10 October 2007

In Rainbows

Today, Radiohead made their newest studio album, In Rainbows, available as a download on their website, for whatever price you wish to pay. This is an impossibly cool idea made more so by the fact that it completely sticks it to the greedy and short-sighted record labels, exposing their utter obsolescence.

This evening after work, I logged on the my computer to purchase the album. Radiohead's site was inaccessible. After dinner I tried again. When I tried to add the album to my shopping cart, I was prompted for a user name and password, which I did not have, and that was the end of that. Just now I tried a third time, and got to the order page again. Sure enough, there was a blank field for me to enter how much, in pounds sterling, I wanted to pay for the album (pounds only??? Don't you know how bad the exchange rate is for Americans, you heartless Brits?).

I entered a sum I considered reasonable (especially since I'm going to buy the album again on CD when it comes out early next year), and hit enter. I received an error message. I tried again. I received a message that "you can only purchase one download." Fair enough. I hit refresh. Again, I offered my price. Another error message. (Bear in mind I am waiting two minutes between each page load). Finally the page comes up again. I enter 0.00 and press "submit."

For some reason, this works. I am aggravated. I try going back in my browser, but of course that doesn't work. I close my browser and start over. For a third time, I enter my price. This time I am placed in a queue. After another eternity, I am taken to the checkout page, where my offered price again shows up as 0.00.

Well, that just tears it. You don't want my money, millionaire rock gods? Fine, you can't have it. I'll take your bloody mp3s for free. Happy?

So now I am downloading my free and legally acquired songs. Radiohead, you want to stick it to the industry, cool. I am 100% behind it. I will even pay for mp3s when what I really want is a CD (so I can burn it to my iPod - don't ask). But for god's sake, tighten up and get your bandwidth issues and site architecture in order. You can buy almost everything in the world online hassle free. Did you have to make things so difficult?

I know technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but I can't help feeling it would have been simpler to walk to a music store, slap $15 on the counter, and walk away with an album in my hands. And with that, I conclude my Andy Rooney-style rant about modern life.


Takethiscrapoffmyhandsplease said...

What would be far cooler than paying in British pounds in any amount you want, would be having the option to pay Radiohead HOW ever you want. Like in twinkies. Or curtain rods. Or packs of brown and black socks from Marshalls. Or a water filter refill pak. Can you type "Commemorative Nel Carter Coffee Mug" in the amount box? If Radiohead really wants to do us all a favor, they'll take all this sort of crap off our hands. This idea of letting people pay what they want is not nearly as revolutionary a marketing ploy as letting people pay HOW they want. Heck, set the price. If they'd say the price is $12 for the album, but you can pay HOWEVER you want, I'd send them $12 worth of coathangers and Valupak coupons for things like discounted car washes. Tighten THAT up... I thought not.

mandy said...

Yeah: In Rainbows for however much you want to give? Tight. Radiohead not making sure they had a pipe large enough to accommodate the demand? Ridiculously slack.

Sooo, how is the album? I've only heard like 30s of a track on NPR.

Pepper said...

Honestly, didn't they see this coming a mile (er, kilometer sterling) away?

I'd like to pay Thom Yorke in Gucci bags.

Pete said...

I like to refer to this as "marketing ploy 101."

Radiohead Guy 1: Hey how come no one ever talks about how awesome Radiohead is anymore?

Radiohead Guy 2: 'cause we haven't made any decent music in years, mate.

Publicist for Radiohead: Why don't you give your album away for free online. Think of all the free advirtising you will get!

Radiohead Guy 3: Umm...I'm not so sure about that...

Radiohead Guys 1 & 2: SHUT UP GUY 3!! Tell us more...

Jordan said...

Pete, I challenge you to a duel.

Matthew said...

Nel Carter is awesome. However, Clarence Carter, Clarence Carter, Clarence Carter, oooow shit, Clarence Carter!