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Free Radiohead album distributed by pirates

Free Radiohead album distributed by pirates

Radiohead's latest album sold four times as many copies as its last album in the first week, but even the low price of 'nothing' didn't stop pirates.

Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’ album attempted to change the way the record industry worked by allowing fans to pay as little or as much they want to pay for an infection-free version of the album.

Despite this and Radiohead’s massive first week sales of 1.2 million units, music analysts have said that at least 500,000 users that frequent popular torrent sites have downloaded the album illegally in the same way that they would for an album that will cost £10 in your local record store.

Big Champagne, a US-based organisation that tracks illegal downloading on the Internet, has said that it expects illegal downloads to overtake legal downloads in the coming weeks. The company’s CEO, Eric Garland, believes that most of the 1.2 million legitimate downloads were pre-orders taken in the 10 days between Radiohead’s announcement and its release date.

Garland says that it’s a matter of habit than of economics. “People don’t know Radiohead's site. They do know their favourite BitTorrent site and they use it every day,” said Garland. “It’s quite simply easier for folks to get the illegal version than the legal version.”

In his experience, an album’s store price doesn’t change how often it’ll be pirated. “Albums that are popular in retail are popular among pirates,” said Garland. “In the big picture, if people want something, some will pay and others will find a way to take it for free.”

Whether or not you agree with Radiohead cutting out the record label, the organisation responsible for pushing Radiohead into the limelight, the band’s move has been an alarm bell for the music industry.

Forbes obtained an internal memo that was sent around EMI, the band’s former record label, quoting EMI chairman Guy Hands saying “The industry, rather than embracing digitalisation and the opportunities it brings for the promotion of product and distribution through multiple channels, has stuck its head in the sand. Radiohead’s actions are a wakeup call which we should all welcome and respond to with creativity and energy.”

Do you think the music industry will wake up and realise that conventional distribution methods are not working? Discuss in the forums.

42 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Atomic 18th October 2007, 11:50 Quote
Not really surprising is it, any chart topping band will be torrented eventually.
BioSniper 18th October 2007, 11:52 Quote
Quite sad really, I got it from the Radiohead site and put in the sum of £0.00
Maybe people don't realise you can actually do that or as in the article, people find it easier to go to their torrent sites and hit that download button.
UncertainGod 18th October 2007, 11:56 Quote
Not a surprise at all, there will be some people who won't have realized you can get it for free, or they don't know where to get it from so they revert back to there normal source (torrent sites, etc).
will. 18th October 2007, 11:59 Quote
I downloaded from the official site for free and didn't like it. I was planning on paying £4 or something if I had liked it. I really didn't though and it hasn't even made its way onto itunes.
quack 18th October 2007, 12:00 Quote
So what's the difference between downloading it from Radiohead's site for £0.00 and getting it from BitTorrent? :)
cjoyce1980 18th October 2007, 12:17 Quote
there cheap arses! you can't get better than free and direct
mclean007 18th October 2007, 12:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by quack
So what's the difference between downloading it from Radiohead's site for £0.00 and getting it from BitTorrent? :)
It undermines the whole idea. Radiohead can give it to you for free if they want to, but for you to give a free copy to someone else is wrong. You could look at it as Radiohead wanting all the traffic through their own site so they can track the number of downloads etc. - that might have some value to them which you are denying by getting the album from a torrent. However, the flip side is you could say you are saving their bandwidth, so I guess you can look at it both ways.
jezmck 18th October 2007, 12:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjoyce1980
there cheap arses! ...
where?
knowyourenemy 18th October 2007, 13:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
It undermines the whole idea. Radiohead can give it to you for free if they want to, but for you to give a free copy to someone else is wrong. You could look at it as Radiohead wanting all the traffic through their own site so they can track the number of downloads etc. - that might have some value to them which you are denying by getting the album from a torrent. However, the flip side is you could say you are saving their bandwidth, so I guess you can look at it both ways.

The latter is a tad arbitrary...
Carbon_Arc 18th October 2007, 13:43 Quote
I always wonder with these things just how many of the people who torrent it would have actually bought it anyway?

