Radiohead have fired the latest salvo in the "music industry versus the internet" battle. The band, now free of a recording contract, will sell their album directly to fans, who get to pay what they think the album is worth. Tech Crunch has the writeup here, but there's a little bit of music industry they've missed, so I'll fill in some blanks. The RIAA's war on the internet, file sharing and piracy has been going on a while now. Musos have had a few options of how to deal with the P2P monster which was stealing their livelihoods (or at least the few cents per album sale which their recording contracts gave them). You could go down the path that Metallica and Dr Dre went in the war on Napster and take the war directly to the people trading your music. Our historical time machine Wikipedia reminds us that "both Metallica and Dr. Dre later delivered thousands of usernames to Napster who they believed were pirating their songs". Nice way to show your fans the love! Prince was a more recent conscript in the music industry's war on the net, announcing earlier this month he would sue YouTube to 'regain control of his music videos'. But perhaps our biggest musical luddite is Elton John who called for the internet to be banned full stop. Or you could go the Radiohead path, bypass the music industry completely and sell your music direct to fans online. They're certainly not the first to ask fans to pay what they think the music's worth - Jane Silberry (who famously duetted with kd lang on 'Calling all Angels') has done that for years through Sheeba. But they are perhaps the most high profile act to try it so far. Good luck to them!
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