How to make your customers very unhappy

Radiohead have taken their fate into their own hands– they’ve refused to sell their new album through iTunes (and apparently other online stores as well). I don’t think you can buy physical CDs either.

Normally, I would cheer them on, but…

The problem is, YOU CAN’T DOWNLOAD THE MUSIC. I put their release date in my calendar (I’m a pretty big radiohead fan). Went to the site on the 10th of October. The site was crashed. Went back this weekend. Site not working. (I did manage to read something about the new album, but almost went BLIND trying to read their website.)

Do I go back and try to download the album again? Or should I now boycott Radiohead until they release their music on iTunes where it’s convenient for me?

Steve Jobs had a good point- most people would prefer to pay $9.99 for an album rather than “work for minimum wage” to download an album for free (or even £1). I happily bought Thom Yorke’s Eraser on iTunes. One click an it was on my iPod.

I’ve actually spent more time trying to get the new Radiohead album than its taken to write this rant (which is far, far to long). Maybe someone will be kind enough to download the music, burn it on a CD and give it to me for my birthday.


  1. The problem is you’re considering yourself Radio Head’s ‘customer’.

    Customers are people from whom one earns money. Under their old arrangement (record label, distributor, retailer, etc), yes, you would have paid money for the album, but that in no way makes you Radio Head’s customer. The money all goes to middle men. My guess is they saw very little of the money you spent. So, under the current situation, they also see very little of your money. Either way they are in the same boat.

  2. Hi Ed- Yes, I do consider myself Radiohead’s customer. They make a product I buy it.

    One of the industry’s dirty little secrets is the fact that artists make *much* more money on concerts than they do on music sales. This is the REAL product they want me to buy. I have no doubt that radiohead have now made more from direct downloads than they would have through traditional channels (which is great)- but they’ve even admitted that the music revenue isn’t what’s driving this.

    Giving music away as a loss leader is a great idea- especially if you can sell out Wembley Stadium at £50 per seat! That makes keeping me as a “customer” a priority…

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