I would expect most decent human beings to, when presented by a 'name your own price' offer for a band they like, to at least give a couple of quid for the music (especially knowing this will go direct to the band not some record label). But then i'd also expect regular torrent users to download it just because it's available, whether they actually like it or not.

So i think it is wrong to equate illegal downloads to lost sales, i think this is being blown out of proportion by people trying to sell DRM systems to record companies.
mclean007 18th October 2007, 13:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jezmck
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjoyce1980
there cheap arses! ...
where?

over there - look!
RTT 18th October 2007, 13:56 Quote
I paid them 5 quid for the album but the rip was only 160kbps, so i plan to get it from a torrent site at a higher bitrate when it's available.
b0gie 18th October 2007, 14:24 Quote
Is that the best bitrate available for download? If I was paying for it I would certainly want a better bitrate than that.
Vash-HT 18th October 2007, 14:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
It undermines the whole idea. Radiohead can give it to you for free if they want to, but for you to give a free copy to someone else is wrong. You could look at it as Radiohead wanting all the traffic through their own site so they can track the number of downloads etc. - that might have some value to them which you are denying by getting the album from a torrent. However, the flip side is you could say you are saving their bandwidth, so I guess you can look at it both ways.

To me it undermines the whole idea of releasing a CD for free by not distributing it to torrent site. I'm not sure what their motives are for doing this, but it seems hypocritical for them to offer free copies of their CD but say only they can give it out. Also, fail to see how this is an illegal download if they're giving it away themselves, I don't think I would label it pirating at all, its really just another path for distribution.
Drexial 18th October 2007, 15:14 Quote
i figured people would go to the torrents for the higher DL speeds. and if your not going to pay for it, whats it matter if you get it from Radiohead or any other source. i got a copy from a friend cause i wanted to hear it first to know what i would pay for it. I will be paying about $5 for it. I feel thats a fair price for an bit of digital data. and its still more then they would be getting from their label. if it were an actual physical CD i would pay $10
cpemma 18th October 2007, 19:09 Quote
Quote:
Up yours, Radiohead, there's no street cred in getting it legally free through your site.
I know people who pirate Firefox.
LeMaltor 18th October 2007, 19:32 Quote
It is really pirating if something is free anyway? Surely it's just another distribution method/source?
yodasarmpit 18th October 2007, 19:55 Quote
Truth is, if it were not for bit-tech, I wouldn't have known you could download it for free on there own site.
I imagine many other people are in the same boat.
Kysi 18th October 2007, 20:12 Quote
i dont find that suprising at at all. you can enter a price of 00.00 and download the album for free... but that involves registering first. its just a bit of a hassle. i would rather hit up BT and get it. that is familiar to me
dtek 18th October 2007, 20:13 Quote
Bittorrent is about sharing, but the fact doing so with some content violates some sort of copyright doesn't make it an illegal-exclusive way. Since the problem is not sharing itself but the restricted copyrighted content, stating this is a form of pirating is a contradiction, if u want your albums to be freely available, do it in appropiate and well established ways for it.
DriftCarl 18th October 2007, 21:26 Quote
indeed I coudlnt be arsed to register to download the songs. Im not a big fan so I didnt even get it from a torrent site anyway. I still prefer to listen to online streaming radio from sites like www.di.fm But even the RIAA is trying to shut them all down by asking for stupid special internet only radio charges.
theprodigalrebel 18th October 2007, 21:30 Quote
Just because something is on BitTorrent doesn't mean it's pirated. If the content can be had for free - legally - what difference does it make if it's from Radiohead's webserver or BitTorrent seeders? I think the latter are actually helping out Radiohead's server.
reaper1984 18th October 2007, 22:01 Quote
Okay that's it, I can stand one bit of bad grammar in a thread, but not two flagrantly stupid uses of their and there!

yodasarmpit: It's "their own site" not there, you use there when referring to place. e.g. "Fred is over there."

and UncertainGod, same thing, "their" is used usually used in reference to ownership. e.g. "I'm taking the car over to their place."

