Friday, May 30, 2008

Prince vs. Radiohead - You Gotta GIve to Get

I just read a post with a great socal media lesson:

Prince (you remember, the little purple fellow) is clamping down on every unlicensed use of his name, likeness and music anywhere he can find it online. Among other recent absurdities, he recently leveraged the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to have a family remove an online video of their 18-month old dancing to his 1980's hit "Let's Go Crazy."

At the far end of the spectrum, the band Radiohead has been doing everything they can to give away their music. In October '07 they announced that a fully digital version of their new album would be available online for whatever anyone wanted to pay for it - name your price. $25? 25¢? whatever you think its worth. They also developed a widget for fans to use on their social media pages - to play/broadcast Radiohead songs, videos, it's all fair game.

Upon its commercial release in Jan 08, the new Radiohead album debuted in the #1 slot on the Billboard charts.

Now, it's not surprising that someone like Prince who makes a living off of his name and music might overreact in trying to protect it. The fascinating thing is just how counter-productive that sort of behavior is in the face of today's social media.

Radiohead has a smash success on their hands because they have figured out how to fan the flames of social media by giving away what they ultimately aim to sell - while people like Prince seem hell bent on dousing fans with cold water.

WARNING: The linked post on MASHABLE contains an embedded video of Prince performing the Radiohead song "Creep." And it's...well...let's just say "creepy."

1 comment:

berry said...

I'm not a huge Radiohead fan, but I just had to get involved and try to hear the "free" music after hearing about this revolutionary move. I actually ended up downloading it for about what I felt was a fair price (about $10). The music sonically sounds decent, and the songs were worth it. Another ironic part of this story is that Prince was one of the very first artists to make their music available online without a record label's help. Luckily he still makes a decent song once in a while.