back to article Radiohead diss freetards

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has said the band will not be repeating its In Rainbows experiment which allowed fans to download the album at a price of their choice - allegedly nothing, in most cases. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Yorke said: "I think it was a one-off response to a particular situation. Yes. It was a one- …

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3. Profit!

I heard - in an interview with Mr Yorke himself, rather than from a bloke in the pub - that the average price that people chose to pay for the album was £1.10 or so. After the record company profits^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hdistribution costs are removed from tradition sales, they receive about a quid.

So 'giving something away' earns 10% more profit for the artist than selling it.

However I'm sure smaller bands without Radiohead's clout could get away with this.

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Diss?

I've read it several times now and I'm still looking for the quote from Thom saying anything at all related to "Freetards". But you have done your job El Reg as your entire motivation for the headline was to diss Radiohead and the headline adequately covers your scope in that respect.

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Paris Hilton

Paid a fiver

I paid £5 for the album, being the honest person I am. I have to say I don't really like the album, its not grown on me much and I don't think its worth a fiver. However as a huge fan of radiohead I will, no doubt, buy the next album anyway!

Paris - cause she's a fan of many musicians (in hotel rooms).

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Ash

Rank this story...

... down.

At what point did Radiohead in any way speak in a derogatory fashion of their fans? ANY of their fans?

They can choose to distribute their music however they see fit, just as I can choose not to buy it. Them choosing the old model of CD album sales doesn't mean they specifically wish to insult the demographic who downloaded the album.

Non story.

P.S. Ghosts I-IV was a pile of shite. 3 decent tracks, 33 instrumental filler. The only saving grace was I got those 3 tracks in FLAC for $5. Better than a single CD.

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Pirate

Free as in NIN

Something which every article mentioning the NIN Ghosts release seems to forget is that the entire album was released under a creative commons license, such that there is no legal or moral stigma attached to passing it on (in whatever format, lossless or otherwise.) That goes much further than Radiohead's little experiment, and doesn't seem to have hurt Mr Reznor's sales...

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Not quite

"you have done your job El Reg as your entire motivation for the headline was to diss Radiohead"

No, their entire motivation was to diss people who reckon music should be free with artists' living costs paid for by [err, mumble mumble mumble], using Radiohead as a stick to beat them with.

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Anonymous Coward

quality

Radiohead would have been better served offering the (actually non free as even if you chose to pay the band zero there was still an administration fee) download at a better bitrate (and preferably in a choice of formats).

Qulaity of the downlaod was acceptable for use on an MP3 player with el cheapo headphones, but not very good if you wanted to listen to it on a sound system with decent headphones / speakers.

I assume many people felt they had to buy the CD just to get a version of the album at a reasonable sound quality (note quality as in bit rate, as musicality is a wholly subjective thing that is nothing to do with this post).

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Stop

Pay what you like vs average

Right from the start (and I've said as much here on a couple of occassions) I wasn't capable of deciding how much the album was worth before I downloaded a copy, so I (naturally) put £0.00 as my download price.

Had I really enjoyed it, I would then have gone back and paid a fiver, which would have come out as £2.50 on average over my two "purchases". Actually, given the number of times my download crashed, it could have been more like £1.22, or even £1 on average.

However, I didn't like it enough to justify paying for a low bitrate MP3 and I am now thinking of buying the CD.

The figures are totally useless, because we have precious little valid data to compare them against.

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Rob

indeed

higher bitrate would have been nice, I too paid for in rainbows, I think about 5 or 6 quid! I've only listened to it a few times, its no OK Computer is it? (Yes I know at least they're not sticking to the same formula but unfortunately their direction leaves me increasingly cold) I bought Ghosts too, which I was much more impressed with (higher quality, well produced, different pics embedded in the files, I thought was a nice touch, made the whole thing feel more cohesive, , £2.50!) unfortunately though the first few tracks were very promising, toward the end it starts to sound like they've been stuck in that studio for a bit too long and just want to get it over with, so they've just stuck any old loops with some distorted old arpeggiated synth through a vocoder

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Pirate

Money

I paid 10 quid for the download, whose quality was appalling, but paid nothing for the FLAC version of the proper release. Does that make me a freetard or not?

