Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Music Media The Almighty Buck The Internet

Name-Your-Cost Radiohead Album Pirated More Than Purchased 582

Posted by Zonk
from the perhaps-you-don't-understand-the-concept-of-free dept.
phantomfive writes "Forbes is reporting that despite Radiohead giving their latest album away 'for free', more copies of the album were pirated than downloaded from their site. Commentators offered up the opinion that this was probably more out of habit than malice. People download from regular BitTorrent sources, and may not have fully understood the band's very new approach to the subject. Regardless, Readiohead's efforts are having some measurable effect, as noted by the chairman of EMI: 'The industry, rather than embracing digitalization and the opportunities it brings for promotion of product and distribution through multiple channels, has stuck its head in the sand. Radiohead's actions are a wake-up call which we should all welcome and respond to with creativity and energy.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Name-Your-Cost Radiohead Album Pirated More Than Purchased

Comments Filter:
  • Embarrassment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:18PM (#21017287)
    Even if they let you get it for free by putting a 0 in the price box, it's embarrassing to do so. They're only talking to a computer but even so, it's somewhat less shameful if you're not virtually confronted by the people you're ripping off.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:36PM (#21017567)
      I put -1 in the box and they sent me a dollar.
    • by raehl (609729) <raehl311@nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:51PM (#21017775) Homepage
      The problem was caused by the record labels themselves.

      Anytime you have something that people want, and you do not give them a legitimate market to get it, a black market will develop.

      Ten years ago, technology advanced to the point that you could distribute music digitally. By denying a legitimate means of digital distribution of music from the market for so long, the music labels essentially ENCOURAGED a black market in digital music to develop. That means that 10 years later, there are mature digital distribution methods and massive amounts of consumers who know how to use them. If, instead, the labels had just charged a reasonable rate 10 years ago, these illegitimate means of distribution would not have developed nearly as much.

      So when consumers have the option of a free song from Radiohead's site, and a free song from the same place they're getting all of their other free music, why bother going to the Radiohead site?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Oligonicella (659917)
        Oh, puhlease. "legitmate market to get it" These people won't pay a friggin' dime. There's no "black market" as that assumes payment. Hint: even black marketeers demand money. These people simply engage in wholesale rip-off.
        • by Curtman (556920) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:26PM (#21018223)

          Hint: even black marketeers demand money. These people simply engage in wholesale rip-off.

          I pay a tax every time I buy a blank CD. If that doesn't that give me the right to "pirate" my MP3's then what is it for? I wouldn't even pirate the new Radiohead album let alone pay for it, but that's another matter.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sumdumass (711423)
            Actually, unless they changed it or your in Canada and not the US, You pay the tax only on blank CDs labeled for music.

            But that technicality doesn't really matter because you said "My MP3S" which imply you already own the content or the copy of the content. I don't see why moving that to another or multiple devices still in your control should matter. It shouldn't be pirating when you attempt to do so. Just like when you copy an article from a newspaper or magazine to put in a scrap book. That too shouldn't
          • I pay a tax every time I buy a blank CD. If that doesn't that give me the right to "pirate" my MP3's then what is it for?
            I wish this silly argument was buried once for all. The Tax on blank CDs is to compensate for the electrons that get stuck on those CDs and can't be reused. Then fresh ones have to be shipped from China at outrageous rates. Especially given the current price of a barrel of oil.

            It's not like they grow on trees. So start memorizing tunes, learn to hum and stop wasting particles !
        • by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:27PM (#21018237)

          Oh, puhlease. "legitmate market to get it" These people won't pay a friggin' dime. There's no "black market" as that assumes payment.
          allofmp3.com was making money, wasn't it?

          I think the "problem" with the radiohead site is you have to go through a specific place for that one album and navigate an unfamiliar site. People want one place to get whatever they want. That's a common factor between iTunes, Napster, allofmp3.com, and whatever filesharing network is in vogue currently.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by pipingguy (566974) *
            People want one place to get whatever they want

            Apparently such places already exist. I once did a Google search for "waterhammer steam slug pipeline explosion" and up popped an ad on the right side of the results that said, "We have waterhammer steam slug pipeline explosion at the lowest prices! Don't bother clicking the other ads!"
        • by Alsee (515537) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:55PM (#21018593) Homepage
          The grandparent was 100% right.

          About a decade ago the Recording industry cartel abused their monopoly position to prohibit any online distribution at all. When there is a legitimate market demand for a product, and you refuse to serve that market, then yes that is an extremely powerful economic force to create a black market to satisfy that demand.

          The Recording Industry created the P2P explosion. Yes P2P technology would still have been invented, but it would not have become anywhere near the Goliath it is today if not for the Recording Industry cartel.

          Yes after a couple of years the Recording Industry slowly started to allow some internet music sales, but even then they still refused to supply the product the market demanded. They still refused to permit the public to PAY for the product they wanted to buy. They still refused to allow anyone to buy MP3 music at any price. And they still abused their monopoly control to dictate absolutely INSANE market conditions. They only permitted the sale of deliberately crippled device locked DRM crap. You can very well compete with free+illegal+inconvenient (hell you can sell bottled water), but it is absolutely stupid to attempt to compete with free by offering overpriced+crippled+even_more_inconvenient.

          Contrary to the incorrect Slashdot headline and summary, the legitimate band website numbers are bigger than the P2P numbers. That is pretty impressive considering extremely mature nearly-brain-dead-easy vast global P2P free distribution network that the RIAA has spend the last decade creating. Had the RIAA started selling reasonable priced MP3s online a decade ago... or even had they started selling unreasonably priced MP3s a decade ago... underground distribution of this album would be hardly a blip on the radar.

          -
      • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:11PM (#21018019) Journal
        So when consumers have the option of a free song from Radiohead's site, and a free song from the same place they're getting all of their other free music, why bother going to the Radiohead site?

        Also: If you're going to download it for $0, why chew up the bandwidth the band is paying for?

        (Unless they ask you to do it that way because the bump in the download stats is worth more to the band than the hosting costs for the download.)
        • I just want to know who the dumbass is who seeded the torrent of the album.

          It should have been tracks that said "Go to radioheads website to get this for free and show the RIAA you hate them, then download it again from every computer you have access to"
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by magarity (164372)
            who the dumbass is who seeded the torrent of the album

            Someone who works for the RIAA trying to prove that downloadable music in a non-DRM format is only going to be pirated. Thanks to all those who are helping prove the point.

            To try to counter, I've just bought the thing for $5 although I don't think I know any of this band's work but I have heard the name. I'm willing to support this experimental distribution method, though. Anyway, it's downloading at a reasonable clip. Oh, and be war
      • by Cassius Corodes (1084513) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:17PM (#21018111)
        You cant pretend like you need massive infrastructure to get a legit music market to develop - this band did exactly what the computer community wanted and unfortunately the doubters where right - more people downloaded it from illegal sources then pay the measly minimum of $1 (or pound I forget which) to get it legally.

        The problem in my opinion is that people fail to understand there are people who download not because they are unwilling to pay for stuff they want but because they only slightly want what they download - not enough to pay for it if that was the only way to obtain it. Hence if tomorrow all the illegal sources where silenced - what we would see is not so much of a rise in sales as a drop in total consumption of a product (illegal + legal).
        • by Curtman (556920) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:33PM (#21018317)

          more people downloaded it from illegal sources then pay the measly minimum of $1 (or pound I forget which) to get it legally

          But how much did the band make from album sales compared to what they would have by releasing through retail distribution channels? That will decide if it was worth it. The fact that millions of people got the album for free is irrelevant if it makes them more money.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by timeOday (582209)

          the doubters where right - more people downloaded it from illegal sources then pay the measly minimum of $1 to get it legally.

          Doubters of what? This reminds me of Stephen King's "revolutionary" idea of paying to download to a book, which he declared a failure [wikipedia.org] because less than 75% of readers paid. That's an irrelevant benchmark. If radiohead makes more money this way than selling CDs through a label, they win. Whether more copies are pirated than purchased, or even whether online sales increases or de

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Penguinisto (415985)

        The problem was caused by the record labels themselves.

        Anytime you have something that people want, and you do not give them a legitimate market to get it, a black market will develop.

        While your opening sentence is correct, and something I agree with, the reason you presented is IMHO not quite it.

        IMHO (and little else), the reason folks download music for free isn't due to any 'black market'.

        No, people think little of downloading music because they get music for free anyway in other formats. They get it for free by taping it straight off the radio, and have done so for decades. They get it for free off of the zillion "Music Choice" (or similar) television channels that come with e

    • Re:Embarrassment (Score:5, Insightful)

      by antek9 (305362) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:02PM (#21017923)
      And it's a real no-brainer to put any number but zero in there, because you know that it all goes directly to the artists.

      I also got the album via a torrent first, because the day after the launch it was simply impossible to reach the Radiohead server, seeing that it had been slashdotted or something (can't be that much of a failure then, now can it?). Thanks for the follow-up story; I almost forgot that I wanted to return to radiohead.com in order to show my appreciation for this great step forward by paying the band. Those guys have been one of my favourite acts for something like ten years.

      Short version: 'Piracy' sure is the wrong word here. That's like saying 'Oh no, the new Mandriva version is being shared on torrents more than it is being downloaded directly from mandriva.com. Damn those pirates!'. Get a life. By seeding, people donate their own bandwidth to prevent the band's server from melting down. Whether or not they come back later to pay for the music is a completely different story, but as for me, I just did.
  • Or maybe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dedazo (737510) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:19PM (#21017291) Journal
    Instead of sugared-up theories about why this happened, it's possible that the model simply won't work.
    • Ask (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Ask Jonathan Coulton [jonathancoulton.com] if the model works.

      Or maybe the guys at Magnatune. [magnatune.com]

      They still seem pretty sold on it.

    • Re:Or maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by darkmayo (251580) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:39PM (#21017611)
      Radiohead themselves will define whether or not it was a success.

      If they end up making more money off this album than if they had released it through traditional means I would say that would be an attractive means of distrobution.

      But it might not just be money they are looking at to determine success.
      More exposure and new fans could appear from the multitudes of downloaders.
      • If they end up making more money off this album than if they had released it through traditional means I would say that would be an attractive means of distribution.

        True.

        The average beginning artist makes somewhere between 1 and 4 cents per CD (usually 0.01 to 0.02 USD). An established artist can get around $2.00 per CD.

        If they got $8.00 per download they were wildly successful, even if 0.01 UDS (1 cent) was the cost to distribute it.

        Just do the very very simple math.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DerekLyons (302214)
          It's the same math it's always been - there is nothing magical about it being on the 'net. If you are unknown, you aren't going to make money. Period.

          It doesn't matter if the beginning indie artist can make a $1.00/download, rather than $.04/CD - because there aren't going to be twenty five times as much downloads as CD purchases. They'll be lucky as hell if anyone beyond their family, significant others, and a handful of drunks from last nights gig down at the local watering hole ever pay anythi
      • Re:Or maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

        by paeanblack (191171) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:05PM (#21017961)
        If they end up making more money off this album than if they had released it through traditional means I would say that would be an attractive means of distrobution.

        There is also another very valuable lesson for the bands and labels to learn:

        If an end user would rather get their content at no cost from a piracy website than get the same content at no cost from legitimate channels, then that means:

        The label is offering an inferior product to the pirated version.

        Whether it is service, selection, convenience, trust, or all of the above, the labels need to wake the fuck up and realize that only one thing will ever beat piracy, and that is quality...delivering a quality product every fucking step of the way. People simply will not shell out cash for anything less. No DRM. No PC-incompatible discs. No opt-out marketing bullshit.

        Sell the product people want, how they want it, and when they want it, and you'll make money hand-over-fist. Look at iTunes.
    • by OECD (639690)

      Instead of sugared-up theories about why this happened, it's possible that the model simply won't work.

