While promoting the forthcoming album from The Cure, 4:13 Dream, singer Robert Smith spoke out on the subject of illegal music downloads and Radiohead’s “pay what you want” for In Rainbows experiment.
“The Radiohead experiment of paying what you want — I disagreed violently with that,” he told the Times. “You can’t allow other people to put a price on what you do, otherwise you don’t consider what you do to have any value at all, and that’s nonsense. If I put a value on my music and no one’s prepared to pay that, then more fool me, but the idea that the value is created by the consumer is an idiot plan, it can’t work.”
Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood has actually addressed this issue before, telling Pitchfork in 2007, “It’s just interesting to make people pause for even a few seconds and think about what music is worth now. I thought it was an interesting thing to ask people to do and compare it to whatever else in their lives they value or don’t value.”
In fact, many users chose to pay for Radiohead’s In Rainbows, making it one of the most profitable albums the band has ever released. It isn’t clear what Smith means by “it can’t work,” but if he’s referring to monetary value, Radiohead’s experiment is not a good example.