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Making Money by Giving It for Free: Radiohead's Pre-Release Strategy for In Rainbows

Marc Bourreau

Telecom ParisTech; CREST

Pinar Dogan

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Sounman Hong

Yonsei University

June 22, 2013

In 2007, a prominent British alternative-rock band, Radiohead, pre-released its album In Rainbows online, and asked their fans to "pick-their-own-price" (PYOP) for the digital download of it. Radiohead's unorthodox strategy has been considered as a game-changer for the music industry and a commercial success for the band. In this paper, we study the weekly music sales between 2004-2012 in the US to test the effect of the PYOP offer on Radiohead's album sales. We find that by giving out its music for "free" Radiohead increased its digital album sales, whereas the strategy had no impact on the band's CD album sales.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

Keywords: Pick-your-own-price, Music industry, Cannibalization

JEL Classification: L82

working papers series

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Date posted: June 23, 2013 ; Last revised: October 21, 2013

Suggested Citation

Bourreau, Marc and Dogan, Pinar and Hong, Sounman, Making Money by Giving It for Free: Radiohead's Pre-Release Strategy for In Rainbows (June 22, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2283642 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2283642

Contact Information

Marc Bourreau (Contact Author)
Telecom ParisTech ( email )
46, rue Barrault
Paris Cedex 13, F-75634
15 Boulevard Gabriel Peri
92245 Malakoff Cedex, 1 92245
Pinar Dogan
Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-6757 (Phone)
617-496-5747 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://ksghome.harvard.edu/~pdogan/
Sounman Hong
Yonsei University ( email )
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)
Feedback to SSRN

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