I kept forgeting to post about this but just in case there are some of you that not aware of what Radiohead are doing, here it is. Radiohead’s latest album, In Rainbows, will be released in December but you can preorder at their website. Rather than just offer the CDs for buying, Radiohead have undertaken four very important strategies:
Cross-media bundling: When you purchase the album on their website, you get the box set which includes the music on CDs, the music on vinyl and as a digital file. They use the method common in the online pornography industry: order the tangible product, it’ll get posted to you, but while you wait you can download the file immediately. Considering the subject matter of the pornos, I can understand the desire for immediacy. :/ The point about cross-media bunding, however, is that it acknowledges the affordances and in the case of the vinyl, the sentimental and connisseur value of certain media. It also acknowledges the reality of use: people use lots of different media platforms to experience a product. A CD on the stereo for instance, digital files on the iPod and so on. The content is not bound to a particular medium.
Staggered release: The digital download is available as of 10th October, about two months before the boxset. This helps build awareness and familiarity with the product, which should translate to sales of the boxset with its added value.
Enhanced material: Like the pervasive method of the feature film DVD industry, the product provides extra materials such as new songs on top of the album, photos and artwork (which, I note, has also been used in the music industry as well). The digital download and obviously any pirated files, will not have this added value.
Consumer-defined price: The price of the digital download is not pre-defined, instead, the consumer (person!) can name any price they want to pay for the download. They can even put in nothing. Amazing. Obviously this is not something that most bands or creators in general can do. Radiohead are in a financial position to take such giant leaps. But gee it is great. I personally cannot stand the tactic producers use to combat pirating by locking their material and so this free-will counter-balance is endearing to me.
There is so much I could say but no need to delay you any longer.