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Radiohead May Have Made $6-$10 Million on Name-Your Cost Album

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the generous-listeners dept.

Media 539

mytrip passed us a link to a Wired article indcating that if music industry estimates are correct Radiohead has made as much as $10 million on the 'In Rainbows' album so far. This despite the estimates of widespread piracy of the album as well. "[The estimate assumes] that approximately 1.2 million people downloaded the album from the site, and that the average price paid per album was $8 (we heard that number too, but also heard that a later, more accurate average was $5, which would result in $6 million in revenue instead).

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Who the fuck is radiohead? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049211)

Who the fuck is radiohead?

Re:Who the fuck is radiohead? (5, Funny)

joe_bruin (266648) | about 7 years ago | (#21049393)

Who the fuck is radiohead?
Karma police, arrest this man.

Re:Who the fuck is radiohead? (5, Funny)

netsavior (627338) | about 7 years ago | (#21049569)

what a Creep

Re:Who the fuck is radiohead? (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 years ago | (#21049505)

Who the fuck is radiohead?
Exactly. The idea that 1.2 million people downloaded Radiohead's latest is not believable given historical sales data for the band. 1.2 million times, maybe. But 1.2 million people? Come on, it's like FireFox's numbers: If you say that each of the zillions of FireFox downloads went to a separate person, than everyone on the whole fucking Interweb is using it. We know that's not the case.

Re:Who the fuck is radiohead? (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#21049631)

So you're saying the same person downloaded the same song over and over again? that's just stupid.

Firefox gets changed from version to version.

The only exception is if someone accidentally deleted it; Which I imagine would be very few people, if any.
Althoguh I am not a fan, Radiohead is very least here in the northwest.

Re:Who the fuck is radiohead? (5, Insightful)

DCTooTall (870500) | about 7 years ago | (#21049633)

Possibly true, But also think about all the people who have heard of Radiohead BECAUSE of the media hoopla surrounding the fact they have decided to sell the album direct to the public via the website and cut out the RIAA/Record Companies.

There is also the added purchase support from those who may not be big Radiohead fans who would normally buy a record from them, but who are purchasing the album in order to support their decision to embrace the web... and not something to outlaw like certain parties would appearently like to see happen.....

Re:Who the fuck is radiohead? (5, Funny)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | about 7 years ago | (#21049725)

Who the fuck is radiohead?
When I am King you will be first against the wall.

Hang on a sec, that abbreviated would make a cool ID. I really should do that...

I made something too! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049219)

A few years ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I
had to take a piss. As I entered the john a big beautiful all-American
football hero type, about twenty-five, came out of one of the booths.
I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he
washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was "straight" and
married - and in any case I was sure I wouldn't have a chance with

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated,
hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still
warm from his sturdy young ass. I found not only the smell but the
shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left
behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It
apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat,
stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd
- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as a man's wrist.

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and
wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd
always been a heavy rimmer and had lapped up more than one little
clump of shit, but that had been just an inevitable part of eating ass
and not an end in itself. Of course I'd had jerk-off fantasies of
devouring great loads of it (what rimmer hasn't), but I had never done
it. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound
turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy
and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of the world's
handsomest young stud.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both
hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled
like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the
consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit
without the benefit of a digestive tract?

I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it
smelled. I've found since then that shit nearly almost does.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into
my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big brown cock,
beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and
bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet
flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had
chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed
I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I
soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd
passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily,
sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My
only regret was the donor of this feast wasn't there to wash it down
with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the
cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more
delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with
the rich bitterness of shit.

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But
then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There
was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished
them out, rolled them into my handkerchief, and stashed them in my
briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the
shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever
unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an
unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using
them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my
mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit
trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six
orgasms in the process.

I often think of that lovely young guy dropping solid gold out
of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could,
and at least once did, bring to a grateful shiteater.

Finally! (4, Insightful)

HartDev (1155203) | about 7 years ago | (#21049239)

Now there is proof that artist do not need the record labels to make money, I hope someone in RIAA sees this and trembles as they show it to their higher ups!

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | about 7 years ago | (#21049295)

It's proof that well known band can make money without a record label. Which wasn't exactly news.

Re:Finally! (2, Interesting)

HartDev (1155203) | about 7 years ago | (#21049399)

Well then lets hope a lot of big band ditch their labels and then fund little bands, eh?

Re:Finally! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049487)

True, Radiohead doesn't need to promote itself in the same way a smaller band/artist does to make money but this shows what can be done.

