Daily Illuminator

October 21, 2007: Radiohead's Newest: It's Up To You

Radiohead, the band behind "Creep" and "Karma Police," have recorded a new album, titled In Rainbows. And they're doing something quite groundbreaking for the music industry.

For the first time, a major recording artist is offering its work for a price set directly by the consumer. Other than a small processing fee, fans can pay any amount, from "nothing" on up to whatever they wish, and instantly download the album from the website.

Reportedly, the band has sold more than a million downloads to date. Exact figures have not been released, but observers estimate the amount paid to be between two and eight US dollars per download.

What does this have to do with the hobby gaming industry? As digital distribution matures, it will become commonplace for the barriers between content creator and consumer to dissolve, a process we've seen in action with the rise of PDF download sites, such as e23, and PDF only publishers, like Ronin Arts.

Are we heading for the days when digital distribution will become the norm for mainstream entertainment? And how will the three-tier system currently in use in our industry change?

Food for thought.
-- Paul Chapman

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