Pay what you want

Today on NPR, Morning Edition had a story about indie band Radiohead, who are releasing their latest album on the Internet on a pay-what-you-want basis. Given that everyone is questioning the viability of the old model for music creation, will this be the new paradigm?

The New York Times says “maybe“:

Early reaction suggested that listeners would pay, but less than they would for a CD in stores. The blog carried a poll in which the plurality of voters — almost 40 percent — said they would pay from $2.05 to $10.12. …

Whether Radiohead’s move will lead to a shift for the industry is far from clear. In taking over more of its own sales, the band risks losing what connection it has with the mass market and turning into a niche operation.

Freakonomics author Stephen J. Dubner says, “why not?”

But perhaps the big labels should try an honor-system scheme, just as an experiment if nothing else. Perhaps there are certain configurations that would work well — allowing only three downloads per user at below-market price before locking you out, e.g., or perhaps rewarding the higher-paying customers with bonus material.

Marginal Revolution says “nope.” And Mankiw says, “who knows!”

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2 Responses to Pay what you want

  1. Pingback: The Cart Blog » Blog Archive » The Free Model

  2. I liked that they didn’t just offer the download link, but they put a doorway between the link with a field where you get to choose how much you pay. I think any work on the internet that you can download should follow this model, even software. It’s akin to the donation system, but by placing it in between the purchase, it feels less like a donation and more like you’re actually purchasing it, which I like. And when you download it without giving anything, you’re buying it for $0, rather than just downloading it — pretty much the same thing, just different ways of getting there.


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