Radiohead's Tip Jar Is Empty

The election is over and the results are in.

No, Hillary didn't beat Rudy and Rudy didn't beat Hillary.

Radiohead beat itself.

Nice try. Radiohead deserves credit for doing what the labels refuse to do -- innovate. They are still very cool for trying.

The British band let fans decide how much to pay for a digital copy of their new release "In Rainbows" and most of their loyal, loyal friends decided to pay...


That's right. 62% downloaded the music free during a four-week period last month proving once again that the electorate has given the music industry a mandate -- lower your prices.

On the positive side -- if you could call it that -- 38% elected to pay an average of $6 according to results from comScore Inc.

Radiohead released its seventh studio album to the public in a controversial and creative move because it's major label contract expired and they chose not to sign a new one.

About 1.2 million people visited Radiohead's web site. Some 40% of US residents reportedly paid for the music -- averaging $8.05 per album (outside the US -- 36% of the fans paid an average of $4.64).

What does this mean?

1. The majority of downloaders are freeloaders. Who don't know this -- as we say back in Philly. Now there's more evidence.

2. Fans are fans if they get the music for free as opposed to fans in past eras who voted with their wallets at the record store. Times have changed. Music is a commodity like -- well, like text messages.

3. Radiohead will probably sign a contract with another major record label. Why? Well, you can't live in the lifestyle that you have become accustomed to unless you generate revenue. How good is Madonna looking now, by the way, now that she sold herself to Live Nation.

4. Steve Jobs is right. A cut is worth 99 cents for the convenience factor alone. An album is worth $9.99 online if you must own it and the majority of people must not own it. But 99 cents is an absolute highest price point. A tune in the days ahead must be cheaper or piracy will explode.

5. Britney Spears may be smarter than Radiohead as it turns out. She just had the number one single. Now, a #2 album (which had been designated number one before Billboard revised its chart policy). The Spears album isn't half bad. The popular press is ridiculing her constantly and the wheels are coming off of her so-called life. But Britney has a record label paying her support bills.

Some 62% of Radiohead's fans stiffed them at the tip jar.

100% of AT&T's cell phone customers pay them every time they text message someone.

Is it getting any easier to see the solution?

Music is priced too high. The marketplace is speaking and no one is listening.

Music for the price of a text message -- addictive, compulsive and easy to collect.

Now that's money in the bank.

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