Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Radiohead Revolution?

So, I just finished downloading my copy of In Rainbows (which is awesome, btw) and was thinking to myself that years from now I might look back on this day as the beginning of the end for the music industry as we know it. Granted, there are still many unknowns that need to be answered before we can judge the success of Radiohead's DIY business model as a sea change for the industry or merely a modest success for an already wildly popular band. What we do know is that Radiohead's trail-blazing (at least, for a band of their stature) ways have already inspired several big name artists to flip the bird to the major record labels.

Just yesterday the blogosphere was abuzz with the news that Trent Reznor, the man behind Nine Inch Nails, is leaving Interscope now that his contract has expired and intends to stay a "free agent" for the foreseeable future. And in Wednesday's edition of the Daily Telegraph comes news that Oasis and Jamiroquai have plans to release their next albums for free via digital download. Also in the same article is word that The Charlatans (or Charlatans UK as they are known in the States) plan to do the same.

If this trend continues then the industry will truly be turned completely on its head. It makes sense, since basic economic principles dictate that the cost of producing music will continue to fall until it eventually approaches zero, so what are the major labels going to do when that happens? One would think the RIAA and its members have some sort of strategy, but my guess is they are too busy suing consumers to really be bothered with such menial tasks. Which is actually a good thing since they are hardly the type of people who would embrace innovation anyway. The sooner they get eliminated from the equation the better it will be for music artists and consumers alike.

No comments: