The Price of Free

Coldplay are giving their new single away.

For the next seven days you can download it for free - in advance of the proper release next week.

It is the next logical step -- if Radiohead will allow you to give them whatever you want to pay, then surely the Next Big Thing (To Save The Dying Industry) is to let the audience have the music for free.  Why not - the kids are just going to steal it anyways.

Radiohead would now like you to know that their pricing strategy (reports Wired) for In Rainbows was a "one-off".  ie - a gimmick.   Why?  If you have set a precedent for something, follow through.  The average price paid for the download was £4.  The PR generated from the stunt certainly offset the differential between the voluntary price and the standard price of the album.  Die-hard fans then had the option of paying £40 for the box set - which would have carried a significant mark up.

To get the Coldplay single you need to give up your email address. You then get to receive spam - no doubt regarding Coldplay's worldtour (for which you will pay the earth not only for a ticket, but to travel to and from the stadium venue) and merchandise (which has a 900% mark-up).

Coldplay don't need to give their single away for free - radio will still play it non-stop over the next few weeks, and everyone in the country will be able to whine along with it in no time.  This is a PR stunt, but one which devalues music.  Perhaps they should let us pay what we think the track is worth?

No comments: