What happened, Thom?

Last year, the world gasped as Radiohead ripped the music market model asunder, with MP3s for free, and box sets for £40.  I opted for the later.  It’s a beautiful thing:

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And now?  As soon as they strike a deal with a record label (yes, a passionate, artist loving, music fan label, but a label nonetheless…), they do this: You can get the separate ‘stems’ (i.e. separate tracks featuring just the vocals, or the guitars, or whatever) for the new single ‘Nude’… but you have to pay nigh on a fiver for them. 

And, if you were really into remixing, you’d want all the guitar tracks separate, as opposed to just all lumped in together… it’s not how you’d start remixing properly.  If it was all the proper separate stems, then ok, but this half hearted effort… no, just no.

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…it smacks of lazy, label, money led thinking; the wrong product
for the wrong audience at the wrong price.  I’m REALLY FUCKING DISAPPOINTED.

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Making music a 'commercial proposition'

I was listening to an interview on the Guardian Technology podcast between Charles Arthur of the Guardian and Matt Phillips of the BPI, about the new file sharing legislation, and (inevitably) it became a conversation about the music industry’s pricing of downloads…

CA: But it’s not [about music being] freely available… if all the albums on itunes cost three pounds rather than eight pounds, [consumers] would be much happier about buying them, because the incremental cost is so much less?

MP: If every album on iTunes was available for 50p that would be very attractive, but that doesn’t necessarily make for a commercial model that can encourage future investment in music and pay all the people involved in the creation and investment in that product, so while I can understand that consumers would want everything for free, that clearly isn’t a commercial proposition.

Surely if ‘all the people involved in’ making music can’t be funded from £8 per album on iTunes, then the answer isn’t to keep charging £8 to fund them all… surely it’s to get less people involved, or pay them less, and charge a price that consumers feel happy to pay?

A successful ‘commercial proposition’  works two ways; it’s not just what the producer is willing to sell at, but what people are willing to buy at too…

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