Radiohead find online success by snubbing iTunesMikey 2 comments
A couple of months ago, Radiohead did something that upset a lot of music industry people. And good on them. Instead of making their new album 'In Rainbows' available on the popular iTunes music service, Thom Yorke and Co. instead made it available on their own web site, for the princely sum of 'what ever you feel like'.
A great album (as all Radiohead albums are!) and you could pay 1 dollar or 30 dollars or more, what ever you felt comfortable spending. So how did this work out for them? Yorke says 'In Rainbows' made more money than "all the other Radiohead albums put together, forever". Wow. Given Radiohead's immense popularity it may be difficult to consider that a fair assessment, but other artists are also starting to question the 'traditional' online distribution methods.
It may be the start of a new trend where artists opt out of iTiunes and other online music stores, as despite the relatively low overhead associated with online distribution (no packaging, shipping etc...), some artists are finding they are making less money.
Ars Technica has some interesting commentary on the current situation with comments from artists like Thom Yorke and Weird Al Yankovic. According to York:
"Don't sign a huge record contract that strips you of all your digital rights, so that when you do sell something on iTunes you get absolutely zero. That would be the first priority."