While labels want more from their artists and retailers, in 2007, Radiohead gave away their new record, “In Rainbows” for whatever a fan wanted to pay. It seems that of the 100,000 downloads (according to Big Champagne) the average fan–who wanted to pay anything–paid about $9 US. (How many opted to pay $0 is only the band knows.) Regardless, the campaign translated into great physical sales as well. Something few experts predicted.

The “In Rainbows” ranked as one of the top-selling albums this month, selling 122,000 copies in the US. While it’s far less compared to 2003’s “Hail to the Thief” and other major label releases, think of the gross revenue to the group; $1.50 per record on a major, compared to about $7.00 per unit sold “independently.” The figures also back up something I’ve been saying for a while now: music fans still like owning physical product, namely CDs.

On the other hand, if the public thinks and album is worth $9 US, what do they think stealing it is worth to the poor label victimized by illegally downloading? In 2007 a civil jury spoke loudly on that as well— $9,700 per song (about $100,000 per album.) Now that “the people” have put a price on using illegal P2P, you would think that everyone would flock to the “pay whatever you want” model. But no, studies show that P2P file-sharing is still alive and well.

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