Radiohead Offer Attracts Mega-Hits; Other Acts Considering The Same
October 9, 2007 at 6:11 AM (PT)
It's beginning to look like RADIOHEAD's gambit of offering its new release online --and letting the consumer decide on price -- could work out for the band, which has prompted veteran bands such as OASIS, MADNESS and NINE IN NAILS to consider doing business that way as well.
Major Website Hits -- And Willing To Pay
TELEGRAPH UK reports that hits to RADIOHEAD's website increased 11-fold after the announcement. Although the band refuses to provide concrete numbers on how many fans have pre-ordered their seventh album, "In Rainbows," but figures from Net monitoring agency HitWise show the move pushed the site up from #43 to #1 for music websites in the U,K. A band spokesman did confide that consumers so far are spurning the opportunity to download the album for as little as 45 pence in favor of paying full pop for the £40 box set, which includes vinyl records, CD and artwork
Now, JAMIROQUAI, OASIS and MADNESS -- three well-known BRITISH acts not currently under contract to a label -- are rumored to be considering following RADIOHEAD by offering work for free, according to industry sources. "They'll all be thinking about it now," said STUART CLARKE at Music Week. "Any big name that is out of contract such as JAMIROQUAI and OASIS will now see it as an option."
OASIS has already announced that its next single, "Lord Don't Slow Me Down," will be available only to download for 99 pence. Ska pranksters MADNESS is considering giving away its next album for free.
CHARLATANS manager ALAN MCGEE expressed "astonishment" at the perceptual success of this experiment -- even though actual downloads of the album have yet to happen. "The record industry is obsessed by age and fashion. So you get these amazing BRITISH bands like the CHARLATANS and the HAPPY MONDAYS that were massive 10 years ago and are still great, but are out of contract. How do you get them profile? You give away the record."
He said that the initial feedback had been so positive that the he was already considering booking larger venues for the band to play in when they tour next year. "This experiment is going to work, I feel," he said, expressing confidence that merchandise and concert tickets will make up for giving away the free album for free.
NIN To DIY, Too
Now comes word that NINE INCH NAILS mastermind TRENT REZNOR is cutting ties with his label, UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, according to CNS. Previously, REZNOR urged fans to download his new CD illegally, after finding out thow much the label was charging AUSTRALIAN and NEW ZEALAND fans for his record.
REZNOR's statement on the band's website stated, "it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate. Look for some announcements in the near future regarding 2008. Exciting times, indeed."
Of course, all of the above bands have already enjoyed Gold and Platinum sales on past major label product, and have cemented a loyal audience through that and touring. RADIOHEAD, in particular, has a extremely devoted fan base who would be quite willing to pay for new music. It remains to be seen whether American music fans --- especially those who have been illegally downloading music at no cost -- would actually pay anything in such an offer.
What's more, whatever successful is generated by the proven, established act in no way can be translated to a new or relatively unknown band that doesn't have a built-in audience. Last but not least, if the major labels have less superstar product to generate revenue, they'll undoubtedly have less money and time to break new talent.