Imagine if half a dozen well-known bands/artists created a new music site where any music artist could join. Sell MP3s at a very low price and have a physical product at a reasonable cost where all the profit goes to the artists (less a small admin fee to help run the site).
Allow users to rate/review songs and albums.

It would have the potential to destroy the record industry & possibly iTunes.

and that is the threat to the big labels; (1)

LukeCrawford (918758) | about 7 years ago | (#21049645)

The established bands sell most of the records; if the record labels are stuck with only the unknown bands, they will make quite a bit less money.

Re:Finally! (4, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about 7 years ago | (#21049509)

Of course they don't need labels.

With a label, if a musician has some decent pull, they might get $2 on a $20 album.

Without a label, a musician gets $2 on a $2 album.

The consumer/fan saves $18. The musician still makes just as much money. And potentially a lot more, since more people would be likely to pay $2 for an album than $20.

Re:Finally! (4, Interesting)

p0tat03 (985078) | about 7 years ago | (#21049605)

Question: How much money did it take to get the band's publicity to the level they enjoy now? At the risk of being the devil's advocate, is it entirely likely that they are using the publicity someone else (the labels) paid for to generate sales for this album? Perhaps we should subtract such an equivalent cost from the figures and see how much they ACTUALLY made.

Re:Finally! (0, Offtopic)

HartDev (1155203) | about 7 years ago | (#21049783)

Have fun.

One thing's for sure: (5, Insightful)

Enlarged to Show Tex (911413) | about 7 years ago | (#21049245)

They probably made more money off their album doing it this way than they ever would have made off the same album going through a record company. By the time you account for all the middlemen, marketing, and so forth, they might even have lost money on the album based on the level of sales, downloads, and so on.

Re:One thing's for sure: (5, Interesting)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | about 7 years ago | (#21049373)

and maybe it's due to the novelty of it.

would artists make the same sort of profits (eclipsing POS sales) if this model was more common place?

but it's a bit shortsighted to take one positive example and treat it as a working model

Re:One thing's for sure: (1, Interesting)

eln (21727) | about 7 years ago | (#21049533)

They probably made more money because the method of distribution was so novel that they got far more press for doing this than they would have gotten if they just released an album the old fashioned way.

Now we know the first band to do this can make money. Let's see if the 20th band to do it can after the novelty has worn off.

Re:One thing's for sure: (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 years ago | (#21049581)

They probably made more money off their album doing it this way than they ever would have made off the same album going through a record company.
Just because they did it this way doesn't mean their record company didn't get a cut.

Re:One thing's for sure: (1)

bladesjester (774793) | about 7 years ago | (#21049643)

I may be wrong, but I think that Radiohead went truly indie, much like Nine Inch Nails has again (now that they goaded the record company into cutting them loose)

Re:One thing's for sure: (2, Informative)

wilymage (934907) | about 7 years ago | (#21049779)

Check your history before making off-hand statements:

The band signed a six-album recording contract with EMI in late 1991, following a chance meeting between Colin Greenwood and label representative Keith Wozencroft at the record shop where Greenwood worked. [1 [] ]
Off the top of my head, the six albums were:
  1. Pablo Honey
  2. The Bends
  3. OK Computer
  4. Kid A
  5. Amnesiac
  6. Hail to the Thief
The band have no record contract, having fulfilled it in 2004.

wtf (0)

User 956 (568564) | about 7 years ago | (#21049253)

This despite the estimates of widespread piracy of the album as well.

I'm sorry, but, if it's FREE, then it's not really PIRACY.

Re:wtf (5, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 7 years ago | (#21049339)

Piracy is unauthorized replication and distribution. A copyright holder can require that those who get something for free get it from a specific source. In this case, downloading it for free from Radiohead is not piracy, while downloading it via eDonkey is piracy.

Its still not PIRACY (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049583)

Were any boats involved? Any rape, murder, or destruction of property? No? Then it was just "copyright infringement" or, if you will "duplication." This is not the same as "piracy" neither morally, legally, nor theoretically.

Just because some media outlet misused this word to refer to copyright infringement doesn't mean we should buy in. We are geeks, we should know better. Please stop reinforcing inappropriate connotations for this activity.

Re:wtf (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#21049603)

Assuming Radiohead cares.

Re:wtf (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | about 7 years ago | (#21049377)

Yep. To the other end of the bias spectrum, I read an article in the Herald Tribune (Wednesday, October 27, "Radiohead's Warm Glow" - Eduardo Porter) stating that his economist friends find those who would download the album for free to be "rational human beings".

