In Rainbows

I knew I was going to buy this new Radiohead record. Just for the experience of buying music at whatever price you want to pay was enough to do it. But beyond that, I’ve listened this morning and I am happy to have bought it because it’s wonderful music too.

Yesterday I saw Chartreuse’s three twitter posts:


That was pretty much all it took. I made up my mind to get the record asap.

This morning I tuned into the Hype Machine’s popular list. It was Radiohead for the first three tracks. That reminded me and I went to the In Rainbows site and went for it. The service crapped out on my a couple times getting into the purchasing system, but third time was a charm.

I decided to pay 2 pounds plus the .45 pound service charge. That’s $5US. Seemed about right to me. A bit  more than Chartreuse paid but I this record is going on five iPods, our sonos system, and our digital music system, in two homes. It’s the least I could do. Honestly I probably should have paid more.

The download was super quick, like instantaneous. Way quicker than iTunes, Amazon, or eMusic. Not sure how they do that, but it’s really great.

So, the record? Only one listen so far, but it’s classic Radiohead. This was my favorite song on the first pass through the record.

Weird Fishes – Radiohead – In Rainbows

I also dig this one

Jigsaw Falling Into Place – Radiohead – In Rainbows

#My Music

Comments (Archived):

  1. Vijay Veerachandran

    Thanks for sharing the track..

  2. Fraser

    My pick is “All I Need”.I paid $0.00. Why? Because I haven’t been a Radiohead fan since Ok Computer years ago but was intrigued to experience the process. The album is classic Radiohead, and I’ve now loaded up my playlist for the day with a bunch of their old albums. Don’t think of it as them losing an album sale (I wouldn’t have purchased it). Think of it as customer reclamation. To do that for a cost of $0.00 is a great deal for them.

    1. fredwilson

      FraserThink about going back and giving them a couple bucks. The thing we gottaget rid of this idea that music/art/etc should be freeFred

      1. Fraser

        I buy a lot of music, happily. I also love live music. Music is a big part of my life. I wouldn’t have bought this album, even for $1. Just wasn’t interested. I checked it out because of the way it was distributed. I probably should go back and pay some amount, and probably will, but I think the larger point is that the marginal cost of distributing it to me approached zero, and they’ve won back a fan, will now make money from my transaction, and will benefit from my positive word of mouth.

  3. Andrew Baisley

    It was super fast. It’s coming down via Level 3 according to Dan Rayburn. http://blog.streamingmedia….Andrew

  4. markslater

    you paid $5? why would you not pay closer to what the market was? i mean Ok so they have cut out the retail and label part of the value chain, but not everyone who would have before is going to contribute. coupla bucks for a piece of art? come on. Thing is – someone should be tracking what users do pay that way there is some basic form of social accountability to this new way of consuming art.

    1. fredwilson

      What is the market for this record?

      1. markslater

        i said market WAS – assuming 10-15 for a cd no. You should know that the market here is free – anyone paying a dime is paying premium right 😉

  5. Chris Dodge

    Funny, even before reading your post, I also paid 2 pounds sterling, which “felt” about right.They are still going to make a killing on this, given that they are probably getting 95% profit margins on a per transaction basis.I’ve been in the Digital Media industry since 1999 (mainly online video) and this is absolutely the biggest seismic event that I’ve seen to date. It’s finally gotten me excited again to be in this industry. It’s interesting to pair this development with the successful RIAA lawsuit. Obviously there’s going to be a distinction between “back catalog” which will be controlled by labels and new recordings. One will try to control the withering channels and the other will sell direct to public at a substantial improvement in margins. That disjoint between consumer value of backcatalog and current catalog will be interesting to follow: i.e. what will Radiohead’s OK Computer be worth now to consumers?Interesting times indeed.I’m disappointed however in that they will likely not publish the results of this “experiment”, e.g. total # downloads, average donated price, max donated price. I love these type of analyitics.

  6. kyle s

    from what i can tell (from here and from posts at marginal revolution), the average price paid is pretty low – probably around 1-2 pounds. does radiohead get to keep all of that, or do they have to pay a record company part of it? i suspect that they will sell a ton of albums this way just because of the relative novelty of the distribution mechanism.still, it’s hard to see this as the “wave of the future” for album distribution. once the novelty wears off, the much lower price paid per sale is likely to remain a given, but greatly increased sales aren’t. personally, i’m much more excited about amazon’s music store – it seems to be the perfect blend of drm-free, platform-agnostic, good selection, and reasonable prices i look for in an online music store.

  7. Josef

    Everyone with an iPod on the subway yesterday was probably listening. I ran into 3 friends on the street with their white headphones in, and yes, they were listening to InRainbows.The site kept crashing, so I had a friend IM it to me. ‘Theft’ of music online is more about convenience than it is not wanting to pay. Speaking of which, hadn’t seen you comment on Ian Rodgers recent blog post that many in the web music community are buzzing about.

  8. trush

    They’ll get me on the $80 discbox. I’m a sucker for great packaging (like Sigur Ros vinyl) and Radiohead always has some great stuff.Caught the album at a listening party on Orchard St last night but can’t wait to throw on some big headphones and get into it.

  9. scott truitt

    Along with Bodysnatchers, Fred’s two picks are my favorites so far. Still, I have to say I’m surprised by their decision to go with 160kbps. The muffled and muddied sound quality of the files feels like a bootleg copy, or something I downloaded illegally because I couldn’t wait for the full and final release…I downloaded a bootleg copy of Hail to the Thief well before its official release, which is not something I normally do but I really want to hear it. I have to wonder if Radiohead didn’t realize that In Rainbows would be leaked soon and quickly p2p’d into the hands of anyone who wanted it. Seen in that light, this is clearly a very shrewd move, and likely very lucrative even if most people pay very little for it. It’s quite likely that a high percentage of those who downloaded this version will buy the cd when it comes out next year.Just the same, I expected better, and most importantly I paid for it too. Perhaps I’ve been ruined by, where I buy almost all of my music these days. It’s DRM free, 320kbps, and reasonably priced. Strange to call that the bare minimum when it seems like the gold standard, but that’s how I rip mp3s from a cd. And since I refuse to buy cds anymore, except in special situations, that’s how I want my mp3s.I’m a huge Radiohead fan, but this feels like a bit of a bait and switch. The buying experience was lousy, the quality of the files is poor, and there was no embedded artwork. Yes, it’s still a new Radiohead album — and I haven’t stopped listening to it since Wednesday morning — but the whole process feels rushed at best, or half-assed at worst. And I have to wonder why.

    1. Chris Dodge

      Scott,I can’t attest to why they went with 160kbs with no artwork, maybe to keep bandwidth costs down in case too many people chose to pay nothing. But that compression quality and packaging can be easily remedied if/when other bands decide to follow suit. So I wouldn’t hold that against them since this is really a “baby step” towards a bold new vision. Heck, it’s a lot better than iTunes. I also liked the fact they just used straight/boring HTTP GETS for file downloads rather than some client-side Download Manager that needed to be installed. However, a self-extracting ZIP would have been preferable.I still think they are going to make a lot more money on this release than they would have had they went with a label.This success – both in terms of artistic freedom and financial compensation – will attract other major acts to do this as well. So, I think we should give them due respect and support them as pioneers.

    2. fredwilson

      Could be they want to make the point that you get what you pay for with mp3sFred

  10. Brian

    Reckoner! Reckoner! Reckoner! This is by far the new classic song.I paid $20 US for the following reasons: 1) Radiohead was the soundtrack of my college, so I feel I owe them for not paying for Hail to the Thief 2) If nothing else, I want to encourage them to keep writing music… whenever and however they decide to do it and 3) half of the $20 was my desire to see this experiment work… I don’t care how it all shakes out, but I’ve been waiting for the current business model of music to die for… well 8 years now. If a little extra bucks translates into headlines that this experiment was a wild success, and other bands follow Radiohead’s lead, the general quality of my life goes up exponentially.

    1. New West Living

      Great comment Brian! I admire folks who do good things for the sake of doing something good.”…and other bands follow Radiohead’s lead, the general quality of my life goes up exponentially.”CLASSIC!

  11. jackson

    Fraser,Says you, you cheap dick.I hope all you love dies horribly.

  12. Matt

    A moot point, but what do you think this does to the concept of a gold/platinum double uranium album? Would you count all downloads as purchases? Is that fair?

  13. Geoff

    Very impressive indeed the 48.4MB file downloaded here in the UK at 452KB/sec which is about the max of my cable line. I paid £2.00 but they added £0.45 for the credit card company. Interestingly this is the first money I have spent on music for years! I listen to mostly.

  14. Frank

    I paid £40 (~$81.33) for the box-set.DISCBOXTHIS CONSISTS OF THE NEW ALBUM, IN RAINBOWS, ON CD AND ON 2 X 12 INCH HEAVYWEIGHT VINYL RECORDS.A SECOND, ENHANCED CD CONTAINS MORE NEW SONGS, ALONG WITH DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHS AND ARTWORK.THE DISCBOX ALSO INCLUDES ARTWORK AND LYRIC BOOKLETS.ALL ARE ENCASED IN A HARDBACK BOOK AND SLIPCASE.THE ALBUM DOWNLOAD AUTOMATICALLY COMES WITH THIS PACK.YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE FILE DIGITALLY FROM THE 10TH OCTOBER 2007.Ok, I am an avid Radiohead fan. Listen to No Surprises for my reasons why.Now if Radiohead had brought out this album the traditional way I would have bought it the day it became available, at considerably less than $81. Now while folks download this album and choose to pay far less than the price of a traditional CD, avid fans like me are prepared to pay (be overcharged ?) for the collectables and the premium content.Maybe there are enough of us in the world to make this a very sweet deal for Radiohead. I certainly hope so. The need to be rewarded for their artistry.Rock on Radiohead.

  15. scottythebody

    I paid $10.00. I purchased their first CD, then downloaded every subsequent album. I never really listened to them that much, but I felt like I owed them for the little bit of enjoyment I got out of the old catalog, too. Otherwise, I would have paid about $5.00 like Fred, which I feel is a perfect amount if you cut out the middle people. That’s also what the show should cost a la Fugazi.

  16. scottythebody

    Which reminds me. A buddy of mine wants to open a restaurant called “The Buck and Five Spot” where everything is either $1.00 (a small draft beer, a small nice sausage, a single nibble of yumminess) or $5.00 (a glass of wine, a micro brew, a small plate of freshly-fried potatoes, a large spoonfull of paella). I think that would rule.