Vash-HT: good effort with the "they're"

Sorry for being anal, but if you don't believe grammar is important then check here.
That, and you'll thank me when you're writing your CV.
fathazza 18th October 2007, 22:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by reaper1984
Okay that's it, I can stand one bit of bad grammar in a thread, but not two flagrantly stupid uses of their and there!

yodasarmpit: It's "their own site" not there, you use there when referring to place. e.g. "Fred is over there."

and UncertainGod, same thing, "their" is used usually used in reference to ownership. e.g. "I'm taking the car over to their place."

Vash-HT: good effort with the "they're"

Sorry for being anal, but if you don't believe grammar is important then check here.
That, and you'll thank me when you're writing your CV.


crikey two posts and already correcting spelling and calling people stupid.:|
The_Beast 18th October 2007, 22:40 Quote
wherever is faster that is where I would have downloaded it from
DXR_13KE 18th October 2007, 22:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yodasarmpit
Truth is, if it were not for bit-tech, I wouldn't have known you could download it for free on there own site.
I imagine many other people are in the same boat.

i am in the same boat.....

edit: reaper1984, be nice, this is an international forum and some people are not native English speakers.... and some people are simply in a hurry. ;)

and fathazza please don't start with that postcount thing.
fathazza 18th October 2007, 23:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE


and fathazza please don't start with that postcount thing.

i'll let you get away with that seeing as youve got more posts than me.
completemadness 19th October 2007, 00:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeMaltor
This is a forum about computers and technology, take you're grammer and shuv it up ur aSS! ;)
i think what he said is quite fair tbh

The use of their and there can be a pain in the ass, and its used wrong all too often on forums and stuff
And lets face it, it makes reading posts hard as well, as you have to re-read it at least twice because it didn't make sense due to the wrong one being used
DXR_13KE 19th October 2007, 01:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fathazza
i'll let you get away with that seeing as youve got more posts than me.

lets not fight, lets be friends ;) lets make the world a better place :D

and don't let the grammar nazis get you writing youve instead of you've.....
Snowball 19th October 2007, 02:28 Quote
This is a very clever marketing scheme IMHO. One of my friend's has their site linked to her blog now, and she doesn't even like them.
She just likes the concept.
Mary Jo 19th October 2007, 08:59 Quote
The reason for torrenting it is because the internet download is poor quality. If they'd released it in FLAC or similar, there'd be no need for torrents.

Many people haven't paid for the album because of the low quality download.
[USRF]Obiwan 19th October 2007, 09:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by reaper1984
Okay that's it, I can stand one bit of bad grammar in a thread, but not two flagrantly stupid uses of their and there!

In case You didnt noticed... This a international forum with people from all over the world. Dont expect that everyone can articulate in perfect english or slang. To expect people to write perfectly is a bit naive, besides its a forum not a bookclub!
impar 19th October 2007, 10:13 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Free Radiohead album distributed by pirates
What a surprise... Not!

Pirates just dont care. Wether they are seafaring pirates, organized pirates or just P2P freeloaders, they... just... dont... care! A prey is a prey!
Wether its a yacht in the Malacca Strait, a copy of Episode 2 or a you-make-the-price album, they dont care!

Truly a shame that to the mainstream media P2P equals content piracy. :(
LeMaltor 19th October 2007, 10:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
i think what he said is quite fair tbh

The use of their and there can be a pain in the ass, and its used wrong all too often on forums and stuff
And lets face it, it makes reading posts hard as well, as you have to re-read it at least twice because it didn't make sense due to the wrong one being used

It was completely off topic the same as my now deleted post is, his is no more on topic and should have been deleted too (great modding on this bit by the way)

There, their and they're, there's three of them
AngelOfRage 19th October 2007, 10:41 Quote
I went to look for it on their official site, except is was running very slowly and even when it did finally load, trying to find the actual link was a pain in the backside as it's not a very user friendly website. I got it from my normal torrent site because a) it's easy to navigate and b) it downloads faster.

Ofcourse the album is rubbish and not as good as any of their previous stuff.