I paid £8.

Re:wtf (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | about 7 years ago | (#21049447)

Er, that was before I learned that it was only 160 bitrate. Doh, but not so doh as to pay nothing at all.

Re:wtf (1)

Hells (1166547) | about 7 years ago | (#21049575)

I disagree. Controlling the method of distribution is one of the major reason why anyone would pay anything for it. If they just had a bittorrent link on the main site with a donate button in the right corner, I doubt they would be getting alot. By entering in personal informations and a selectable price, you're meant to feel abit bad over paying nothing, putting a tiny pressure on you to pay something atleast.

Re:wtf (3, Insightful)

shark72 (702619) | about 7 years ago | (#21049637)

"I'm sorry, but, if it's FREE, then it's not really PIRACY."

Popular understanding of the term "copyright" is that it refers to one's exclusive "right" to how something is "copied" (hence "copyright"). Does your understanding differ?

Putting on my Nostradamus hat for a second (although I will not write this as a quatrain), my guess is that we'll see your argument a lot more in the future. Many pirates claim that they have a moral allowance to pirate music because it's outrageously priced at a buck a track, and claim (disingenuously, of course) that they'll start buying when the price hits ($_CURRENTPRICE - $_ARBITRARYVALUE). When that day comes, I suppose the argument will be "Well, now it's practically free, so if I just help myself to the torrent, it's not really piracy now, is it?"

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049671)

Copyright is fucking badly named,. if it was a right then I would be allowed to copy it.

I remembery trying to pay for this album (5, Interesting)

bit trollent (824666) | about 7 years ago | (#21049255)

The website failed and left me frustrated. I went to my bit torrent site of choice and got it there.

Then I decided it was alright but not really worth paying for.

I wonder what Radiohead thinks about all the people who tried to pay for their music, couldn't and downloaded it / got stoned instead.

Re:I remembery trying to pay for this album (1)

caramelcarrot (778148) | about 7 years ago | (#21049335)

Indeed, I was willing to pay £5 for it, except I couldn't work out how the fuck to buy it from their site. So I just got it off the local DC++ instead. Oh well.

Re:I remembery trying to pay for this album (0)

wilymage (934907) | about 7 years ago | (#21049821)

I find it very hard to believe that a Slashdot reader couldn't work out a simple web site.

I signed up and bought the album within a minute.

Now that I've paid for the album, I'm waiting for a 320kbps version to turn up on BitTorrent.

Use _quality_ as an excuse for not paying, but don't blame your stupidity.

Re:I remembery trying to pay for this album (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049379)

I downloaded it from their site, but paid $0 as their site was so terrible I didn't feel comfortable entering my card number.

I'd gladly paypal a few dollars to them if they'd put up a link.
(How bad must a store be when paypal seems trustworthy in comparison?)

Re:I remembery trying to pay for this album (1)

PJ1216 (1063738) | about 7 years ago | (#21049473)

I had issues with the site while using Firefox. I had to use IE (unfortunately) to purchase it. Every time I used Firefox, i'd never be able to make it to cart, let alone actually confirming the order. It'd always randomly screw up at some different point. IE, it seemed to work every time. I'm hoping its a coding issue that uses some MS pseudo-standard as opposed to an issue with Firefox. The prior seems more likely.

Re:I remembery trying to pay for this album (1)

rgbscan (321794) | about 7 years ago | (#21049591)

Ditto here. I couldn't get the checkout button to appear in firefox either. What I did was click on "edit payment details", reconfirm what I already had, closed it out, and when the window refreshed voila the checkout button had appeared. Dunno what the deal with that was though. I was a mouseclick away from giving up on them. I have to agrewe the website looked terrible and I wasn't sure it was legit at all at first.

I got a blank page (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049799)

I tried to go to the site several times, and got a blank page.

Is it flash or something? I use Gnash for Youtube. If a site actually wants to sell something to me, I think HTML would be safer.

Once I go to the deadairspace directly, it's a mess. I searched for download and buy, and found nothing.

Cue Mozart's Requiem for the RIAA (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 years ago | (#21049267)

Six. Million. Dollars!!

Beyond discounting the damage of piracy to RIAA partner profits, the fact a band can raise at least that much money selling their own album suggests the bar is now so low bands need not sell their souls out for a record contract.

So Madonna is considering a fat new contract with some record company, that's their mistake. She's past her use by date anyway.

I think I need to record some of my own music and see how it flies.

