Radiohead is using digital honesty boxes to sell their new album, "In Rainbows." The term honesty box refers to the boxes placed next to road-side stands selling goods (newspapers, flowers, fresh produce, homemade jam) or services (like park park entrance fees), that rely on the honor system. Merchants put their faith in the people that they will make an honest contribution, either paying a set rate or giving donations, in exchange for the product they're getting.
So how is Radiohead implementing the concept?
All ten tracks of the new album will be available for download as of October 10.
"Fans that tried to pre-order the release this week were told they could name their own price," CNN reported. "A blank price box appears on screen saying 'it's up to you' and 'no really, it's up to you.'
"In the UK, the usual price per track for downloads is 79 pence. Fans already have begun debating in chat rooms what the appropriate price is to pay. Some have even admitted to paying nothing which hasn't impressed some fans who say the album is not a give away."
The site ended up crashing on Wednesday due to a huge surge in traffic.
How well will it work? Is our society reliable? How honest are we as a people? The results will be interesting either way, and reveal a lot about the loyalty of fans.
"A spokesman said most fans were pre-ordering the disc box and very few were trying to get the music for nothing."
A promising start.
In the summer, Trend Hunter featured an article on Prince's latest marketing tactic in which the artist gave away free albums inside the Sunday paper as well as giving them out with the purchase of concert tickets.
Digital Honesty Box
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