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back to article Why have Radiohead broken freetards' hearts?

As you may have heard earlier today, Radiohead's Thom Yorke says the band won't be repeating the band's digital deal which allowed users to download a version of its most recent album for free. "I don’t think it would have the same significance now anyway, if we chose to give something away again," he said, describing it as a " …

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IR

Freetards, again?

You still call them freetards, despite the fact that so many of them downloaded from the official site (which cost 45p) rather than from a torrent. Should that be 45p-tards?

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Right on

I do think that NIN has a better long term business model, but you are right. Free will never get anybody any money and that was never the plan with the In Rainbows release.

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Coldplay?

The single was crap, whereas Radiohead was ok in places.

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Silver badge

Yes, but no

Good analyse of RadioHead marketting strategy.

On the other hand, "And the real money, you'll note, is in the CD, and getting fans to pay twice. Which looks a lot like the Old Business Model to me" is completely preposterous. The crowd of freetards use "free" downloads as a preview for most of them, and they DO pay twice for the same stuff: download (Bandwith is not free, nor is storage, as anyone with half a brain should understand) and then hardcopy if the music is good. So what RH did was to allow freetards to legally do what they would have done illegally otherwise. And guess what, it worked out pretty well: they got more money, and reinforced their fan's loyalty. The "Old Business Model" that you mentioned is about trying to prevent the freetards from downloading music, and guess what, it doesn't work at all: the majors still make gazillions (though they go on crying about how much more potential money they might be doing if everyone was forced to buy their shite, like it or not), but they're loosing any form of respect or loyalty from anyone. Which ends up in "honest" people beginning to be reluctant about buying from them.

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*shrug*

From where I'm standing there wasn't any publicity-buzz around Radiohead's last online nocturnal-emission: there was more like a resounding and pervasively noncommittal shrug.

One-hit-wonders who try to manipulate the new generation of fickle, promiscuous music-purchasers for publicity are doomed to failure.

Face facts: Radiohead are not the Stones or Pink Floyd.

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Coat

@ Orson Presence

Coldplay, crap? Say it isn't so...

Mine's the one with the Kraftwerk CD in the pocket

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Excellent analysis

The In Rainbows release always struck me as a superb marketing exercise. The album was utter tripe though....

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@Orson Presence

"...Radiohead was ok in places..."

I'm just wondering where it was ok, once you'd downloaded it, in your computer maybe?

Coat, door, bye...

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Go

Face facts: Radiohead are not the Stones or Pink Floyd.

No, but they do knock out some good indie-rock stuff.

Nothing to add to this debate really - I appreciated the chance to get In Rainbows on the cheap, but I preferred the NIN release from a purchase standpoint - it was in FLAC, rather than MP3, so worth it IMHO [especially as I am rather enjoying it to kill the commuter hubbub on the tube].

There's definitely a model that can be exploited in here with regards to ultra-low cost 'teasers' in MP3 format, and then paying slightly more [say, min £3] for a FLAC version or going out and getting a hard copy.

And if they only include the 'full' versions [FLAC/high bitrate MP3/hard copy] in the charts, then all the schoolkids paying £1/album of 128kbps Pete Waterman/X-factor toss might not control the top 10 all the time - and that would put a completely irrelevant, but fun, smile back on my face.

Mines the leatehr jacket with "Rock is dead" scrawled on the back in tippex, and the Shure E110s hanging out the collar :-)

Steven R

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

45p tards

hi IR: "despite the fact that so many of them downloaded from the official site (which cost 45p) rather than from a torrent. Should that be 45p-tards?"

No, because the 45p was waived. Lots of people downloaded it for precisely 0p.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Defining "freetard"

hi Pierre -

"The crowd of freetards use 'free' downloads as a preview for most of them, and they DO pay twice for the same stuff"

I think you mean "pay once". Well, some do, but many don't. And why "should" they?

Never having to pay for music and only using the torrents saves you money which you can spend elsewhere. I've always argued that this is an entirely rational economic decision for people to make.

I also think its mean spirited - and if we all do it all the time, and our creators don't get paid, our world is a lot worse off.

So my definition of "freetard" is not someone who downloads now and again, I think most people do. It's someone who pretends there are no consequences, or that the consequences don't matter. This creates a sense of entitlement that becomes self-reinforcing, and culminates in the view that art doesn't matter, it's just another compiler switch. You can read that viewpoint pretty much everywhere.

