As many people know, last year British rock band Radiohead offered its album, “In Rainbows,” for download under a system whereby the purchaser could choose how much he or she wanted to pay -- as low as $0. As expected, many people downloaded it for free. But mysteriously, 38% of people who downloaded it actually decided to purchase it for an average of $6. This was a great success for Radiohead, which essentially stole the market share from pirates (who inevitably would have distributed it for free), and still made several million dollars. But why would anyone pay for it when they could legally get it for free? Why? Possible answers include:
(1) They were just really, really stupid; (2) Getting stuff for free is not as exciting when it's not illegal; (3) They thought it was some kind of psychological test; (4) They felt bad about all the music they downloaded illegally, and misguidedly thought paying for this one would make up for it; (5) They believed that we, like, have to support each other, man; (6) They thought that Radiohead wasn't wealthy enough yet; (7) They needed a couple extra rewards points on their credit cards to obtain a coveted item; (9) They owed Radiohead money, anyway; (10) They were relatives of Radiohead members who wanted to help the band "make it on their own"; (11) They realized that if enough people paid something, they could prove that a band can make money even when it gives its music away, thereby helping to create an environment where other bands feel confident to give away their music for free, too, resulting in cheaper music for consumers.*On January 1, 2008, after giving away their album for free, Radiohead began to sell it for prices as high as $13.98. Amazingly, in its first week, the album ranked as the top-selling album in the U.S. As of January 10, 122,000 copies were sold in the United States. But why would anyone want to then buy the CD for a fixed price when they could have gotten it for free? Why? Possible answers include:
(1) They're just suckers; (2) They thought it was a slightly different recording; (3) They weren't cool enough-- nobody told them it was available for free until it was too late; (4) CD digital quality sounds so much better than mp3 digital quality; (5) They wanted a physical CD case with liner notes to leave on the coffee table so friends think they're hip; (6) They couldn't handle the pressure of choosing their own price; needed the structure provided by price tag; (7) They hate iPods and iTunes, and don't realize that there are other mp3 players on the market; (8) They wanted to punish Radiohead for trying to trick them into getting something for nothing; (9) They had way too much money lying around.
What do you think? Leave your comments!
* I snuck in a logical reason (number 11) among all the humorous, snarky ones. Sorry!