Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Digital Pioneers Sour on ‘Pay What You Want’ Music

Interesting article from Greg Sandoval:

But that dream has turned into a nightmare, according to Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke [… who] indicated that he and his bandmates may have done more harm than good in 2007 when they self released the album In Rainbows and allowed fans to pay whatever they chose. By turning music commerce into a sort of large tip jar, the In Rainbows offer was hailed as a forerunner of what the music industry would one day become.

Spotify and Rdio have allowed people to listen to music on demand for very little money, but that means that artists barely get paid. Though music revenues were greater in 2012 than they were in 2011, it’s a field that is more competitive than ever — anyone can make a record and upload it to Bandcamp.

I love paying for music that I enjoy. I don’t mind receiving digital files, but a physical package that has been comprehensively designed and considered is much more rewarding, and I am willing to pay more for it. I own one of the deluxe edition “Ghosts” packages, and will soon be receiving a vinyl copy of “MBV”. These feel worth their price. I think that’s what fans enjoy — provide a physical product with value, alongside an inexpensive digital download. The “pay what you want” scheme cheapens the experience by constantly hinting that you could have paid less, which means that the music is assigned little value.