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Anonymous Coward

Say What?

"gave the band far higher royalties than they'd gain from a physical release with a major label."

"And the real money, you'll note, is in the CD"

Well, which is it?

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Alien

Am I remembering wrongly?

I found the original story:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/01/radiohead_digital_giveaway/

so I guess not.

When the hype started, it was download /or/ luxury edition. So I paid a couple of quid for the download & felt a bit ripped off when the (normal) CD was announced. Only purchasing from a Hong Kong based retailer prevented the total cost exceeding what I would have paid for a CD anyway a few years ago.

Incidentally I have noticed now that as I am buying more limited edition vinyl singles/EPs from small labels, I then get the (drm-free) download from iTunes+ because I can't remember how long it is since I've had a record player!

Martian 'cos maybe he has a rational explanation for this behaviour.

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Freetards

"I think you mean "pay once""

No, twice. One (small) sum for the bandwith and storage needed to get the ripped version -the artists don't get the money, right, but they don't get much from the CD sales either, to be honest) . And one, often ridiculously large, pile of cash for the hardcopy. Some probably don't, but many do. Why do they do that? Because it's nice to get the artwork, a reasonably safe support, and a good sound quality. All things that you don't get from a ripped mp3. Some also do it out of loyalty of course.

But because it's quite obvious that the money you pay for a legal CD mainly DOESN'T go to the creators (and the larger the label, the worst the situation), less and less people think that they should have to pay at all. Which is a pity, but the situation was created, and is worsened every day, by the MPAA, RIAA and the like.

Who can feel guilty when the people who try to make you feel guilty for "stealing" music are the same who stopped bothering about music or art 10 years ago and are now only making big bucks out of it, like they would do with cotton, cacao and coffee, with the same results for the actual creators? The "and if we all do it all the time, and our creators don't get paid, our world is a lot worse off." argument will stand when the big labels who are making all this huff will actually pay the artists, sell the music at a price reflecting their costs, and -one can dream- allow new talents to bloom instead of "producing" only preformated crap and recklessely trying to crush indie labels and autoproduced artists by blocking the distribution channels.

Disclaimer: I do own around 500 legally bought CDs, many of which I wouldn't even know about if I hadn't dowloaded them (legally and -shame- illegally sometimes).

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Heart

Categoricalimperativetards...

... if you prefer.

'Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law,' says Kant.

'Can't some else do it?' ask the 'tards.

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And teh real money you'll note...

"Contractually free of their deal with EMI, the band signed with Beggars Group indie label XL"

"the music business' practice of getting us to pay for the same record twice" complaint still stands. Radiohead/Beggars gave us a choice

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Anonymous Coward

@ Andrew Orlowski

"So my definition of "freetard" is not someone who downloads now and again, I think most people do. It's someone who pretends there are no consequences, or that the consequences don't matter. This creates a sense of entitlement that becomes self-reinforcing, and culminates in the view that art doesn't matter, it's just another compiler switch. You can read that viewpoint pretty much everywhere."

But you're making a rather strong assumption that it also isn't harmless.

Prior to MP3s coming of age I only ever listened to the radio and bought a mere 2 music CDs, since MP3s came of age (a vastly shorter time period) I've bought 5 CDs. I'm not suggesting that MP3s made me more than double my CD purchases or anything, I'm just saying that I don't really ever pay for music at all anyway.

Many of us simply wont pay for music no matter what, if the RIAA managed to whipe MP3s off the net tommorrow I'd simply go back to listening to the radio be less inclined to hand them money for CDs than ever before.

It's not like I even download music much now anyway other than the very rare odd track I'm quite content with a lot of my music dating back to the 90s.

Perhaps I'm a special case but really, do you honestly think that everyone that downloads would pay for music? When we have so much free access to music via the radio, TV and so on and always have do you truly think every downloader is a potential purchaser did they not have the option to download? Downloading isn't some alternative way of saving money as you're suggesting, it's just a way to get music free that I'd get anyway in a slightly more convenient form, I'd rather lose the convenience and go back to the radio than keep the convenience and pay money to a horribly corrupt industry regardless. Even then I'm not going to pretend that I'm not willing to pay them due to some moral crusade against their corruption, at the end of the day music just simply isn't that important to me and that's what it comes down to - nice to have if you can get it, but not worth paying for.

