It was, more or less, an accident.  
The chief advisers to Radiohead, the Grammy-winning British rock act behind platinum albums like “OK Computer,” were lounging around, having a “metaphysical” 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 Radiohead’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 “steal” the band’s new album and “give it to all your friends.”
clu: It's an exciting time for the evolving recording industry.
DirtyJ: but how are they going to determine the dollar amounts for downloading them illegally if someone can say its only worth a penny...  
FoolProof: They can't. Base market value is $0.00