      How can it not work? If anybody pays (or rather, if enough people pay to cover hosting costs) it's a win for the band. The model isn't about selling music, it's about using music as promotion. Smaller bands (some, like the Crimea, only a bit smaller) have been doing this for years. Even the 'name your price' angle isn't new.

      The real model is to make your nut off the other stuff--concerts, merch, etc. T

      • by dedazo (737510)

        (or rather, if enough people pay to cover hosting costs) it's a win for the band

        Well that's fairly obvious, but this is not a Linux distro. Producing the music also costs money. Coming out even on the bandwidth used to distribute the music would not be enough.

        • Re:Or maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DustyShadow (691635) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:00PM (#21017899) Homepage
          Bands/artists rarely, if ever, make money on album sales. Don't let the RIAA fool you. If Radiohead was making a significant amount of money on album sales with their old label, do you think they would have changed to this new method? Most likely not. Radiohead has already succeeded on this album simply by the new found hype surrounding their music. Now when they go on tour they'll have even more sold venues and more merch sales. Artists make their millions by touring, not by selling albums.
          • Re:Or maybe (Score:5, Informative)

            by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @07:13PM (#21018785) Homepage Journal

            Bands/artists rarely, if ever, make money on album sales... Artists make their millions by touring, not by selling albums.

            Not true, or at least, not always true.

            Historically, some genres have never sold enough CDs to really make much money that way, and those bands have made their money by touring. Other genres reverse this trend -- successful pop music, in particular, rakes in the bucks through CD sales and generally breaks even or even loses money on tour. Metal has always tended to make money on touring.

            There's also a size component to this; the bigger the act the more likely they are to view touring as a promotional expense to boost CD sales, where the real money is made. The huge acts often turn their live shows into expensive extravaganzas of lighting, pyrotechnics, sets and costumes that make touring a net negative. The guy that managed U2 for Island records told me that their 1997 "PopMart" tour lost about 50,000 UK pounds per show, but that it was well worth it because of the effect on CD sales. Smaller acts are more careful about what they spend on their shows, and they work harder to push merchandise sales at shows (especially t-shirts, which for metal bands have historically been a major source of income).

            It all comes down to questions of CD sales volume, concert attendance and the details of contract negotiations which determine how much of the take from the various enterprises goes to the band. You can't really make any kind of strong statements about how musicians make their money, because it varies too much.

            That said, my expectation is that in the future even acts that currently make most of their money from CD sales will have to shift to a performance-driven approach.

            My information, BTW, comes from a six-month stint designing a royalty-calculation engine for Universal Music. While there I spent lots of time talking with guys who negotiated and managed band contracts and payments from the label side.

        • by Idaho (12907)

          Well that's fairly obvious, but this is not a Linux distro. Producing the music also costs money.


          Yes, in contrast to the creation of a Linux distribution, which doesn't cost any money and doesn't take any effort.

          Errrr, right.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shmlco (594907)
        "If anybody pays (or rather, if enough people pay to cover hosting costs) it's a win for the band."

        By that logic if your boss pays you anything at all for your work, say $5 for the entire week, then it's a "win".

        Just because you make a few breadcrumbs doesn't make it worth doing fulltime.
    • by hedwards (940851)
      I'd say that it's still too soon to call this a failure. There are any number of reasons why it is looking like this. I used to always use a pirated serial number for windows, even though I had a legitimate copy. The main reason being convenience, it was more convenient to crack it than it was to remember where that disc was and then type in the code.

      In this case, its hard to say why, it could be as simple as convenience, if you already are downloading through a p2p app, it is more convenient to pay $0 in t
    • People might simply want download the album "for free" to decide if the album is worth it. And how much it is worth to them. Likely most people have downloaded the music first, some have decided they dont like it and yet others bought the album for what they thought it was worth.

