Same game, different rules

I think I might finally forgive Sasha Frere Jones for this bit of ridiculousness (unless I can somehow prove a direct cause and effect to it and this ridiculousness) because of this post on Radiohead’s “Nude” remixes.

You know, what Radiohead did in giving away its album for free was pretty impressive, even though it’s only applicable if you’re a band with Radiohead-level status in the music industry. They were able to prove once and for all that giving away your music doesn’t automatically mean you’ll hurt your sales. But it was still just marketing. Brilliant marketing, but marketing nonetheless. It didn’t create a model that didn’t already exist, and it didn’t make anyone redundant (except maybe Doug Morris).

And the “Nude” remix idea is also brilliant. But it was brilliant a year and a half ago when the Barenaked Ladies did it. So maybe we should stop calling these moves brilliant, and just call them precedent-setting instead. Because the thing you can really give Radiohead credit for is making it easier for everyone who comes after them to do the same thing.

And if they could do it in a way that doesn’t make it seem like they were finding new ways to charge you again (five times over!) for something you technically already bought once, that would be even better.

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