Beautifully symbolic gesture from the greatest band in the world, not to mention a shrewd business decision. The days of paying for mp3s is fast coming to a close and the smart musicians are accelerating this sweet little apocalypse (Pssst!! Look to your left! Free Music!!!). Radiohead’s new album, free from their record contract, is going to be available for a name-your-own-price kinda deal (aside from a small processing fee). Sure, there will be people who decide to pay nothing, but that is where the art comes into this. Radiohead is posing the question to their fans: How much is our music worth to you? If I compare OK Computer‘s positive effect on my life in terms of the price of a beer in Manhattan then it is worth hundreds of dollars, because it has meant so much more to me than the collective buzzes I received from those beers did (Confusing? I know. It makes sense in my mind. I tend to quantify the importance of buying various things based on the exorbitant cost of beer at Manhattan bars. This book is 10 bucks? Well, I’ll spend more on two beers at the drop of a hat when I’m out drinking so I guess it’s worth it…) But I paid about 15 bucks for that album. Actually I first heard it for free on a tape my friend Christina made for me (Wow does that mean I’m old??). Then I went out and bought it.
They are also selling a special box set, with booklets and vinyl and all sorts of good stuff on it. It seems tempting. What I may do is download the mp3s for 5 bucks or something, and if it is as amazing as everyone knows it will be, then I’ll spring the 50 bucks or so for the box. Damn you Radiohead!