I really do doubt very much that I'm alone, I believe the number of others with this indifference to music are probably quite numerous and well represented in the set of people that download music and if that's the case then again I'd question the validity of the argument that there's ever going to be any way of making money from music out of people like me. A better choice is to focus on those that would pay, the real fans who are willing to go to concerts, and here's a novel idea, rather than work only a few days a year and do only a few concerts perhaps musicians should consider performing a little more frequently to rack up their profits and at the same time solve the age old problem of ticket touts by making sure there are enough tickets and events available to void the ability to tout in the first place.

Honestly, if I really wanted some music and had no other choices than to pay at very least I'd just fire up guitar hero and actually interact with the music.

Regarding the freetards thing I completely agree with the above posters about how stupid a term it is. Should we start referring to you as Regtards each time The Register posts an idiotic story which in recent years has become ever more common?

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tim

OH NOES!

This has totally broken my heart. Therefore i will never buy any kind of product and or service ever again since one tiny little thing that sucked but was free isn't free anymore.

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Re: Defining "freetard"

"So my definition of "freetard" is not someone who downloads now and again, I think most people do. It's someone who pretends there are no consequences, or that the consequences don't matter."

That's fair enough, but the way you use you give the impression that your referring to anyone who doesn't swear allegiance to the RIAA. How about this - Paytard: someone who happily pays a vastly inflated price to a dodgy cartel who will quite literally sue your grandmother.

The difference between In Rainbows and the NIN model is that Trent Reznor is actually offering a range of products at different price points. Radiohead just managed to find a crafty way to scam people into paying for their advertising.

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Anonymous Coward

Still rather just get the CD

Even with so called "free" downloads on offer, I preferred the physical product for £8 or less, DRM free with artwork and that I can rip to lossless FLAC at the best quality I can get short of SACD/DVD-A or some HD audio format that no one bothers with (or dare I say even Vinyl!). Stick the FLACs on my server to stream around the house, and convert to MP3 at best quality (way in excess of the usual poor 128kbps downloads) for use on a non-Apple based MP3 player (free from iTunes crud).

Give me downloads at cheaper than £8 CD prices, at FLAC quality, together with some kind of digital packaging to make up for the lack of physical packaging (sleeve notes in PDF format perhaps?), and DRM free then I'll consider it. Until then, it's CDs for me until the iPod sheep get their way and drive all music down the quality bin with low bitrate crud to feed through their crap headphones.

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Freetard == handicapped?

Freetards is a little bit evil but it really sums some people here up so well, PLEASE keep using it.

To posters who say they are offended: you're completely missing the point - aren't you making yourselves out to be victims a bit too easily?

I find it offensive that you take offense to be honest. You can stop being a Freetard quite easily - just stop making stupid arguments, like you deserve free music, free internet etc. I'm sure you can think clearly like any one else. That's a choice you have that handicapped people (I look after one myself) do not have.

Stop comparing yourself to people who have no choice about their circumstances, and really need help to do the basic things in life.

If that's the best you can do, it's pathetic.

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Boffin

Freebooters, Pirates and Hacks with jingo terminology

I hate to say it guys but the whole "Freetard"/"Paytard" jingoism is a tad spasticated for such a reputable e-paper such as yourselves. This aside though the past five years we've been tracking the pirate trend has thrown up some useful conclusions.

Firstly people principally don't pay because they either find the cost of the product too expensive, i have ability to get things for free and therefore of course arn't going to bother paying (human nature) or they don't have the disposible income required to buy expensive cd's or even pay-per download music.

Secondly we all agree that technology has been the principle driver behind the "Freetard" revolution, even though we all also agree that we all used to copy tapes and cd's in physical form and that for most of us such a thing was not morally bankrupt. However the circumstances of the principle demographic have changed significantly. The majority of those downloading are usually firmly between the 16 - 30 and well educated age/social gap. This perticular demograhic which once had a fair amount of disposible income no longer does. Principally students which now incur huge debts and increasing rent, food prices can no longer afford to pay £16.99 a CD.

These are your typical muso's and they are not going simply give up music because they can't afford it. Seeing as they can't just pirate beer the only other thing they would tend to spend what disposible money they have on it is obviously easier to pirate music therfore thats the option. The sensible solution for music companies is to obviously give away free Homebrew alcohol kits and possibly Cannabis seeds. This would obviously then allow thier principle demograhic to re-invest in physical music sales.

