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October 11, 2007


Chris Dodge

I've downloaded In Rainbows from Radiohead. I've been in the DigitalMedia industry since 1999 (mainly film/video distribution) and Radiohead's announcement is far and away the biggest event to happen in the broader industry to date. I'm very excited about it.

That said, there is still some value that Labels can provide to unknown/emerging bands. Radiohead, NIN, and Madonna (although the latter deal is very different than RH/NIN), are already established entertinment brands.

However, this value for their services is not as strong as it once was and that means that labels will have to adapt their pricing (both to consumers as well as the % they take). Overall, I think smaller labels will be better to adapt than the 4 majors.

Given that the Music Industry - in terms of Digital Media offerings - always preceeds the Film/Video industry, I'm wondering what parallels can be drawn to the future of Film/Video production/distribution. Producing a Film is far and away more expensive and risky than producing an album. So there are some aspects that don't translate well.

What did I paid for In Rainbows? 2 Pounds Sterling (plus the 45p service charge). They are still going to make a killing on this experiment financially.

One disappointment: they really should publish the results of this experiment. What was the average price paid? How many downloads?

Mark Evans

It's the classic story of being ahead of your time!

It still amazes me that the music industry never attempted to figure out why Napster was so popular and how it could be used as a new sales tool. It's just another example of how the labels have consistently fumbled the ball.

Chris Dodge

In thinking some more about this, this also have wide ramifications for online storefronts such as iTunes and Amazon. They still have to negotiate with the Labels (for the backcatalog which are under Label control).

If bands directly provide marketing, storefront, Credital Card transaction support, and fulfillment, then there's little value provided by these online retailers.

Of course, iTunes and Amazon's offerings can make the argument about better SLA's and load handling ability (Radiohead's site has been completely overwhelmed).

But again, like the labels, the eTailers may have to adjust their pricing to account for this diminished value-add proposition.

Sandeep Sharma

The move of Madonna and others to sell directly could be driven because of need to derisk their own interests from that of record industry. The success however would be driven by strength of brand (singer) and pricing.

From consumer perspective it would be painful to move from one site to another for buying songs except for die hard fans!. If this picks up then soon aggregation of such sites would start just like hotels and airlines much to misery of iTunes.

David Fishman

I think Radiohead, Madonna, Nine Inch Nails, etc. are really leading the trend here. While music labels are still fighting piracy, etc, the artists will embrace this growing digital trend, not fight it, in a way that will leave them out on top.

Dawn B

Results of radiohead experiment. How many people paid for it etc!

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