Radiohead release "pay what you can" album

Radiohead's next album, "In Rainbows", will be released in digital download format next week. That in itself isn't totally new, but here's the twist: the band are letting punters choose how much they pay for it. For people who still like a bit of packaging there's a £40 box set available, with vinyl and CD versions and a bonus disc, AND the downloads,  but nevertheless it's a pioneering move.

There are rumblings in the music press that it's all very well for Radiohead and Prince, who've had years of record company investment to get them to a position where they can release things themselves (even if Prince did choose the Mail on Sunday, in surely one of the most bizarre tie-ins ever). But we can still think of a few albums that we wish had been released on a "pay what it's worth" basis:

  • T'Pau -- Bridge of Sighs: a massive hit until everyone came to their senses about a day later. We know from bitter personal experience that London's famous Record and Tape Exchange refused to take this record back.
  • Lou Reed, Metal Machine Music: an album consisting entirely of guitar feedback. Was it just Reed's way of ending an unhappy record contract? He says not: "I was serious about it. I was also really, really stoned."
  • Sting. Just Sting as a whole, especially in the past decade or so since his accountant nicked several million and he failed to notice.

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