on Monday October 01, 2007 @06:08PM (#20816751) Homepage
    "Something is either unique or it isn't. There's no "Somewhat unique", or "very unique"."

    This is trivially disprovable. Any collection of objects can have a mixture of unique and shared elements. What do you call the result other than 'partially unique'? Take a Linux distribution, or human DNA, for instance. We have unique bits - a tiny fraction of the whole - and we have this vast sea of shared bits.

    It seems to me that it's perfectly sensible to say '25% of this collection is unique', and therefore to say 'this collection as a whole is 25% unique'.

    An entity which was '100% unique' would be utterly alien to us, by the way. We'd have absolutely no referents for it at all. It probably wouldn't even exist in our spacetime universe, because by so doing it would share phenomena with many other objects and thus compromise its uniqueness.
  • Well, if nobody can download the Radiohead album from anywhere except via BitTorrent then that kindof kills there business model where the site was going to ask for a donation.

    If people download the album from another place they aren't going to see any donations.

    They need to get their site fixed so that it is no longer getting slashdotted or else they areen't going to prove anything.
  • by Abreu (173023) on Monday October 01, 2007 @06:14PM (#20816811)
    I would hardly call Radiohead the best band in the world, but I will certainly admit that they are way above average (when the average is the latest-britney-clone records and hip-hop records)
  • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Monday October 01, 2007 @06:17PM (#20816841) Homepage Journal

    Right, I'm pretentious because I claim that MP3s are an inferior format
    No you are pretentious because you call them worthless, because from on top of your high horse you can't even see what is useful and enjoyable for an awful lot of people.

    and the guy that turns his inability to take any criticism of his preferred format into a personal attack
    I don't even have an MP3 player (other than my computer). I tend to listen to the radio in my car (so I hear new music) and CDs at home. I have a few LPs but no record player. I have DVDs, the odd DVD-audio, some VCDs (A Pink Floyd concert is still enjoyable even with some heavy artifacting) and even some wierd "CD Video [wikipedia.org]" things.

    There's a lot of formats out there, all with pros and cons, but if you spend too much time worrying about all the problems you'll lose sight of why music is enjoyable in the first place.
  • Re:Does... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by multisync (218450) on Monday October 01, 2007 @06:26PM (#20816925) Journal

    Many people need to support the band in order for it to stay afloat.


    This is true, but there are many ways of supporting a band. Seeing them live, buying merch directly from them, turning others on to their music, wearing a beaten-up old t-shirt with their name on it, performing drunken, off-key renditions of their songs to anyone who will listen ... these things all help to promote and support a band and probably do more for their bottom line than what they actually receive from the sale of their CDs.

    You bring up a good point about the "tragedy of the commons" though, and I don't have the background in economics to counter with anything intelligent, other than my gut feeling that tells me if something is truly "worth it," enough people will support it.

    A good example is my favorite [radioparadise.com] Internet Radio station, which is entirely listener-supported and commercial free. A lot of people I have told about it think I'm crazy for sending them money every month when I could just listen to it for "free." And I'm sure a lot of people do just that. I did for a good year or so before I decided to start supporting them. But I have been supporting them for a couple of years now, and others must be as well since they are still in business, playing music 24/7.

    The reason I support them (and I assume the reason others do as well) is simply because I value what they do, and I would regret it horribly if they went quiet one day and I did nothing to prevent that. They still might go quiet despite my support, but I can't control that. I can only do what I can do.

    And this brings up another point. This idea of voluntarily supporting the music you like might not be enough to pay for all the payolla, Lear jets and cocaine that seems to be necessary to keep the traditional "music industry" going, but maybe we don't need all that. Maybe we just need people who love to create art (and we've had those since the stone age) and people who love to listen to/watch/feel/smell/taste it to recognize how much they value each other. It may not work in all cases, but I'll bet it would allow more musicians to give up their day jobs than the current system.
  • by jkauzlar (596349) on Monday October 01, 2007 @10:23PM (#20818819) Homepage
    I think you missed his point. Like me, all he wants is a high-quality CD, but they give you a choice of MP3's for free or an $80 box set of stuff that only collectors might enjoy. I'm a huge fan, but of the music. I don't care about their artwork and I don't have a record player.
  • by jkauzlar (596349) on Monday October 01, 2007 @10:34PM (#20818887) Homepage
    Pretentious? I'm surprised that 19th Nervous Breakdown is the only one who sees the irony in this: They give us a choice between a free mp3 version or an $80 box set. Why not a $15 CD like every other album that comes out?????? Some of us have decent stereos and we can hear the difference between mp3 and CD. Not to mention radiohead's music is one of the few bands that's worth playing on a good stereo..
  • Massive in the USA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jaypaulw (889877) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:01AM (#20819725)
    Kid A debuted at Number 1 in the USA. Also, they wouldn't be forced to work with the RIAA, and Thom has already released a non-riaa record.

    Between that and the previous mentioned 6 records instead of 7, you are pretty ill informed to be "Insightful"

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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