Today, I took advantage of Radiohead's anti-man-in-the-middle distribution model by downloading In Rainbows from the band's website. To recap the download process, I went to their website, entered how much I desired to give Radiohead, entered in my credit card info, and then I was emailed a link to a ZIP file full of MP3s, and that was it. Within about a minute, I had 10 DRM-free MP3 tracks at a relatively high bitrate with a publisher none-the-richer.
A few things motivated me to get this album in this manner. One reason, the physical copies were too expensive weighing in around $80. I would much rather have physical CDs and paper liner notes but I am not quite ready to shell out $80 for them no matter how “deluxe”, so MP3s it was. Another reason is that it is a rare occasion to dictate what you think something is worth, and then actually pay that amount, so I couldn't pass that up.
I have a feeling that Radiohead will see significant income from this release, even if only for the novelty of it. People are so used to getting gouged by the recording companies via price or by DRM restrictions, or having to skirt the law by “borrowing” the albums, or completely giving the law the end-around by grabbing it from some P2P network, that this is a model that most people will be able to buy into, literally. I personally paid 4 pounds (I've never bought anything in pounds before!) which works out to about $8. This is great. Instead of paying what the recording industry thinks I should pay, I get to pay exactly what I think the artists deserve.
Onto the album itself, I really enjoyed it at first listen. Right now, the song that jumps out at me is “Faust ARP.” It sounds like it could have been right in the middle of The Beatles' White Album, but definitely still has that Radiohead ambiance.
Now if only the CDs would come down in price…