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Radiohead, free is not enough

Radiohead, free is not enough

When piracy is a habit, not even Radiohead’s groundbreaking move can do anything. Potentially free, devoid of any kind of DRM system, the album In Rainbows, on the first day of the release, is bursting from the BitTorrent networks to the players of 240 thousand users .

Since then, reports Techcrunch, 100 thousand users a day they got it like that. It is likely that they are random downloaders, intrigued by the file posted just one click away from the album that interested them so much. This is how if legal downloads have reached 1 million and 300 thousand, if an unspecified number of users have even decided to reward the band with an offer ranging between five and eight dollars, “illegal” downloads are rapidly reaching those. offered by the band.

It is therefore not the price on the market, nor are the DRM locks the reason for preferring file sharing systems to a legal offer, suggests BigChampagne CEO Eric Garland, interviewed by Forbes. Music distributors are already trembling, starting to sell DRM-free at popular prices to try to accommodate the market.

Rather, the question lies in the habit to P2P and unmatched comfort of file sharing systems: simply, Garland suggests, “it’s easier for people to get the illegal version than access the legal version.” An opinion also shared by bloggers, who defend the potential and immediacy of using BitTorrent networks.

Is the threshold of tolerance of the music listener therefore low to the point that the request to enter a name and an e-mail address is enough to discourage one from accessing a legal and free download? Is it low to the point of pushing the user towards fast and illegal downloading, should there be time to download from the official servers of bands like Radiohead? So thinks Doug Lichtman, an intellectual property expert and professor at UCLA School of Law. Lichtman is also convinced that this attitude of users, that the massive scale of In Rainbows exchanges on torrent networks, disqualifies and decrees the failure of Radiohead’s innovative proposal .

But Lichtman’s observation does not appear far-sighted: Radiohead have distributed, only through the dedicated store, six times the copies of the previous album. The success of Radiohead, however, should not be measured exclusively on the number of copies legally requested: even the “pirate albums” allow music listeners to make the band known and appreciated to thrill a slice of the public who will be enthusiastic about attending concerts, buying physical copies and merchandising.

Gaia Bottà