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Lily Allen has called Radiohead ‘arrogant’ for allowing fans to pay whatever they want to download their latest album.

Allen thinks that the band’s novel approach devalues recorded music, and does not help newer bands.

According to the press-baiting singer:

"It's arrogant for them to give their music away for free - they've got millions of pounds. It sends a weird message to younger bands who haven't done as well. You don't choose how to pay for eggs. Why should it be different for music?"

As someone whose use of MySpace helped her to achieve mainstream success, you might think Allen would appreciate what Radiohead are trying to do i.e. bypassing the labels and delivering music straight to fans.

Contrary to what Allen thinks, this model could work out well for smaller bands too. By distributing downloads cheaply, or even for free, bands can drive demand for live shows and future album releases, as well as getting their music in front of a wider audience. Bands would also be able to retain control over their music, and avoid having to share profits with record labels.

Radiohead disputes comScore’s estimate that just 38% of people paid for the album, but even at the estimated average price of $2.26, the move would still have been a success for them

If just half a million people downloaded the album(more than 300,000 people bought the band’s last album at full price, so this seems a reasonable estimate), this is still $1.1m in income that doesn't have to be shared with EMI.

Related stories:
Radiohead savage comScore’s “wholly inaccurate” figures 
Global CD sales fall, downloads on the rise

Graham Charlton

Published 15 November, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Rick Reiseberichte

I appreciate Radiohead's attempt to circumvent major labels, and their online sales prove them right. However, unlike most newcomer bands their big advantage is, that they could have compensated for any losses, in case this "experiment" would have failed. For many unknown artists it would be financially risky to build the necessary infrastucture to take online sales in their hands.

over 8 years ago

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Craig Killick

With so many online tools, these practices may well become the norm moving forward, with low cost entry to sell music online, Lilly Allen's self promotion on Myspace being a good example. You could argue that she couldn't have got that profile, traditionally, without an expensive PR agency?

Add to that the shear amount of music being made now, again at a low entry cost - think Garageband - and you end up with a massive supply with not enough demand. It's time that the music industry realised that they have to compete just like any other industry. Especially when you add into the mix their entertainment competition including game consoles, movies, etc., which all suffer from the same issues.

The biggest problem is the perception of value attached to a piece of intellectual work, such as music, which in it's very nature is subjective. Perhaps it is really just a commodity. The Internet has changed the rules for the consumer; business needs to catch up.

over 8 years ago

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stormie

ok, i am a huge Radiohead fan so in a whay im upset seh would say a thing like that. Radioheda isnt being arrogent, they wanted to give the fans what they wanted, which was radioheads new album, In Rainbows. They arent doing it to be arrogent, they just wanted to offer the consumers a chance to have the album, they did it because some people want to hear the album daily and we do not wish to wait all the way until January 1 or 2nd. They did us a favor, and its not like they are giving it away for free, if you wanted to you could have paid, like me, i downloaded it sent 10 dollars and also when that box set comes out i am going to buy it, Lily Allen i dont know what your deal is, but i guess everyone is entitled to their own oppion.

over 8 years ago

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Craig Hepburn, Global Director, Digital at Nokia

I had to comment on this as that woman infuriates me. This comment just sums Lily Allen up "Hypocrite" with a capital 'H'. Not only were your comments accurate about her building her fan base in MySpace essentially giving her own music away for free but she also criticises people for trying to be in the limelight all the time...i rest my case!

over 8 years ago

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Bernie

This silly little girl proves how lacking in intelligence she is.

Radiohead have made some great music, and have given their fans what they want again. A friend and myself were talking about this concept a few years ago. It's a great idea, and has taken a lot of courage.
Lily Allen has, again, tried to create a storm but as usual, she can only manage the scale of a tea cup. Enough of the public school chums taking over underground music.
It's not like I can get daddy to hire David Gilmours studio for me to try and start my pop star career (as Lilly did 4 years ago).
It's rubbish that her career started with her my space friends. Her career has been choreographed to the nth degree starting 5 years ago. It's just taken this long because she is so poor. And she looks like a dinner-lady.

over 8 years ago

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Bernie

PS. You can buy friends on myspace if you're that desperate. One of the studios I work for was offered friends for cash.

over 8 years ago

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