      And if the band gets more money out of this model then by a deal with a record company this is working.
    • by bramp (830799)
      I just brought the album to see how it was encoded. It was in 160kbps CBR, and it appears to have been encoded with LAME 3.93 (which I think was released in 2002). Now I'm sure the pirated copy will be 192kbps VBR encoded with a version of LAME released this year. If I was more of a audiophile I might care more. Maybe the producers should have followed standard scene rules [aboutthescene.com] for releasing mp3s.
  • by athloi (1075845) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:19PM (#21017305) Homepage Journal
    Terms of the contract allow the user to specify no payment value and still download. Piracy is theft. Offering an item at optional cost does not allow for it to be stolen.
    • by vidarh (309115)
      Piracy is copyright infringement, not theft. Unless the work was explicitly distributed with a license that allowed redistribution it is just as much infringement to copy a work you got for free as one you paid for.

      You are only right that it cannot be stolen because copyright infringement and theft are two entirely separately legal issues.

    • by Svartalf (2997) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:26PM (#21017409) Homepage
      Uh... You're still conflating things that aren't supposed to be.

      Piracy, as the term is applied to Protected Works is properly called "Infringement" and should be referred to as such. Theft implies that one is deprived of the item so stolen- there is no such thing going on with Infringement.

      Now, having said this, I wish Forbes would fscking QUIT calling things like this "piracy" as you're dead on right
      in everything else- if the deal was, you can download it for nada, etc. you aren't actually infringing.
    • That is true, but in the interest of striking a blow against the MAFIAA distribution models and out of respect for the band one should offer to pay *something* for downloading the album, even if that is only one dollar. If the album is worth zero dollars then why are those people downloading it? Are they trying to say that they derive zero dollars worth of entertainment value from listening to the album? If that is the case then why listen? At the very least, people should explain why they cannot afford to
  • Perhaps people just didn't want to overload their servers?

    If I had no intention of paying, but wanted a copy, I might have downloaded it off of a torrent just so that their server didn't have to give me the whole thing.

    I'm getting it off some random schmucks and contributing *my* bandwidth towards serving their songs up. Seems like a possible explanation to me anyway.

    They don't get to add another number to their "people who downloaded from us" but their server costs go down somewhat.
    I dunno if it's malevol
    • by Vancorps (746090)

      I'm seeding Ubuntu and Gentoo this very moment.

      I don't think most people are that conscious of it though in regards to Radiohead. It's still easier and much faster to get it from a torrent rather than traditional download technologies. It makes total sense and they should have just charged people for a tracker and use BT anyways which would have lowered their operational costs while providing the same service.

      The real question should be, how much money did they make in profit? Was it worthwhile? Would m

    • by Firethorn (177587)
      Perhaps people just didn't want to overload their servers?

      I've done this before. When they released the first C&C as freeware, I initially went to download it from the site. After seeing the download proceed at 1kbps, I found a torrent of it, which gave me ~200kbps.
  • That's the price they pay for being the first to try this. Bittorrent is less expensive, faster (often), more convenient and less restrictive that a lot of the other methods. So even the album was free, one might still prefer to use via a torrent indexer.
    • by Smidge204 (605297)
      I think what would really help is some mechanism to ensure a payment is received before you can connect to a BT tracker. Similar to some trackers that require registration, but a step up to ensure you have paid for that particular file. As an incentive to seed, offer some sort of rebate or shop credit for seeding to a certain ratio.

      This way, BitTorrent can be used in a more direct and obvious method for legitimate content distribution, the seller saves a some bandwidth and the customer gets what they want w
  • I Bought the DiscBox (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:21PM (#21017331) Journal
    I bought the disc box for ~$80 USD. Not because I thought it was a great album but because I wanted to support this model. The album is ok from what I've heard on MPR but it's growing on me.

    I was curious so I asked around at work, it sounds like people are pay around four or five pounds ($8-$10). And I'm glad that I haven't had to guilt trip anyone into paying for it. Although, everyone I work with does receive a decent paycheck. I hope that by buying the discbox and encouraging people to buy it, it offsets the poorer people and the college kids. Having been in both those places, I sympathize heavily with them.

    But, I hope that with writing, music & software people will realize how easy it is to disseminate the product and more will open up to the model of charging very little to touch millions instead of charging millions to reach very little.

    I hope the shipping of the discbox goes better for Radiohead than it did for Prince. I can't wait to get my hands on that vinyl. I don't care what you say, it feels good to 'own' something even though the rights and definitions of that seem to deteriorate daily.
  • by rkanodia (211354) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:22PM (#21017339)
    inrainbows.com was more or less useless for 2-3 days after the release. I did end up buying a copy for a few dollars, but it was much, much faster to just download the damn thing off of BitTorrent.
    • by Svartalf (2997)
      Aaaand, I suspect that this was the MAIN reason why it was BitTorrented instead of DLed from their site.

      But then, asking for Journalistic Integrity from Forbes (they let Dan Lyons spew his rubbish, right?) is
      like asking the poo flingers on /. to not post.
  • by knarf (34928) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:23PM (#21017363) Homepage
    I actually tried to buy the album. I entered all the sensitive data the site told me to, only to be presented with an empty order. It is still unclear to me whether my card will be charged or not as I clicked the OK (or whatever it was called) button to proceed with the transaction, but I have not received any details about how and where to download the album. Needless to say I did not try again as I do not want to be charged several times for something I might not even get. Yes, charged - I told them I'd pay 5 UKP for the album. Not a lot but a lot more than they'd get through the label...

    I have not downloaded the album in any other way yet. There might be others with the same experience out there who decided that the hassle of going through the official channel was not worth the effort - a regular P2P download is still a lot easier.
    • I actually tried to buy the album. I entered all the sensitive data


      And that's where I stopped, at the enter the sensitive data part. Why not use Paypal? Having to register with yet another online entity - secure.xurbiaxendless.com - is a definite turn-off.

      It's too bad, my girlfriend is a big radiohead fan and wanted it for her birthday. She got the new Feist album instead. I'll wait for the plastic disc to turn up in the stores.
  • by croddy (659025) * on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:24PM (#21017381)

    'The industry, rather than embracing digitalization and the opportunities it brings for promotion of product and distribution through multiple channels, has stuck its head in the sand. Radiohead's actions are a wake-up call which we should all welcome and respond to with creativity and energy.'"
    Translation:

    Please, pretty please, please come back. EMI loves you. EMI is your friend. We miss you guys! Just another little contract, one short one! Please? Just sign it? Please? Pretty please?
    • Please, pretty please, please come back. EMI loves you. EMI is your friend. We miss you guys! Just another little contract, one short one! Please? Just sign it? Please? Pretty please?

      NO.

      Ah... that felt SOooo GoooOOd! :D Let me say it again.

      NO!

      :D~~
  • Convenience is key (Score:5, Informative)

    by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:25PM (#21017395)
    Radiohead refused to release their music anywhere but their own web site. None of the major stores, physical or digital have access to it yet. And the 800lb gorilla of digital sales, iTunes, will never have access to it as long as Apple demands customers be allowed to download at least some tracks ala carte while Radiohead demands their music be sold only in full albums.

    On the other hand, their music was presumably available as usual at all the normal pirate hang outs.

    This isn't rocket science folks.

    On another note, I do have to wonder about the context of the sensationalized claim that "more copies of the album were pirated than [legally] downloaded". Isn't that true for practically _every_ album released in the last decade?
  • If I and 6 others download a full album off of radiohead's site, radiohead has to pay for the bandwidth. If I download it from radiohead's site(as I was about to do; I have hatched a plan with kurzweilfreak(am I confusing you with someone else?) to get their box set with vynil in the not too distant future, may as well hear what it sounds like first) --- and then upload it to 6 others, the result is pretty much exactly the same, only they save themselves some money. How is this piracy, exactly -- I'm savi
  • Summary Title? (Score:2, Informative)

    by smaddox (928261)
    The article clearly states that the number of pirated copies was less than half that of non-pirated copies... Why such a blatant mistake?

    Anyways, I didn't pirate it because my friend put it on my USB stick for me (fair use).

    I'm glad they (supposedly) found a way to cut out the middleman, though. The more money that goes to the creators, the better. If I wasn't a poor student, I would be glad to give them some.

    I guess they'll just have to wait till they go on tour near where I live.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:54PM (#21017815)

      Anyways, I didn't pirate it because my friend put it on my USB stick for me (fair use).