Thirdly in response to this loss in its traditional demographic the music business has become paedophilic and is concentrating on churning out rubbish manufactured pop tripe to sell to the "little children" (o how they danced around stone henge). In tandem with this increase in pop tripe circa 1997 (i admit the internet didn't come into its own until circa 2000) onwards the Music labels have become increasingly belligerant towards the so-called "Freetards" this liturgical pressure upon the once prime now ex prime demographic of the labels has further alienated the labels from thier now disconnected ex prime demographic. Thus adding fuel to the "Freetards" fire.

Finally in order to squeeze as much money as possible from consumers the record companies lowered the royalty cut for all but the modonna's and u2's and and increased the high street pricing of CD's. when a cd costs 3 hours worth of earnings (based on the 5.00 - 6.00 minimum wage of the past decade) who in thier right mind would buy a CD, the truth is one artists CD is not worth 3 hours work, and for a part-timer/student (classic music lover) this is an untenable pricing scheme that has been imposed therefore further compelling them to free alternative. In this case both the consumer and the artist are getting screwed, and now also the record labels because they've gotten too greedy.

The only real solution as there is no point in crimanlising millions, but at the same time a real need to protect artists own wages we need to come up with a more community based system. The truth is people are not paying because of price and because there is a technologically simple way to get what you want for free without feeling guilty. So the solution for the artists is ride the wave, ditch the record companies start webpages, buy cheap home grade sound recording gear and instrements, get some ad banners ask for donations and see where it goes, they my not be able to drive Dodge Rams to the convience store but they will be a lot closer to thier fans, well economically anyways and then maybe they'll understand that music is not about making money. In all honesty if people have the urge to be creative they'll find away, most bands and musicians never get the fame-cash-money they just make music for the love of it. To be fair there is no way to stop the "Freetards" so the musicians will just have to join them and see if they can come up with a model tha will make sure though don't have to have day jobs.

If anyone can think of a way of stopping Downloads/Physical copying that is uncircumventable (bar murder/sociocide) then im sure the record company reps would love to hear from you !

If anyone has any idea how we can reconcile the appitite for free music and muscians rights i think all of us but the record comanpies would like to hear from you :)

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J
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Explains some...

"this is a group of canny businessmen with offshore bank accounts. And so they make hard-headed calculations, as canny businessmen should."

Explains their music, in my opinion. But there's a taste for everything...

Ah, the good ol' times when musicians were just that, and didn't waste their time doing "business"... They wasted their time doing sex, drugs and rock'n'roll (or their other genre), which was much more conductive to good creativity, it seems... <\joke>

Anyway, why the hell is the comment section open to begin with!? :-)

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Ah Choices !

How soon we forget the baby boomers paid upwards of three times for the same piece of music and Jazz lovers paid even more( from old Shellac 78's to Vinyl to Compact Cassette and then the CD version) in those halcyon days before the arrival of powerful home and portable computers could convert the music and transfer it in any form they chose including generating ring tones for their other mobile toys at the mere push of a finger !

And yet still the industry dragon was never sated , forever hungry and kept demanding more then their fair share of blood out of stone whilst figuratively allowing what seems to be cat and dog whipping grunge of singers out of tune or C! Rap to masquerade as the next generation of music to escape from the zoo as if it was a good idea at the time(didn't our parents say the same thing long ago too) ! Little wonder the market for music has declined for a number of well documented reasons reaching well over two thirds less in sales in real terms since the turn of the new century as other forms of amusement have accelerated past these old obsolete dinosaurs unable or unwilling to move with the times controlled by mindless trolls and bean counters and the push to extend copyright term limits and reach into every corner possible for the only source of income left as the lean industry killing winter looms in the closing autumn of their years !

What price a choice indeed ? , when they chose to ignore the only viable option at the close of the last century unable to see beyond their pile of beans or insatiable greed !

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JK
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Re: Right on

Agreed.

NIN was artless with what they were doing and I think it'll pay off in the long run as well. I dished out $5 for their album and I'm not even much of a fan -- but I certainly didn't regret it.

I just hope that they continue on with this method -- I think that more people will use this form of purchase as it becomes more well known, offsetting the 50/50 divide between freefuckers* who refuse to pay anything, and those who are willing to pay a fair fee for their music.

