It seems Radiohead's "pay what you want" experiment for their latest album, In Rainbows, failed — in terms of profits, at least.
You have to wonder if, going into this endeavor, the band expected its fans to shell out a reasonable $10 — or even more — per album. My guess is, considering their zealously devoted fanbase, they probably did.
Speaking as someone who still buys CDs and loves looking through liner notes, I know I'm in the minority here. But I was truly surprised to learn that most Radiohead fans didn't even open their wallets when "purchasing" In Rainbows.
I didn't buy In Rainbows and haven't even checked it out on iTunes yet. And I generally gripe about paying more than $9.99 for a CD. But as soon as Radiohead announced their experiment, I immediately asked myself how much I would pay for an album by a band I truly, truly loved. I came up with $25 — based on the fact that I recently spent about that much purchasing two copies of Tegan and Sara's The Con after I wore out the first one by overplaying it.
It's interesting (and depressing) that a band like Radiohead, with such a cult following, can't even inspire fans to cough up more than six bucks for an album. Imagine if an artist (term used loosely) like Britney Spears decided to release an album and told buyers to pay whatever they wanted for it. Would anybody really bust out their credit card? I doubt it.
Also, apparently at least one band rep spoke too soon.