      I'm a strong proponent of fair use, meaning I fight against any attempt to eliminate the user's right to make a backup copy or do time-shifting of broadcast content. I donate to EFF and write my congresscritters.

      But having your friend copy his paid-for album onto your USB stick isn't fair use in any sense that I understand (legal or ethical).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "Anyways, I didn't pirate it because my friend put it on my USB stick for me (fair use)."

      No it's not "fair use", it's "casual piracy".
      People (such as yourself) that claim such activity is "fair use" give "fair use" a bad name.
  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:29PM (#21017455) Homepage Journal
    ...if a lot of people "pirated" it, as long as enough people pay for it. Since they are selling direct, one person who coughs up $5.00 is akin to probably 100 people buying an RIAA CD, as far as money in Radiohead's pocket goes. They could have TONS of unpaid for copies circulating, and still make more than selling CDs through the media cartel.
    • by brjndr (313083)
      So just because fewer people pirate with this model than with CD based sales, Radiohead is just supposed to accept the piracy?
      • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:08PM (#21017983) Homepage Journal
        Yes. I could argue the wrongness of practically perpetual copyright and how accepting THAT is immoral, etc... but I don't have to.

        Hundreds of millions of people have the capability of getting a copy, without taking one from someone else, without spending a cent, without investing any materials, without incurring any risk. With less effort than wiping their ass. Asking them to pay for this nebulous thing they can have without cost to themselves or anyone else is essentially appealing to their sense of charity. Some will give, some won't. It has to be accepted because its inevitable.

        You can hate the fact that the earth revolves around the sun. You can refuse to accept it. But its still going to happen without fail and there's not a damned thing you can do about it.

        You're better off accepting it and enjoy the ride and save your sanity. Which appears to be what Radiohead has done, since they are ACCEPTING people offering NOTHING and still letting them download it.

  • 500k1200k? (Score:5, Informative)

    by carbon16 (1108819) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:30PM (#21017477)
    The /. headline is bogus. From TFA:

    Over the following days, the file was downloaded about 100,000 more times each day--adding up to more than 500,000 total illegal downloads.
    and

    That's less than the 1.2 million legitimate online sales of the album reported by the British Web site Gigwise.com.
    I can understand the "rushing-to-post-firsters" not R'ing TFA, but the editors? Come on guys, help us help you.
  • by cascino (454769) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:33PM (#21017507) Homepage
    Headline: "Name-Your-Cost Radiohead Album Pirated More Than Purchased."

    Quote from article:

    On the first day that Radiohead's latest became available, around 240,000 users downloaded the album from copyright-infringing peer-to-peer BitTorrent sources, according to Big Champagne, a Los-Angeles-based company that tracks illegal downloading on the Internet. Over the following days, the file was downloaded about 100,000 more times each day--adding up to more than 500,000 total illegal downloads.

    That's less than the 1.2 million legitimate online sales of the album reported by the British Web site Gigwise.com. But Eric Garland, Big Champagne's chief executive, says illegal file-sharing is likely to overtake legal downloads in the coming weeks...

  • Actually, this demonstrates some problems with the approach: for instance, it adds yet another place one needs to look for content. Whether good or not, the Pirate Bay successfully consolidates where one looks for media.

    No need to look all over the place. I haven't tried to purchase the release, but I wonder what sort of server they are running. Could it handle the traffic? Bittorrent might be the logical approach.

    Maybe they should have released directly to bittorrent with a 5 second "share-sic" ad bef
  • by is as us Infinite (920305) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:34PM (#21017535)
    ... about piracy of albums that weren't released with a user-pricing model? I want to know how many times other albums are downloaded comapared to purchased.

    I know that Trent Reznor has publicly stated that he knows his latest album, Nine Inch Nails' 'Year Zero' was pirated a lot, and that he was happy people were listening to it, but unhappy about the albums pricing schemes and that he himself (and the musicians, audio engineers, etc. who made the album) didn't get much money from the album.