Re:Cue Mozart's Requiem for the RIAA (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 7 years ago | (#21049371)

That has been proven for established artists. It has not been proven for new bands that have never signed with a label. Once that happens, it will be the death of the record industry.

My Indie/Unknown Band is Trying This (2, Interesting)

fyrie (604735) | about 7 years ago | (#21049661)

My small local music scene only band is trying this as an experiment right now. The experiment started last night. We made $11 off of donations in less than 24 hours. That might not seem like a lot, but we went into this figuring it very well could be $0. The funny thing was, all donations so far have come from people outside of our local market. I don't know how many people have downloaded it so far because our host only updates metrics daily.

See for yourself here. []

Re:Cue Mozart's Requiem for the RIAA (4, Insightful)

Bluesman (104513) | about 7 years ago | (#21049381)

There's one thing that the record companies provide that you can't typically get on your own, and that's publicity.

Radiohead is only able to cause this much of a stir and make this much money because everyone and his brother heard "Creep" on the radio umpteen times in the late 90's. Otherwise nobody would know who the hell Radiohead is and their name-your-price album would sell no better than the thousands of other bands charging $5 for a CD that hardly anybody has ever heard of.

And I don't think that's a bad thing. I think I'd like nothing more than the complete breakdown of the music industry so that you'd actually have to go out to bars to hear people play. I think with national exposure given to a select few by the media companies, great local and regional bands have a much tougher time finding an audience.

If it no longer paid to spend the millions promoting those few bands, they'd have to compete with the people who didn't win the record contract lottery, and we'd all be better off.

Re:Cue Mozart's Requiem for the RIAA (4, Interesting)

N7DR (536428) | about 7 years ago | (#21049649)

And I don't think that's a bad thing. I think I'd like nothing more than the complete breakdown of the music industry so that you'd actually have to go out to bars to hear people play.

I've never been one for going out to hear local musicians -- but in the past year I have been to several local concerts in bars and small theatres, and almost without exception I have immediately purchased one or more CDs (indie, of course -- often they're just burned CD-ROMs) from the artist. I have been frankly amazed at how good some of the these unknown local artists are. So the whole "having to go out to bars" thing has certainly worked for me.

Re:Cue Mozart's Requiem for the RIAA (1)

Escogido (884359) | about 7 years ago | (#21049715)

> And I don't think that's a bad thing. I think I'd like nothing more than the complete breakdown of the music industry so that you'd actually have to go out to bars to hear people play

Why would _you_ have to? There would always be a lot of those who are eager to try new stuff and tell the world of it. If you're none of these, no problem - you will know their opinion, and the opinion of the masses.. and given that you usually know what kind of music you like, something like [] would easily let you keep up with time.

The other good part is that most of the 'promotion' crap that involves sticking bad songs into our ears would be gone. Part of the problem with the today's music industry is that bands and performers being hyped are often outright sub par, because they somehow can afford 'promotion', and the better ones that are out there often just can't compete. This way, overall music quality available would improve as well.

That Radiohead decision along with things like [] are hopefully signs of the new musical industry. Die evil eMpTyV.

Hire a publicist! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049729)

Why couldn't you hire a publicist yourself? If you can find one who is familiar with music, he or she can put your band’s name and music in places where people are likely to bump into it and be intrigued. He or she can also arrange radio and television appearances, and press releases.

Promotion isn’t the exclusive province of the record companies.

Re:Cue Mozart's Requiem for the RIAA (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 7 years ago | (#21049571)

Beyond discounting the damage of piracy to RIAA partner profits, the fact a band can raise at least that much money selling their own album suggests the bar is now so low bands need not sell their souls out for a record contract.

Maybe. I have to wonder, though: if not for earlier record deals, would anyone have ever heard of this band? Prior to this, did their earlier CDs have "shelf space" in retail stores? Were they written up in magazines that have connections to the record companies? Were their earlier sales on the "charts?"

Lots of great bands languish in obscurity. There's something to be said for having your name pushed by expert publicists for a few years.

Still, yeah, it's a hopeful sign.

Re:Cue Mozart's Requiem for the RIAA (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | about 7 years ago | (#21049757)

The battle's not over yet. Radiohead is an established band with a loyal fan base, and they can make something like this work. We still need much stronger methods for allowing talented new bands to establish themselves. They'd be swamped by all the poseurs, spammers and wannabe's under the usual internet-dominated marketing model.

I'm certain this can be done, but there's a lot of work ahead.

Grammar Nazie Alert (1)

davebarnes (158106) | about 7 years ago | (#21049275)

Shouldn't it read "Radiohead have..." as they are British.