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Linux

Other ways

Had radiohead only done a CD version, I doubt I would have bought it - let alone listened to it. Last time I bought a NEW cd was many years ago. (2nd hand ones often)

After hearing Rainbows - I'm off to watch them play a gig in Glasgow later this year (with a few m8s) So the money they are getting out of me , shouldn't be confined to the download price.

Tux , cause Im glad the download wasn't windows or apple DRM.

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Unhappy

Ripped off

Despite being a huge Radiohead fan, I feel totally ripped off by them. I was impressed with their "ditch the record label, embrace digital distribution" stance when the album was first announced. I went to the site and paid full album price, happy that the money would be going directly to the band, instead of lining the pockets of some worthless music biz exec.

When the download finally finished, I was left with a bunch of crap quality MP3s and no artwork. (I don't even like the album much, but that's irrelevant). As if that wasn't bad enough, Thom subsequently appeared to be saying that everyone with any sense would be buying the CD release anyway. I don't want a worthless piece of plastic taking up space on my shelf, when all of my music listening happens through the PC that's connected to the stereo in my lounge.

I've always had a lot of respect for the Radiohead guys, both as people and as musicians. The former has pretty much evaporated now, and I'm sad to say the latter is on the way out too.

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Alert

boxtard

never mind free downloads, when will they stop selling physical CD's in these horrible cardboard foldy cases. Is it too much to ask for my album in a jewel case???? IS IT?

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Experiment

Whatever your opinions on the bands involved Radiohead and NiN have shown what can be possible using the Internet. As the first people to try out new ideas I commend them, even if they didn't necessarily come up with the ideal formula.

I'm a fan of both Radiohead and NiN. I paid £5 for the Radiohead album (including fee). I like the album. I also paid for the lossless files from NiN. I'm not so keen on that one.

If every album was released at the £5 mark I would buy loads of them. As it is with the rip-off cost of albums these days I buy very few.

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Gav
Unhappy

Laughable Logic

Robin above says; "the average price that people chose to pay for the album was £1.10 or so. After the record company profits^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hdistribution costs are removed from tradition sales, they receive about a quid.

So 'giving something away' earns 10% more profit for the artist than selling it."

This is the kind of laughable logic that The Registrar is attacking. Selling it for £1.10 does not mean £1.10 profit and removing a record company from the equation doesn't magically remove production costs. Once we subtract all them, and subtract personal expenses, you can be sure the bottom line profit enjoyed by the artist is less that £1.

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Alert

becasue its required

so not 'web only' means dissing freetards.. I think Mr Haines needs to go back to reading class... Saying people still want the physical obect for the shelf is in no way 'dissing freetards' read it again 'will not repeat web ONLY'

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Anonymous Coward

marketing and publicity

the "honesty sales" approach wasnt a new pardigm and wasnt meant to provide a decent income!

what it did do is generete far more publicitiy than radiohead, or company or record company could have economically bought!

hence huge buzz an interest.....

it would be interesting to see how it stacks up for final "physical" CD sales opposed to a traditional marketing campaign!? - apparently they still sold bucket laods of sliver disks?

plus they now have a huge database of intereseted souls, who will not doubt have the benefit of receiving many more e-mails of interest than before.

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Thumb Up

NIN Release Model Works

Hats off to Reznor and the NIN boys. I paid $5 for Ghosts in FLAC format, and regardless of the creative commons licesnse, this model works. I would have paid £5 but then I am not going to know a new double album for £3.22 (according to PayPal) in my lifetime so I shant grumble...

It is the perfect solution to cutting out the middleman. If I loved the album, I might get the CD, but even then there's a nice PDF of the artwork in the download and pretty much everything I want.