    I'll bet Radiohead get more money from this than any of their other albums, despite the fact that the total amount of money made may be lower...
  • In my mind, the real test of how successful this experiment is depends entirely on the total amount of money ultimately made, not how many legal downloads (with zero or non-zero price paid), not how many bittorrent downloads, not even the average amount paid. If the band's take is higher or equal to their last album I think you can say it was a success. The key thing is that with the record companies out of the loop, you would probably only need to pull in about $1-2 per legal download to match a traditiona
    • by ZoneGray (168419)
      >> depends entirely on the total amount of money ultimately made

      Exactly. And that's what the record industry has just never been able to figure out. Not that their task is easy. But ultimately, an artist doesn't (shouldn't) care whether he sells 1,000,000 at ten cents or 100,000 at a dollar. But they haven't really figured out how to charge ten cents effectively, and... oh fuck, we all know by now how clueless they are. The main point being that fighting piracy only helps them sell more downloads
  • Pre-Order (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pallazzio (974406) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:35PM (#21017545) Homepage
    The moment I heard about this, I gave them 5 pounds and got myself on the pre-order list. Then when the 10th rolled around, I got an email with a link to my copy and it worked painlessly. I applaud Radiohead for this bold move, I've been saying for years that this is how it should be done. This was the first album I've paid for in years. Thank you Radiohead for ushering in the beginning of the end for the big record labels and all of their douchebaggery.
  • First of all, TFA says no such thing as the summary.

    Second, Radiohead reports taking an average sales price of around $8/album, even factoring in the people offering $0.00 for it.

    Third, Radiohead gets that whole $8, minus hosting (promotion and engineering always come out of the artists' share of the pie anyway). That makes this a wildly successful endeavor, considering that your typical top-40 artist makes the equivalent of an upper middle class income (in the $200k range, IIRC).



    As a disclaimer, I
  • "You will be annihili .. annihiliga .. ann .. damn ! WHO wrote this script ?! A 5 year old ???"

    Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah on ending sequence in Star Control 2.
  • Here's an idea. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ant P. (974313) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:46PM (#21017701) Homepage
    Why didn't they just put a torrent tracker on the official site? The bandwidth overload problem is _exactly_ what BT was designed to solve.
  • Maybe it's because there were significant download delays. For people who weren't going to pay anyway $0 $0 + hassle. And Radiohead should be happy; they didn't have to pay for the download bandwidth of freeloaders.
  • And then the artist gets half the cost of the DVD or CD on average.

    But if it's name your cost, some people might have thought free.

    Besides, even free is not free - you pay a TAX for music copying and artist recompense on every blank CD-R/W or DVD-R/W you buy.
  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @05:52PM (#21017793) Homepage Journal
    That's about ten US dollars, and is far more than they would have received had they sold me a CD in the traditional way.

    I wanted to encourage them, and to send a message to other musicians that offerring music for direct download will definitely benefit them.

    I compose for and play the piano, and offer my recordings for free download from my website - see my sig. I get a couple thousand downloads a month. My aim in offerring my music for free is to build up a fan base, so that in a few years, when I start playing professionally, there will be lots of people who know my music and will be tickets to my concerts.

  • Upon reading that Radiohead was allowing folks to set their own price for the download, I went to their website and paid £2 (with their service charge it came out to $4.99). The registration was somewhat intrusive (they want your phone number, but I falsified that part). The songs are in 160kbps and downloaded quickly. I didn't see any other comments on here saying "It works", so count this one as proof.
  • I think this and Apple's iTunes success stories indicate something that the record companies have never thought about. It's not that--outside of a very small number of people--that people want to pirate music. What they want is convenience: the convenience to download it and load it on their favorite device with little hassle.

    What people in the music industry and the software development industries forget is that inconvenience is as much a price to pay as is actual money. Different people may place a differ
  • by morari (1080535) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:09PM (#21017999) Journal
    Was there an option for them to pay me to listen?
  • Samples of songs? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AgNO3 (878843) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:44PM (#21018473) Homepage
    I would pay something if I could hear it first but I haven't heard one song on the new album so I am not willing to put in a number. But I am also not downloading the album

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

Working...