If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…

Furthering the music discussion from a few posts down…

So now the New York Times is reporting that Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke is releasing his latest solo project, “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes,” via BitTorrent for a mere six bucks.

BitTorrent will take 10% off the top and Yorke pockets the rest.

That’s right, the same band that seven years ago pretty much pioneered the act of giving away music.

Well, it wasn’t an actual giveaway, per se – the deal was, a fan could set whatever price he or she was willing to pay for the download.

So yeah, it essentially was a giveaway. I mean, come on…

I remember when Radiohead first made the news for their “set-your-price” gimmick. I remember thinking how off-the-wall it was. I also remember thinking that they’ll probably lose their shirts on it. However, I don’t remember why I never “purchased” the album for myself.

Probably forgot (I like them. They’re good. But their music has never motivated me enough to want to acquire it. Even if it’s free…apparently).

But, oh my garsh, the irony of Yorke’s latest gimmick, no?

Can you just imagine if this works, if Yorke creates a new music distribution model through BitTorrent, and, presumably, through other bit torrent services. I mean, we’re talking the same type of massive file sharing services — i.e., illegal download sites — that deserves most of the blame (credit?) for crushing the legacy music industry into unrecognizable pebble dust.

And it just may work — according to the Times article, there have already been over 60K download purchases of the album.

But heck, even if it does work, it’s just delaying the inevitable. Soon there will no such thing as ownership.

Soon, like, maybe, now soon, everything we digitizedly desire will exist freely in the cloud…along with the torrent of advertising it will take to support this ethereal freedom.

But hey, I’ll take free…even if it is for a price.

Incidentally, if you want to get a copy of In Rainbows now, it will cost you a pretty penny…er, euro — £7.50, to be exact. My guess is they’re still trying to recoup that shirt they lost from the initial “set-your-price” gimmick.

[[ For a broader perspective on and the implications of Apple “giving” away U2’s Songs of Innocence, check out this thought-provoking article by A Little More Sauce: This is NOT a Gift: That U2 Album You Didn’t Ask For and the Possibility of Generosity ]]

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