On the topic of quality when are legal alternatives going to start making uncompressed formats available for general download?
cpemma 19th October 2007, 16:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF]Obiwan
In case You didn't noticed... This a international forum with people from all over the world. Don't expect that everyone can articulate in perfect English...
True, and the native English-speakers should remember that and try to set a decent example so the non-natives aren't confused or pick up bad habits. ;)

But the thread topic is flaws in the "marketing" approach by Radiohead; I know shareware authors have tried releasing their programs as un-crippled 'donationware' and been very disappointed by the income generated. It's just not a practical business model, given human nature. :(
Snowball 22nd October 2007, 21:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpemma
I know shareware authors have tried releasing their programs as un-crippled 'donationware' and been very disappointed by the income generated. It's just not a practical business model, given human nature. :(
Yeah but artists make most of their money on merchandise and concerts anyway. Even a platnium record only gets them a few hundred thousand dollars. The promotion is better than the sales they'd lose.
cpemma 7th November 2007, 23:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpemma
It's just not a practical business model, given human nature. :(
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Register
In this survey, almost two-thirds of downloaders paid nothing for the album, and only 38 per cent made a contribution at all.

Overall, the band grossed about a quid per download, reckons ComScore. People who paid contributed an average of $6.00 (£2.89) - but once freeloaders were included, that falls to just $2.26, or £1.09 per album.

Either way, you can't build much of a business off a quid an album - that much we already knew (although digital utopians spend much of the time in denial about this).

The takeaway point from this will trouble anyone selling sound recordings, whether they're a basement indie or an established label - it's the fact that a top band with a worldwide fanbase which has been waiting four years for a new release, can only expect a quid from each LP in a voluntary model.

Clever bands who want a worldwide audience jump onto a major label. Now you know why.
completemadness 8th November 2007, 03:03 Quote
Interesting, i guess the real question is, how much more money did radiohead make over going with a record label, i wonder if they got more then £1 anyway

Also, are the people who paid nothing people who wouldn't have bought it/downloaded it anyway?
impar 8th November 2007, 09:26 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
Interesting, i guess the real question is, how much more money did radiohead make over going with a record label, i wonder if they got more then £1 anyway
The question is how much less money they did over going with a record label.

Castle offered an educated guess about what the British band was earning at the label. He figures that in every year a Radiohead album was released, it was EMI's top-selling record. The band likely negotiated a larger royalty rate than most performers earn.
He guessed that when royalties were combined with money earned from publishing, Radiohead saw between $3 and $5 for every album sale.


And, for the $2.26, they still have to pay the costs.

Radiohead made the best marketing esqueme of the year, by far. They still need a label to produce/distribute the coming hard copy of the album, yet they caught everybodys attention being the "man against the machine".
mclean007 8th November 2007, 10:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Greetings!The question is how much less money they did over going with a record label.

Castle offered an educated guess about what the British band was earning at the label. He figures that in every year a Radiohead album was released, it was EMI's top-selling record. The band likely negotiated a larger royalty rate than most performers earn.
He guessed that when royalties were combined with money earned from publishing, Radiohead saw between $3 and $5 for every album sale.


And, for the $2.26, they still have to pay the costs.

Radiohead made the best marketing esqueme of the year, by far. They still need a label to produce/distribute the coming hard copy of the album, yet they caught everybodys attention being the "man against the machine".
Ah, but isn't $2.26 misleading? How many of the 62% who didn't pay for the album would actually have bought the physical CD? Also, I have downloaded the album (paid) at home, and (free) at work. If that counts as two separate copies, then it is misleading, because I obviously wasn't going to buy two copies of the CD. I'm sure many others have done the same.

The marginal costs of this exercise are negligible - 100MB of bandwidth per download is pretty cheap these days, and they also build a valuable list of e-mail addresses of those who downloaded this album for use when their next album/tour needs to be marketed.
impar 8th November 2007, 11:00 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
Ah, but isn't $2.26 misleading?
Isnt this all experience misleading?

Radiohead only got so much publicity because they are a known band (via label marketing department), a new band starting with this distribution model has no chance. This album got P2Ped as much as the others have, maybe more since it was more known.
They still need a label to produce/distribute the coming hard copy of the album.

Its marketing, original and successful marketing.

PS:
And check the hard copy details:
http://www.overclockers.com/tips01225/
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