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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Radiohead continues to bring the awesome In Rainbows!

A new Radiohead album drops in 10 days! Sort of. It's called IN RAINBOWS.

I did a quick Google search and found out this much.

You can download it from their website on October 10th, and pay what you want. The actual CD doesn't hit until December.

I am very happy about this.


So here's the million dollar (literally) question. Radiohead is saying directly to its fans, pay what you want for our album. Of course, right now, that's a huge nod of faith to its fanbase. The question becomes, what will you pay? What is the value you place on this? Will you pay nothing and take advantage of the band's generosity? Or would you pay extra to encourage this type of thing and support the independence of the band?

I think this really cuts across a broad spectrum of media purchasing decisions. If all purchases were treated as donations, would you pay more for things you value? Would your dollar become, truly, a way to vote?

Let's make this a little simpler. I'm just curious. If your favorite band (whomever it may be) did exactly what Radiohead is doing...how much would you pay for their new album, knowing you could have it for free with their blessing? $5? $10? More?


Danielle Wilson said...

We (my husband and I) will be buying the diskbox because we like Radiohead. But I expect we'd pay $15-$20 for just the download, and would be willing to do that for any band whose music we really liked.
It is the only fair thing to do.

My hope is that more artists will ditch the record companies and adopt this model. It keeps the costs and profits where they belong--in the accounts of those directly involved with the creation and production of the music.

John K. said...


I am totally against the comodification of music. It centralizes music production and devalues the work of local musicians.

Radiohead is a good band and it looks like they are trying to shake up an outrageous and outdated production mode (music as object). I'm all for it. I might pay $2. Or I more likely, I'll just burn it from a friend or steal it peer-to-peer. Either way, Radiohead will do just fine. The more music we "steal", the better it is for local artists.

Freeman said...

John -

I'm curious about that. How does it help local artists to "steal" music?

I've always been on the fence about this. While, on one level, the commodification of music seems overtly wrong... what supports artists who are not supported by some sort of funding? If that funding doesn't come from the government, there must be some sort of revenue stream to keep them working.

john k. said...

Hi Freeman,

The whole idea of recorded music is a relatively recent introduction to music history. My position is that before recorded music there was a much more thriving scene of local musicians who were paid fairly to produce music is local social settings, such as in bars and at concert-type events. With the advent of recorded music and its accompanying commodification (i.e., music could be mass produced, shipped great distances and sold as an object) the chipping away of the value of the local musician began.

Do we really need to hear Dark Side of the Moon for the 1001th time at our local watering hole? And at what cost? Wouldn't it be better if a local band or musician got to play that venue instead. Why should Roger Waters et. al. keep cashing in while local musicians suffer in near poverty?

Record companies argue that stealing their music hurts smaller artists because it means they (the record companies) are less likely to take a chance on a new artist and instead stick with the "safety" of producing a new Britney record. In fact, just the opposite is happening: The more the record companies flee to the safety of their biggest b(r)ands (sic) – the more the music-listening public moves on to smaller acts. Big Music will eventually run out of their premium brands and by that time we will all have moved on.

I love Pink Floyd and Radiohead – and have spent hundreds of dollar on various forms of their music over the years. But with digital moving to the fore, and peer-to-peer bring music back to a shared experience, I really feel gung-ho about advocating this "stealing" mentality.

So stealing music = the decentralization of music, which erodes big business' hold on the artform and redistributes it to local artists.

That's how I feel about it anyway.

Paul Rekk said...

I'd buy that for a dollar!

danielle wilson said...

@ John K
I'm really gung-ho on *not* stealing music. And I hate the big record companies as much as you do because they aren't fair to local artists, new artists, etc.
I think the system needs to be changed, but I don't think stealing is the way to do it. Who do you think the record companies are going to screw when they can't continue getting their big profits because their big profits are being stolen? It's not the consumer. It's the artists they have control over. All their artists. Big stars and little guys. It hurts the little guys more because the little guys are getting less to begin with.

In the case of Radiohead, they seem to have gotten out of this loop with the record company so if you steal their music you are stealing directly from them. At this point Radiohead is essentially a local band albeit one with global recognition.