Re:Grammar Nazie Alert (1)

Justus (18814) | about 7 years ago | (#21049363)

Radiohead is British, but Slashdot is written in American English. Considering that you typically follow the grammar rules of your own nationality rather than the nationality of the subject, I would say there's no error here.

Re:Grammar Nazie Alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049499)

That would be Grammar Nazi I suppose.

Glad to be of assistance.

Grammar and spelling Nazi alert (1)

Foerstner (931398) | about 7 years ago | (#21049695)

First, it's "Nazi."

Second, "In British English, it is generally accepted that collective nouns can take either singular or plural verb forms depending on the context and the metonymic shift that it implies. For example, "the team is in the dressing room" (formal agreement) refers to the team as an ensemble, whilst "the team are fighting among themselves" (notional agreement) refers to the team as individuals." (Source [] )

(/me is not normally a grammar or spelling Nazi, but I enjoy correcting them when they get it even slightly wrong.)

It's not piracy, idiots (-1, Flamebait)

dsanfte (443781) | about 7 years ago | (#21049279)

You can't 'pirate' something that's offered for free.

And for crying out loud, the "pirates" are saving them money by not eating up their bandwidth!

How we lay off that word now?

Re:It's not piracy, idiots (1)

dsanfte (443781) | about 7 years ago | (#21049303)

'How about we lay off that word now?'

(fixed for weirdness)

Re:It's not piracy, idiots (2, Insightful)

tiocsti (160794) | about 7 years ago | (#21049343)

If you accept that piracy is copyright infringement (and not stealing) then you can certainly pirate free things. There's many cases of free software being pirated, for example. This is little different, the price may have been zero, but nothing gave anyone rights to redistribute that free material. Ergo, it was pirated.

Re:It's not piracy, idiots (2, Insightful)

6031769 (829845) | about 7 years ago | (#21049351)

Sure you can. Read the GPL sometime.

Re:It's not piracy, idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049441)

In that case there are no companies infringing the GPL, since they can do whatever they want with the "free" code.

Re:It's not piracy, idiots (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049553)

Also, you can't rape a girl unless she's a hooker.

Pure profit? (1, Interesting)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 7 years ago | (#21049283)

Does the band get to keep the entire $6M-$10M or does the label expect a large cut?

They don't have a label anymore (3, Informative)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | about 7 years ago | (#21049299)

they are completely independent, or perhaps you could say they are their own label.

I doubt many record labels would have permitted them to do this.

Re:Pure profit? (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | about 7 years ago | (#21049483)

Yes, the label does expect a large cut.

But as the label and the band are one in the same, it doesn't matter as much.

There is only one way to find out the truth. (4, Funny)

Funkcikle (630170) | about 7 years ago | (#21049293)

If you downloaded the Radiohead album please reply here and say how much you paid, so that we can send a bill for our rightful share to Radiohead.

Sincerely yours,

Re:There is only one way to find out the truth. (2, Funny)

Korveck (1145695) | about 7 years ago | (#21049529)

Negative one hundred and two million Euro. Now go get your share.

Re:There is only one way to find out the truth. (4, Funny)

Funkcikle (630170) | about 7 years ago | (#21049689)

Negative one hundred and two million Euro. Now go get your share.
Our accountants have put this into our Excel spreadsheet and apparently we are in for a LOT of money.

Hopefully others follow... (1)

appleguru (1030562) | about 7 years ago | (#21049307)

Here's to hoping other bands get the hint and start ditching record labels.. Even though I doubt it will happen, as record labels do provide a valuable function (distribution, marketing and loss-leading acts)... So I guess I'm saying I hope some of the bigger names that can afford to, ditch their label contracts as soon as they can and force the labels to change their ways (Yes, I know this would suck for the little guy during that time, but it looks like just about the only thing that can be done to bring about change)... Not to mention the artist gets 100% pay for album sales this way... as opposed to the paltry ~5-10% they get from labels.

Figure for comparison? (2, Interesting)

Burnhard (1031106) | about 7 years ago | (#21049315)

I would be interested to know what kind of gross they could expect from a label promotion and distribution in the "old way". The figure given here is a bit useless without that piece of information ;).

Re:Figure for comparison? (5, Informative)

metrometro (1092237) | about 7 years ago | (#21049497)

Use this:

Number of album sales * Average Retail price * 0.1 = artist's take.

Labels, retailers middlemen and RIAA lawers generally take a 90% cut. Traditionally, the label pays for production and advertising, which was considerable pre-internet. Those costs have plunged now that the internet can hype anything and production costs can be trimmed to 2 or 3 good mics, some software and a laptop.

But all you really need to know is that the old way got them ~$2 an album, and this way got them $5 or more (estimated), while building considerable goodwill with fans. Sounds like a pretty good model to me.

Re:Figure for comparison? (1)

kebes (861706) | about 7 years ago | (#21049551)

Well, according to this article [] :

The buzz generated by the band's pay-what-you-want publicity stunt may also boost sales. Radiohead's previous album sold only 300,000 copies in the first week--about one-sixth the number of copies of In Rainbows now in circulation.
Given that their current album, without label advertising, managed 1.2 million sales in a similar time period, it would seem that they are doing just fine. The fact that they get a much higher revenue-per-sale ($8 instead of perhaps $3 per sale) translates into much bigger profits from Radiohead's point of view. As another point of comparison, assuming that the "platinum" and "gold" ratings here [] are correct (and using this [] to translate into numbers), their albums seem to sell hundreds-of-thousands to millions of copies over the years. So, again, 1.2 million within weeks of launch seems pretty impressive.

Re:Figure for comparison? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#21049561)

Why don't you write them and ask?

Many people would be interested in knowing the outcome of that comparison.

Re:Figure for comparison? (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | about 7 years ago | (#21049657)

I'm sure they wouldn't have the time or inclination to respond to a pleb like me! I guess when the promotion period is over they will publish the results in any case. I'm not sure how many hard copies OK Computer or The Bends sold, but knowing this you could I suppose make an educated guess at a similar volume. I would expect (and this is just an intuition) that the sales curve for this kind of promotion will fall steeply (all those who want to pay will have already done so), whereas hard-copy sales would spike again around xmas (for example). So the comparison might not be so straight forward.

I'm impressed. (4, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 7 years ago | (#21049317)

Not bad earnings, considering that this means (a) the album went platinum with no marketing help from a major label, and (b) even letting consumers name their own price (and pirate the album freely), Radiohead is making better royalties than they would through a label.

Destroys both of the arguments the labels make in their own defense. Other artists would be fools not to learn from Radiohead.

Re:I'm impressed. (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 7 years ago | (#21049397)

As much as I want to agree with you I just can't. Radiohead had a huge following long before they tried this and that following was generated, at least in part, by the record companies marketing and pr.

I imagine it would be pretty hard (if not borderline impossible) for a new band, no matter how good, to do this kind of thing and turn a profit this easily.

Re:I'm impressed. (5, Insightful)

metrometro (1092237) | about 7 years ago | (#21049707)

A new band wouldn't turn this profit, but that doesn't mean the model can't scale down. I played in several bands for years, got put on a couple of ska complilations and our total record industry provided cut was under $500 bucks. Never got signed to a full album contract. If we'd skipped all that, put our music on a website and pushed a fan base to chip in, I suspect we'd have done more. Could we get 100 people to chip in $5 for a free download? I think so - we played show to that many people twice a month for years.

In the process, we would have gotten our music in front of more people and generated goodwill in the fan base. So there's a better growth potential, as buyers become, in a way, backers.

good, but.... (3, Insightful)

illicit7118 (1176755) | about 7 years ago | (#21049341)

This is a first step (if true) however doesn't solve a bigger issue. Radiohead can do this because they are an established band, who became established because of the current industry infrastructure mind you. This modeal does NOTHING for an unknown band. How do you complete the bridge to the future?

Re:good, but.... (1)

anagama (611277) | about 7 years ago | (#21049405)

Internet radio with only non-riaa bands to avoid the whole ludicrous licensing fee issue?

So what's the control? (1)

the_skywise (189793) | about 7 years ago | (#21049345)

What's the usual amount for Radiohead's sales?

If they successfully cut out the publisher they'd probably be getting about 30% of the sales at $15 pop or ~15 million or about 5 million back to Radiohead. So at even the lower estimate, they came out the same as if they had sold them through the normal channels or BETTER if sales were higher.

If not and downloads were about the same number as regular sales...they didn't do so hot...

But it's really hard to judge that from this article.

Re:So what's the control? (1)

imsabbel (611519) | about 7 years ago | (#21049429)

Do you really think they get 30% of the retail album sales price?
I think 10% might be a realistic value, and just because they are a big-name group.

I mean, the retail chain alone eats up maybe half of the retail price, disregarding the whole MAFIAA.

Re:So what's the control? (2, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | about 7 years ago | (#21049513)

Actually, even if Radiohead lost some, it would still a mean that a lot more people got to enjoy the music. In other words, the benefit to society was orders of magnitude bigger than the alternative (where most of the benefit would go to the record label). I think I'm beginning to believe Ray Beckerman's insistence that the record labels are history.

Oh, I misunderstood (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049349)

I thought Radiohead announced all their albums were now available for free, so I downloaded them all via torrent and kazaa. Fuck, my bad. I guess I'll have to delete them, wink wink.

Bravo for RadioHead! (1)

Elementalor (551544) | about 7 years ago | (#21049357)

I bought the album for GBP2.5 and I'm very pleased with the result. They deserve the money for distributing their music in a universal format like MP3, without any kind of DRM and directly to the listener. It's my first RadioHead album that I have bought, but I may buy more if they keep this attitude for their fans and casual listeners alike.

No intermediaries! (1)

iOsiris (944032) | about 7 years ago | (#21049361)

Overall revenue may be less but this revenue goes DIRECTLY to them and not intermediaries.

Too simple. (2, Insightful)

Skadet (528657) | about 7 years ago | (#21049831)

This is an oversimplification. How much did their producer get? Their manager? Attorneys and accountants? Other support crew? In the traditional model, the label pays these people and recoups the cost from that $6m (or however much). Now, they have to do it.

It's cut out the "intermediaries" (well, aside from the payment processing people, hosting company, bandwidth providers, et. al.), but it isn't as if they're splitting $6m between themselves.

Would have been more $ if download was 160 kbps (2, Interesting)

GnarlyDoug (1109205) | about 7 years ago | (#21049369)

I was going to buy their box set to support them until I found that they album download was only 160 kbps. I thought that was a cheesy move so I gave it a pass and I know two other people who did as well for the same reason. So that's three boxed sets they didn't sell that I know of. Hard to extraplate from that of course, but I think if they had not dorked around with a low bitrate download, they would have done even better. Still, I'm glad that it looks like they've proved this business model and I think many more artists will follow suit.

Re:Would have been more $ if download was 160 kbps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049565)

You asshole. Sure must hurt having those 'Golden Ears', huh?
Nobody can hear the difference between a 160kbps MP3 and a CD - at least, not if you're actually listening to the MUSIC...
But then, audiophiles are assholes with no taste in music, who moan in public about how hard done by they are, because the 'quality' isn't good enough for their 'precious' ears...
Wanker. Piss off.

Re:Would have been more $ if download was 160 kbps (1)

stuffman64 (208233) | about 7 years ago | (#21049787)

Well, I don't know where to go with this.

I own some pretty nice headphones, but I sure wouldn't call myself an audiophile. Even though I don't have the best equiptment, it still *is* possible to tell the difference between a 160kbps MP3 and a CD... though the difference is, in fact, quite tiny at best.

Here's the thing: how can this guy fault a 160kbps MP3 if he's never heard the CD version to compare it to? It's like looking at a photo of a painting and discrediting the work without having seen the original. Who says the original is that much better? But yeah, the OP needs to stop complaining... it's free for crying out loud.

Re:Would have been more $ if download was 160 kbps (1)

fliptout (9217) | about 7 years ago | (#21049667)

What is good enough for you, reel tape? :P

Re:Would have been more $ if download was 160 kbps (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | about 7 years ago | (#21049693)

I don't really see this as a reasonable reason. First, if you got the box set, you could've made your own copy at whatever bitrate you wanted. Second, it's not like the downloaded copy was to appease the hardcore demographic, but rather the masses. 160k is a good tradeoff between size and quality, IMHO.

Furthermore, you can still pick how much you want to purchase the downloaded track for. If you feel 320k is the only bitrate, and that it'd be worth $12 (cause I'm too lazy to look up the code for the pound, just divide by 2.5, cause I'm thinking in pounds for this), then adjust the value as such to like, $4 or $5.

But saying "because it's only 160k" is just a copout, I think.

I'll be honest, I downloaded it off the site at $0, but I've never heard them before so I don't even know if I'd like it. (Still haven't gotten around to it maybe next Radiohead article I'll comment on if I liked it or not.)

Re:Would have been more $ if download was 160 kbps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049743)

What exactly is wrong with 160 kbps? Can you actually hear the difference, or does it just make you feel better about yourself to call it a "low" bitrate?

Re:Would have been more $ if download was 160 kbps (1)

the_arrow (171557) | about 7 years ago | (#21049793)

But if you buy the box, don't you get the CD with that? And if you have the CD, can't you rip it your self in whatever bitrate you want?