*Yes, I realize many of them probably are kids who do not have credit cards. Still, there is probably a good fraction of them who aren't kids and have the money, but still refuse. Fuckers.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

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@ Adrew O. (freetard definition - bis)

hi Pierre -

"The crowd of freetards use 'free' downloads as a preview for most of them, and they DO pay twice for the same stuff"

I think you mean "pay once". Well, some do, but many don't. And why "should" they?

Hi Adrew,

Just one couple more point:

"So my definition of "freetard" is not someone who downloads now and again, I think most people do. It's someone who pretends there are no consequences, or that the consequences don't matter."

Seems quite fair, but very easy, as you exclude a very large proportion of the "free download" users -and I maintain that no download come for free. But at the same time you use the preformatted RIAA-like argumentation, which is that DRM-free dowloads (and especially P2P networks) are robbing the artists. Which is wrong at so many levels. It should be obvious now that a few experiments by several bands (RH, NIN, and others) proved that they actually make more money with this kind of distribution. Sure, unknown artists still need a label to "launch" them, but the big guys in the music industry stopped doing that ages ago. And they are the ones suing everybody on dubious bases. And if you're wanting to download an album by an obscure band, well, I wish you luck, you'll need it. I must also say that I don't "downloads now and again", as you put it, but very heavily, legally most of the time (from Jamendo amongst others) but also illegally (though my "illegal" downloads are almost exclusively albums that I already own, as I've been moving a lot, and 480+ CDs are not precisely easy to carry around by plane. Sure, I could have encoded them, but my employeer was not willing to give me an extra holiday week for that purpose, surprisingly).

"You can read that viewpoint pretty much everywhere."

How is this supposed to prove anything? I couldn't explain shortly why I'm reading El Reg, but you can be assured that it's not to find "viewpoint[s that I could see] pretty much everywhere".

Now enjoy your scotch, lucky Brit, for as soon as the technology's available, I'm downloading entire casks of scottish amber delight. (for a proof-of-concept preview, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRL1SeTJ1rk&feature=related ).

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Boffin

Arcade Fire...

...influenced by Radiohead?

My hearing must be even worse than I thought!

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For for flips sake, enough!

Jesus wept, you'd think that NIN, RH and now bloody Coldplay were the only bands to ever put any music out for free! I have become so sick of reading "Yeah well I got the RH album but I liked NIN better." or vice-versa.

WAKE UP NOW! There is a wealth of music from dozens of genres other than the premiere shoe-gazers cum Richard Bransons or some burk with a sequencer, a PC/Mac and too much time on his hands! Yes I appreciate that with their clout they are trying something slightly above a few free tracks on MySpace, but if you really want this stuff to work get out and contact struggling bands directly, ones who will receive the money directly and will actually use to provide you with more music you really enjoy, you get the genuine satisfaction that your money is actually making a difference.

If you genuinely like the work of people like Mr Yorke and Mr Reznor, please pay them, good on you, but if you want to help free the music in the long term, start at the grass roots, get on the band sites and go to the gigs, buy the merchandise directly, please don't keep falling for gimmicks.

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Coat

air con?

"Or at least, you couldn't hum it without sounding like a faulty air conditioning unit."

Surely you mean buzzing like a fridge?

Mine's the one with the fake plastic tree in the pocket.

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Flame

@Anonymous Coward (the one without any CD's)

"Honestly, if I really wanted some music and had no other choices than to pay at very least I'd just fire up guitar hero and actually interact with the music."

You seem to forget - radio is a promotional medium to try and allow you to listen to a record before you go out and buy it. A bit like the 30-second samples in iTunes, or the last.fm playlist function.

It would be like you working for a company who perpetually pays you peanuts and tells you that it's cos you're being 'tried out' - essentially what radio is doing for the music. The artists involved in making that music make virtually nothing from radio airplay - if anything it probably costs them to plug the record - essentially it's just a big advert. Ok, there is royalties for airplay, but it's nothing compared to the money made from a live show or a CD.

So justifying not paying for music 'because it's freely available anyway' is a bit like me walking into your house and stealing your TV because you left the door open, or taking your car keys and driving off in your car because 'it's freely available'.

Imagine if you put on a concert and sold tickets, except loads of people got in for free and saw your hard work without you being rewarded for it.

I don't agree with the record companies who mint huge amounts of profit out of the music industry, the end person who has made the music is the artist - who has sat in a recording studio or wherever, painstakingly putting this music together for you to hear.