This is the only way to go. It respects the people who buy the music, and doesn't treat them like idiots by giving a good quality product. iTunes et al don't delivery this. Maybe if you 79p gave you a lossless file things would be different, but still not value for money.

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@Gav

I'm not sure you're right - there was an interview on Radio 1 with a couple of the guys from Radiohead recently, and as far as I remember, they stated flat out that they made more money per download than they did out of normal CD sales.

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This post has been deleted by its author

It was a con first time around

The first time people bought it because it was a collective "look people/we are honest. People/We won't simply download and not pay" to the record companies however Tom Yorke knows that if no one is watching then no one will bother paying this time around.

Radiohead where able to make a nice little profit and claim it was some altruistic gesture.

As for the statement that people want physical media, yea because downloads currently aren't at a high enough quality and also because they need them for backups so they can transfer them to any medium. There's nothing romantic about it however if a person had the choice between downloaded proper CD quality un-DRM files and a CD at twice the price then they'll choose to download and make their own backups.

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Ben
Thumb Up

Thumbs up for the album product spectrum

I hadn't bought any of their stuff since 'OK Computer', but when I read good reviews of 'In Rainbows' I decided to buy it on CD. I ended up liking it so much that I decided to get the 180g vinyl version as well, which actually sounds a lot better.

I think it's great that we can get such a wide spectrum of price, quality, convenience and sense of ownership for an album these days, and Radiohead have pushed this even further than normal with their deluxe edition versus their honesty box download. It's true that it's unlikely to ever work again as a marketing exercise in quite the same way, but it's a great way of making the music available to more people of different interest levels in the format they want.

I just hope it continues to be viable to produce these heavy vinyl LP releases for those who want them, because they really are amazing.

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Silver badge

@ Laughable Logic By Gav

"you can be sure the bottom line profit enjoyed by the artist is less that £1."

You're right mate. Now you choose: you can pay 10+ quids and know that 1 quid will go to the artists (and that's for "big" bands, the lil' guys get far less), or pay 1.50 and know that they'll get 1 quid, too. If the remaining 8.50 quids are burning a hole in your pocket, you can send them directly to the Poor Major Labels' Luxury Yacht Fund. Or you can use them to finish paying your house -or not complaining about taxes. As for me, I'd use them to buy good music from small labels, who actually pay their artists AND sell their stuff at a price reflecting the costs.

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Pirate

The artist pays for recording in the end, anyway

"This is the kind of laughable logic that The Registrar is attacking. Selling it for £1.10 does not mean £1.10 profit and removing a record company from the equation doesn't magically remove production costs. Once we subtract all them, and subtract personal expenses, you can be sure the bottom line profit enjoyed by the artist is less that £1"

IIRC, from what I've read production costs are generally effectively paid for from the artist's royalties anyway. (Specifically, they're paid from the advance, and the artist's royalties initially go to repaying the advance. I think songwriting-related royalties don't, though.) Record companies work in interesting ways, and record contracts are worth less than they appear to be.

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Alert

@ The Plant by BKB

Sorry, that argument doesn't hold water. Check out the Baen Free Library at Baen Books. Read some of the things that Eric Flint (successful sci-fi author for those that don't know & the guy in charge of the library) has written there regarding this very topic. In one of the posts, Mr. Flint wrote that Mercedes Lackey saw her royalties substantially increase on books that had been published several years before by a previous publishing firm shortly AFTER adding a recent release, DRM-free book to the Free Library. As I recall, prior to adding the book to the library, royalties for both books discussed were either in a decline or had not changed in a while. These changes in royalties occured within a couple of months of adding the book to the library. BTW, it is not unusual for the Baen authors to post "snippets," sometimes totaling the first 1/3 of an unfinished book to Baen's Bar. Some of the fans love them, some hate them (I hate them - I get to read part of a great story and then I have to wait several months for the book to be released...or I have to buy the advanced reader copy...). Quite frankly, I have purchased books from a lot of authors I wouldn't have because of the books given away for FREE.

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