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Donuts and Downloads
Radiohead releasing a CD online, and nobody paying for it.
I'm kind of old school when it comes to music. I don't download songs. I just go out and buy the CDs. If I'm at a show and I like the bands new stuff, I buy it at the merch booth. If I hear a few on the radio I like, I buy the disc. Sometimes, that works splendidly.
The latest White Stripes I picked up in Starbucks. I had only heard a few songs from it, and ended up loving it. But, I bought Gnarls Barkley after only hearing two songs, and didn't like the rest of it. Same thing with The Strokes, and countless other bands.
I remember talking with Todd Rundgren before a show at the Belly Up Tavern, and he was telling me about an interactive CD he was working on, in which fans could pick how the songs would be mixed (not being a musician, it sounded rather confusing; but also, kinda cool).
I laughed when Radiohead recently announced that they would release a CD online. And you only had to pay for it if you wanted to.
I own two Radiohead CDs, and like 'em well enough. But, I figured this would be a bust. And...it was. Over 60% of the people that downloaded "In Rainbows", opted not to pay them a cent. The rest voluntarily paid an average of $6.
I remember reading a chapter in the book Freakanomics, about a guy that would buy donuts for his office, and asked everyone to chip in when they took a donut. He said there'd always be a few people that didn't.
So, the fact that most downloaded music without paying....after we've listened to Metallica, McCartney, and all those other musicians bitch about it for years, seemed obvious.