Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Radiohead: Give, Give, Give It Away

One month after the launch of pay-what-you-like for In Rainbows by Radiohead and the numbers are rolling via ComScore (SCOR).

Its a mixed bag of results. According to the numbers, 38% of users who downloaded the album globally chose to pay a weighted average of $2.26 per album (this factors in all the freeloaders).

In the United States we were more likely to not only pay for the album (40% paid something), but we paid more per All Downloads of the album too ($3.23 average).

To these results I am not too surprised. The United States has a very active bit-torrent community and the ease of finding online music has only been made easier by the advent of music exploration programs (Hype Machine, Pandora, Last.fm). However, we live in the United States and to that we owe the MPAA's and RIAA's trenches of lawyers fighting the uphill battle against piracy. Foreigners are not held to the same illegal downloading laws that we face in the US. We are conditioned to pay for the right to view movies and listen to music.

Its admirable that Radiohead took this step forward towards battling online piracy. If for no other reason to piss off record label execs, Radiohead has shown that people are willing to pay for free music. Their cult of followers can only grow stronger through better music and greater customer service. The right of the artist to produce 2 good songs and 10 songs of filler is over.


Josh said...

Interesting facts, Kristian; and plausible hypothesis.

It'd be interesting to break down the data by another demographic in addition to nationality such as age, income level, and political affiliation. Perhaps the fans in the US are overall more wealthy on average than the typical fan in the world. It may turn out that the global average of $2.26 paid for an album may be a higher percentage of total disposable income than the $3.23 is for the average US income.

Or maybe there are comparably more conversative (religiously or politically) fans in the US than in the world and they feel obligated morally or ethically to pay more.

What do you think?