What most people don't understand is that when you buy a CD you don't automatically get the copyright of the music - you buy a 'personal licence' to listen to that music when you want to. Just read the copyright blurb on the outer edge of the CD. The artist shares that music with you, and it's your personal copy. But you don't own that music - the artist does. When you rip it and bung it up as a torrent, and let the rest of the world copy it for free, you're essentially ripping off the artist who originally made the CD, and denying them some of their income.

For those of you who say 'Boo-Hoo - they make enough anyway' - some of them do. But that doesn't make it morally right. It would be like me dipping into your bank account and taking £20 every so often because 'you make enough anyway'. Is that morally right?

Put yourself in the shoes of the fledgling artist (ignoring Radiohead for a second who did it for ego reasons cos they needed to raise their profile - the album's shite even if I did buy it on CD!) - you don't have a job, apart from your passion to write music. You decide you want to share this with the rest of the world, but you have to make some money somehow, so you sell your CD via a small distributor and you make a couple of quid. Except you realise that one of your customers has placed the album on a torrent site, and it's being downloaded by the bucketload on the net by people, but for that you don't make a penny. So you may be popular, but totally penniless because you haven't made any money.

Ok, so that's an extreme example, but it does happen.

The problem here is that this attitude has caused people like the RIAA to get nasty with the end customers, which is a bit like biting the hand that feeds you. However, if we don't buy it one way, we'll get stung in another way. The French have put a tax on blank CD-R's which goes into a pot and gets shared amongst recording artists - almost a tax on copying. More and more issues like this will pop up unless we all play fair, which probably won't happen because at heart the world's full of selfish bastards who want everything for free. Shame the economy is totally fcuked.

Note - I don't work for the music industry any more, but have loads of friends who are in bands, and I just think it's a bit shitty our attitude towards freely stealing music.

Sorry. Rant over. As you were!

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Flame

Re. Face facts: Radiohead are not the Stones or Pink Floyd.

Thank God! There's music you can really kill yourself to...

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IT Angle

gimmicks

heh.. gimmicks.. gimmicks maaan..

wars.. napalm bombs, people get burned up on tv every day and its just a gimmick..

umm yes.. we do .. <laughs>

jimi hendrix 1967

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Alien

Wasting time debating this whole issue

For a long time now people have copied and shared stuff. They always have and they always will. You can call them freetards but one way or another people will always fall into one of three categories:

1. Won't pay for owt

2. Pay for some stuff if they feel it's worth it, download some stuff that they're not that passionate about, sometimes buy stuff that they downloaded and liked.

3. Pay for everything

From my experience of talking to friends, family, work colleagues, and the odd person down the pub, most people fall into category 2.

So forget about the 1's as they won't change no matter what. And who cares about the 3's - let them spend their cash as they see fit. Oh and leave the 2's alone too as branding them criminals actually causes resentment that leads to less buying of stuff that's been downloaded.

Things are the way they are and this isn't going to change. Over and out.

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CD money

I'm always told that they don't get money from CDs. This sets off my bullshit sensor, but that's as far as it goes cause I don't know anything about this.

Orlowksi, why not explain that in an article? What's the deal?

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: "Wasting time"

Remember that MOST of the music we hear offline is "free" - yet ALL of it is paid-for.

Just because we don't put a coin in a slot every time, doesn't make us freetards and it doesn't mean the supply side isn't being rewarded.

Beware of anyone who wants you to focus solely on paying/not paying for chunks of digital music. They obviously don't want you to think about other methods of payment.

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Boffin

@ mark W

We all have big dreams in life, most of us end up working in small offices, or in manual labour, music is a hobby not an occupation. Music *was* only commercially viable when the rights holders still held the means of production and repoduction.

They no longer hold the means of repoduction and unlike the days of the tape we can now easily share millions of tracks in seconds thus pandering to the simple human need to have things for free.

The best thing for muscians to do is to do what the majority have always done, hold day jobs play for local audiences and above all get thier stuff on the net and and start there own digital distributions sites and hope people who can will donate.

I hate to be marxist about this but once you lose control over the rate and means of repoduction especially digital repoduction as a market/industry your in BIG trouble, but this economic darwinism for you, and it seems the "Freetards" are so technologically advanced and the industry can't counteract it, so in the long run its game over for commercial music. However this may mean an explosion in creativity and new music rather than the end of music if you think about it all the industry as been doing for years is restricting the range and genre of music for years and funneling crap through the to the consumer, maybe without the industry musicians will find themselves freed from commercial consideration,

On another point you made about muscians, do you think muscians that have "Made it" stop and think about how the majority of people (those who work for less than £20,000 per year) live and that one CD could mean 3 hours of thier lives in some god awful job they've ended up in ? You do of course realise the majority of muscians themselves work such jobs, as the majority of musicans arn't signed and probably never will be, they do it for the love the music and performance.

