It was, more or less, an accident.
The chief advisers to Radiohead, the Grammy-winning British rock act behind platinum albums like â€śOK Computer,â€ť were lounging around, having a â€śmetaphysicalâ€ť conversation about the value of music in the digital realm, when they struck upon the idea of simply releasing new music online and letting fans settle the matter themselves.
it has punctuated a debate about the fair value of music that has accelerated in the last few months. Before Radioheadâ€™s superstar panhandle, Prince offered a free song through Verizon phones (and roughly three million free copies of his new album in a British newspaper). And Trent Reznor of the rock act Nine Inch Nails, which, like Radiohead, is effectively free from a record contract, recently encouraged concertgoers to simply â€śstealâ€ť the bandâ€™s new album and â€śgive it to all your friends.â€ť