How tight is too tight?

Radiohead's new album has been released and the record companies are quaking in their boots. The album has been released only online (here) and can be bought for as little as 1 pound (plus credit card fee). The idea is that people decide the amount that they will pay and the record companies are bypassed. I like Radiohead and not being a tightass* I forked over 7 pounds (about 16 bucks) for it and got it downloaded straight away (no copy protection crap either).

But here is the burning question How much of a tightass are you? Did you pay a single pound? Last chance to own up now or be outed...

*If you don't know what this is read definition 1 here.



RodeoClown said... 10/16/2007 4:44 pm  

My only problem with this method of payment is that I don't know how much I think the album is worth until I've heard it.

And once I've downloaded it, I'm pretty unlikely to remember to pay for it later.

Jason said... 10/16/2007 4:53 pm  

When you are given the choice of how much to pay for a product, there are a lot of things you need to consider.

a- How much time did it take?
b- How much effort was required?
c- What is the skill level of the people involved?
d- What do similar products cost?
e- etc...

These things should all influence how much you decide the product is worth.

If you're only willing to pay £1, you're saying you only think the album is worth £1.

The arguments I've heard people put forward have sounded very familiar...
e.g. I wasn't going to get it, but I might as well for £1.
If I really like it, I'll buy the discbox when it comes out.

Do they sound familiar to you too?
Let me rephrase them for you.
I wasn't going to buy it, so they're not losing out if I just download it for free.
I pirate music and listen to it and if I like it, I buy it.

If you compare people's dodgy mp3 collections to their CD collections, the deficit speaks for itself.

So does your choice to pay £1.

Bron said... 10/16/2007 5:34 pm  

yeah, but like rodeoclown said - how can I know how much I want to pay for it until after I've listened to it? It might grown on me.

Jason said... 10/16/2007 7:01 pm  

Bron: When you buy a normal CD from a shop how do you know what its going to be like?

I've been both burnt, and pleasantly surprised by CDs in the past. Its part of the experience!

Burn: Shaun Mullins - Soul's Core (apart from the songs I knew, the whole damn thing was basically country music!)

Pleasant Surprise: Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane \m/>.<\m/

Jonny said... 10/16/2007 7:36 pm  

I have bought maybe 2 CDs in my life. One to learn a song for a band before Youtube was invented. And the other as a gift.

Joel said... 10/16/2007 8:39 pm  

Radiohead will probably make more money per album sold this way than selling it to a record company. Even if everyone only offers pound.

Alan said... 10/16/2007 10:46 pm  

there was this dude at the con who managed to get it for $0.. the day it was released in this way, so i assume they have changed the rules somewhat.. but also by doing so, he wasnt paying anything so there was not a credit card fee either..

Pryderi said... 10/16/2007 10:55 pm  

Jason, are you a tightarse if you buy a CD from a shop if it costs just $10 but happens to be worth a lot more to you?

I'm sure Radiohead were well aware that many people would only pay 1 pound for the album. They obviously don't mind, or were willing to take that risk.

Pryderi said... 10/16/2007 10:59 pm  

Q: What's more Dutch than Oliebollen?

A: Downloading the Radiohead album for 1 pound.

kath said... 10/16/2007 11:06 pm  

meh i wouldn't pay much for a radiohead album anyway. i like that bands are trying new things.

oh, and i've started blogging again. check my profile :)
don't go all stalker on me and sift through the archives tho. yikes.

mike said... 10/17/2007 9:02 am  

I had a look last night Kath and added you to my reader.

Oh and Pryderi thanks for saying what I didn't have the guts to say... lol

Jason said... 10/17/2007 10:48 am  

Predator: Nope. You're not a tightarse if you pay $10 for a CD you really like from a store. The price was imposed on you. You're not ripping anyone off by paying the full amount asked.
Its only when you're given a choice of how much to pay that it becomes an issue.

I have no doubt that Radiohead are making bucketloads of money from this little project (Read: Stunt).
It just seems strange to me to pay a lot less or a lot more than the 'going rate' for an album. Consumers have a fairly good sense of the intrinsic value of a product. Your personal feelings for the product aside, you can look at something and say I reckon that's worth about $X.

