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.