As noted by Digital Audio Insider, lots of economists seem to think that what Radiohead is doing is analogous to working for tips; Bob Lefsetz thinks so too. Folks, let me ask you something: When you last went out to dinner, did your waiter or waitress ask for your name, email address, postal address, telephone numbers, and for permission to contact you with information about other services they could provide to you? And will they use this information to create a customer database to do targeted direct marketing to you and all the other people they’ve served, using the amounts of your tips to tailor their marketing appropriately? I’m guessing that they didn’t and they won’t.
Put simply, Radiohead is making the following offer: We will provide you a digital album at a price that you choose, and in return you will help us to more effectively sell you something else at a price that we choose. Whatever this is, I don’t think it’s asking for tips. So could we kill this analogy please?