Its probably also worth considering what effect this is going to have on the sale of music across the board. If Radiohead come out of this with a fairly large profit, other bands are going to follow suit. As long as they have a fanbase, they're going to be able to distribute their own music without resorting to record labels.
If you like that idea, then paying more than £1 to support it is money well spent. If you don't like the idea, don't buy the album that way. It'll be interesting to see if Radiohead release the album via other channels when the hype dies down.

I should make something clear: I actually quite dislike Radiohead. I've never been a fan and from what I've heard of the new album, I'm not going to be any time soon.

Jason said... 10/17/2007 10:48 am  

btw, sorry about the length of my comments :s
Maybe I should start a rant blog...

Bron said... 10/17/2007 11:12 am  

Thing is, this isn't a cd - it's just the digital file isn't it? Sure, there are recording costs etc, but it doesn't have a lot of the costs associated with the physical production, marketing, distribution, shop overheads etc.

Whilst I'm sure it was very expensive to make the recording (and of course the band should get an income too), unlike a cd - the recuperation of those costs doesn't have to happen at a fixed price (there is no unit cost on a digital file). The cost of each file depends on how many digital files they distribute.

I'm happy to admit that I don't know how much a copy of the file should cost... (how do I know how many copies they will sell, or how much the recording cost?) But what I do know is that they have said I need to pay at least 1 pound. Cool, then 1 quid it is! Why would I pay any more!

Taz said... 10/17/2007 11:57 am  

I have given up buying CDs for now because I am sick and tired of buying CDs without being able to listen to them first. I few times I've been burnt by buying an album based on a few songs, only to find that I don't really enjoy it as a whole.

I downloaded Radiohead's new album, took a listen, and decided that I didn't really like it enough to buy it, so I got rid of it (I was never a great fan). I wish I could do the same with other albums as well (Microsoft are getting it right with their Zune MP3 player, where you can wirelessly send songs to your friends which they can listen to 3 times over before the stop working).

I am not condoning music piracy, and those who know me will attest to my massive collection of music CDs. However, with the new crackdown on internet radio it's getting harder to listen to music without forking out $20-$30 for a CD, so I'm just not going to bother.

PS: Mike, I am disappointed by the continual lack of linkage.

Taz said... 10/17/2007 12:01 pm  

Jason: you are acting like a person doesn't have the right to listen to a CD before they buy it. The consumer should have a RIGHT to know what kind of product they are purchasing. Your example is akin to going into a furniture shop and buying a couch without getting a chance to try sitting on it first. If it causes your back to ache, is it just too bad? Or do you, as a consumer, have a right to maybe examine the couch first?

Jason said... 10/17/2007 2:48 pm  

Taz: The pedant in me wants to tell you that I'm "acting like a person who thinks a person doesn't have the right to listen to a CD before they buy it".

Except that I don't think that.

There's nothing stopping you going into a music store and listening to a CD on their in-store system. I acknowledge that that isn't the best way to go about it, you don't really get enough time to get a good impression of the album.
But there's nothing wrong listening to an album on the radio. Or previews on iTunes. Or listening to previews on the band's website. Or borrowing the album from someone who already has it.
I could go on.
But I won't. I fear that using digital distribution is going to bring about serious changes in the music industry.
As long as Radiohead reap a green harvest of cash money that is.

Anonymous said... 10/17/2007 3:35 pm  

> I fear that using digital distribution is going to bring about serious changes in the music industry.

I hope that using digital distribution is going to bring about serious changes in the music industry!!!

Anonymous said... 10/17/2007 11:44 pm  

I am the proud owner of the new Radiohead masterpiece. I unashamedly paid 1 pound for it. Surely, if an album is going to be released in this novel new way there shouldn't be a preconceived idea about how much it is worth. The way that the release has been done means that Radiohead will be laughing all the way to the bank whatever happens. And, oh, did i mention its a damn good record!

Pryderi said... 10/18/2007 12:29 am  

You're so unashamed, yet you post as anonymous.

Pryderi said... 10/18/2007 12:30 am  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said... 10/20/2007 4:00 pm  

Pryderi is controversial..! :P

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