In the software world we've seen it proven that the free-software writers are more creative, more hardworking and generally produce better software when they are not restricted by protectionist companies who refuse to interoperate.

Finally why are you all soo worried about this, nature will play itself out and hopefully both artists and consumers will be better for it. Even if the industry side of music dies out there will always be music people :).

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Middle way?

There has just got to be a "middle way" that has somehow not stabilised yet amongst people who are interested in acquiring music. Nobody wants to pay artificially high prices to the labels only to see artists getting none of the money. However I don't believe most people are cynical enough to use this as a justification for freetardism in its purest form; I believe most people do care about musicians' economic welfare even if only selfishly to ensure a continuing supply of the music they like.

It would help if major talent merely published an address at which they would accept money if you cared to send it (say paypal for those that like it.) Having then downloaded the latest by Whoever you could then send them a couple of quid to ease your conscience and they would still be up on the deal in comparison to their fraction of the purchase price if you had bought their CD.

The worst impact of freetardism is upon artists other than famous musicians. I'm a dancer and it's been common for instructors to teach a routine in a class then dance it themselves at the end allowing students to video that on their phones for freeze-frame review later when practicing the same steps. Recently I've found big-name teachers are still OK with this but with more reluctance and pleading with people not to load the video onto YouTube in case it ruins sales of their instructional DVD. As cam-phone video quality improves how long before they just won't do it anymore and we have to go back to making written notes after class :(

Personally I find it's all about convenience and speed not about cost - click-download-listen beats the hell out of trying to find the CD somewhere, is it in stock, wait for it to arrive, etc. etc.

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I must be in a minority then

because although I have downloaded a few tracks (way back in the Napster days), I always, always buy stuff on CD if I care about it (and if I don't care about it, I don't buy it or download it).

I do this for three reasons; firstly because I care about how music sounds and don't want to buy an already degraded album, secondly because I want a robust full quality archive copy of my music and finally because I do care that the artists I care about continue to earn a bit of money from their art and can afford to make some more (note that I *don't* care about Radiohead).

The trouble with the freetard mentality is that the art stops to matter, it's more a case of 'I can get it for nothing, it's available, so I'll have it'. I'd bet that vast majority downloaded tracks just spend their life transiting between peered hard drives, never actually getting played.

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Silver badge

It's so ridiculous....

Andrew's beloved industry can't see the wood for the trees.

To get people pay you money you need to offer some value in return and target your product at people who have the money in the first place. The mass-produced talentless "oompa-oompa-oompa-pa" which is called "music" by the music industry is anything but. Especially in compressed, and/or DRM'ed form, injected directly into the brain through a pair of cheap disposable earphones. Neither the students and school-kids are the most affluent customer group.

If the ass.es of this world wanted to design a real business model as opposed to attempting to extort moneys on mass scale by manipulating the legal system they would have concentrated on quality of their own product.

The resources wasted on chasing grandmothers and underage downloaders would been much more effective if spent on educating kids on why a high quality recording sounds much better through a high quality system than through a boombox. Or why playing a lossy compressed MP3 on iPod connected to a pair of matchbox single-driver speakers cannot qualify as Hi-Fi.

Then, when these kids grow up and get a job they will go and buy the good quality copies of the stuff they've previously heard and liked as a freely downloaded MP3s.

But this is clearly too complicated for the simpleminded thugs from the ass.es, isn't it?

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Anonymous Coward

Comments....

Given some of the responses I can see why "No Comment" Orlowski normally turns them off...

The one thing missing is that the only reason Radiohead get away with this is that they're already big, the risky money has already been spent, and it wasn't theirs.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

@Kirk: losing control

"once you lose control over the rate and means of repoduction especially digital repoduction as a market/industry your in BIG trouble, but this economic darwinism for you"

No, creators lost this control 100 years ago when electricity was invented. They still get paid, and it still feels like free to the audience.

You're deploying the argument-from-inevitability that Freetards use. (They do so because when they're honest, and argue that artists must lose the ability to be paid, most people tell them to sod off).