Completely Irrelevant (4, Funny)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | about 7 years ago | (#21049391)

This is all well and good, but it completely ignores the fact that if people are pirating music, the artists can't make any money!


Re:Completely Irrelevant (1)

Raineer (1002750) | about 7 years ago | (#21049435)

This is all well and good, but it completely ignores the fact that if people are pirating music, the artists can't make any money!

Yeah, artists sure aren't making ANY money at all. Hmm...

Re:Completely Irrelevant (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 7 years ago | (#21049791)

Yeah, he should have said if the people normally buying the music, went to conserts, bought items and so on only pirated the music and skiped the rest and never watched mtv/whatever.

for the record (5, Informative)

SolusSD (680489) | about 7 years ago | (#21049427)

Making $6-$10 million on a new album the week it comes out is _unheard-of_ in the music biz-- especially since radiohead gets to keep most of it, if not virtually all of it. (When you buy a CD in the store for $14 less than a dollar actually goes to the artist). Also-- this album went platinum in the first week! Huge success for Radiohead.

Re:for the record (1)

lmnfrs (829146) | about 7 years ago | (#21049765)

especially since radiohead gets to keep most of it, if not virtually all of it.

Keep in mind bandwidth isn't too cheap. Certainly they did very well, but the bandwidth and server resources needed to support all those downloads wasn't cheap.

Still, yeah, huge success.

Definition of Work (4, Insightful)

randalware (720317) | about 7 years ago | (#21049525)

        I like the concept and I am glad Raidiohead tried this.

After looking at the royalty rates for software authors, musical artists, and other creative arts (movie,video,etc)...
The big companies / middle men are raking it in.
And the consumer is paying the bill.

The internet is leveling the playing field.
Lower cost of product, fewer hurdles to distribution, censorship by the consumer's choices (purchase y/n), variable/negoiatable pricing.

More money in being an artist.
Lower cost to consumer.
More artists can make a living being creative. (but possibly fewer mega-rich ones)
Fewer creative limits for the artist.
And the parasitic middle men can change careers.
Middle men that actually add value to the process will still exist. (but make a much more modest income)

The artist win ! The consumers win !

Honestly (3, Interesting)

PJ1216 (1063738) | about 7 years ago | (#21049547)

I didn't find the album worth paying for, however I still purchased it for ~$10 (5 pounds). I did it more so to support the idea as opposed to really enjoying the music. I found it to be great background music while doing other things, but not really worth actively listening to. Of course this is just my opinion, so please don't kill me. I'm just stating that it's worth going through the trouble of paying a few bucks just to support the idea so others will do it. Hell, if you like the idea of what they're doing, but hate their music, I still think its worth your effort to pay a few bucks just to inspire other artists to do the same. On Trent Reznor's (of Nine Inch Nails) website, he said in the future he'll be participating directly with the audience now instead of working with record labels because he's now finally free of any record contracts as well.

If you don't like the music, just look at it as making a donation to the cause of destroying the RIAA.

Great! Yes, make even more money!! (4, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | about 7 years ago | (#21049619)

I really hope all the other musicians still under the shackles of a RIAA-affiliated label will feel positively JEALOUS of the kind of dough Radiohead is making!

While I despise greed, it might just be a very powerful force in the downfall of the labels and therefore the RIAA. Just imagine all those musicians just NOT renewing their contracts (or even trying to end their current ones) and go onto forming their own label and sell their music directly to their fans!

That's what I ahve said over and over again (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#21049681)

If the musicians do not sign, the contracts will be changed.
If all new group boycotted the contracts en mass, they would change, literally over night.

I am not sure why you imply radiohead is being greedy.
They let the fans pick the price. The amount of money someone makes has NOTHING to do with greed.

Ha! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049691)

Well they didn't get it from me, thanks Pirate Bay.

I bought, but it took some skill... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21049807)

Let me tell you, I definitely wanted to send the message that I wanted other artists to do this, but I wasn't prepared for the challenge that I would face to actually pay for it...

I had to view the source of the confirmation html page and search for a URL that I could then plug into my browser to complete the order...less than a stellar experience in purchasing online that's for sure...

The reason I put up with it? Because I wanted to send a message. It looks like the message was received. Yay!

What were their (1)

xx01dk (191137) | about 7 years ago | (#21049815)

production costs? I'm not sure that they couldn't have been in the multi-million dollar range. Anybody have that data so we actually have something to compare the profits to? Also, how much net profit does your average top-40 album produce? These would be a lot more useful than some random dollar ammount.
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