But there's nothing inevitable here - so using Marxist teleologies or psuedo Darwinian metaphors is just a way of kidding yourself.

This might help -

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/02/11/why_wireless_will_end_piracy/

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Stop

Stick to the analysis...

...and leave out the record review. A music critic you aren't.

On topic, clearly it was a marketing exercise. Who would ever think otherwise? Even new bands playing in the back of pubs only give away their music as a marketing exercise, so that the fans they build up will one day buy their albums, and more importantly pay to see them play Wembley and wear their t-shirts, as there's more profit in that these days.

I see nothing wrong with downloading In Rainbows for nothing, since they were clearly happy for people to do that. I would also have paid for it, if that was the way to get it.

The new business model is not in free music. It can't and it shouldn't be. It's in making that music accessible, maybe it's the NIN model of giving some but not all away. Maybe it's the Coldplay model of giving the singles away and selling the album. Maybe it's the Radiohead way of scrapping labels, then selling an album for £3. But then, who'd pay for the promotion and the stadium-filling video and flashing lights audiences demand?

I suspect the future is, in fact, with record labels selling music online and in record shops and the minority getting it for free. Like they have since the dawn of cassette.

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Silver badge

Something I don't understand...

is why artists have some divine right to be paid for being able to play a musical instrument in a way that doesn't sound (too much) like a cat being strangled. All previous examples of technology making an entire industry redundant are seen nowadays as inevitable, but obviously we haven't learned from history.

How many people get paid lots of money as scribes, copying books? The music companies are largely unnecessary in the era of the internet; rather, the current incarnation of the music industry is unnecessary. What will happen is that internet-based companies will start popping up as 'music brokers': a virtual marketplace where small artists offer their music. This system allows as many people as want to enter the market, and therefore the price of music will drop considerably. (The only reason that music is so expensive now is the system of high barriers to entry that the music industry imposes.)

In conclusion, I see no reason why someone who's decent with a guitar deserves a Ferrari, whereas someone who's an expert spoons-player doesn't. The answer will of course be 'because more people want to hear <insert random useless pop group here>'. The obvious response is that this desire was artificially imbued in people by a music cartel, that controls the music on the television, the radio, and in the shops.

Disclaimer: I own about fifteen music CDs, about thirty classical CDs, and about 400 movies. If CDs cost £3, I'd buy more.

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A title is required

The record company says so.

@Chris: "Categoricalimperativetards... ". No. Just read what you quoted - philosophy is not rocket science, it's free for all (sic). There are respectable objections which say the Categorical Imperative doesn't specify what is ethically right or ethically wrong to do, so it isn't itself a principle of moral conduct. The CI is a necessary condition of judgment, namely that what you decide must be something that any other rational being could also decide (to do or think) - but not itself a sufficient condition, i.e. it doesn't justify anything. Quoting Kant against the Freotards just gives them an excuse for some silliness.

@AC: "Perhaps I'm a special case but really, do you honestly think that everyone that downloads would pay for music?"

Hail to the Thief! The problem is that those who do not "honestly do" may also not "honestly think" - and may in fact do the former because of the latter. What you don't tell us is if you go to concerts, or you just think you should (firing up Guitar Hero does not count; firing up the stage would).

@Steve: "Paytard: someone who happily pays a vastly inflated price to a dodgy cartel". Robinson Crusoe, I presume. I wonder if there is a connection between nihilist miserablism in music and any such attitudes on the part of its consumers (neither "proponents" nor "enthusiasts" seems right) - the kind which sees the enemy's enemy as a friend, ergo Vulture Central supports the Rec Ass of Am. But, no, such an idea is quite unfashionable. I guess you never saw Kermit the Frog sing "Green", you got Crazy Frog instead.

@ Kirk Bannister: "So the solution for the artists is ride the wave, ditch the record companies start webpages, buy cheap home grade sound recording gear and instrements,..."

And progressively rock backwards about 80 years. Arghhhh. Sing the pain of the myth of progress - lots of mileage there.

"...get some ad banners ask for donations and see where it goes,.."

Nowhere possibly, if the Orphan Works Act is going to be abused. To emulate your rhetoric, one useful conclusion we can draw from recent history is that if an opportunity exists for Big Business, someone will step forward in the confidence that regulations on their activities are honored more in the breach than the observance. If Big Business is ready to act dishonorably, people can hardly be expected not to take steps to redress the balance of power.

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