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Naresh said in March 24th, 2008 at 12:01 pm


Great post, I think It’s time that people explore the pay-what-you-can model a bit more. It has a lot of potential and I think would allow for more customers than the traditional $setcost.

Love the post, will check out the rest of the blog now :)

Ry-Tron said in March 24th, 2008 at 12:24 pm

PWYC is great so long as the MP3 are decent quality (192-320 is fine for my ears), properly tagged (fille out theose ID3 genre tags as well dammit!) and most importantly, void of any DRM. Local acts need to start allowing people to download their songs from their MySpace pages more, dammit.

Jay said in March 24th, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Ryan, that’s interesting… would you pay more for higher quality? Would that be a factor for things other than music as well?

Related aside: Reznor gave Radiohead crap for the “In Rainbows” downloads in part because they were 160 kbps, but I thought it was funny that in reporting that, no one mentioned that iTunes regular files are 128 with DRM! I do love how no one is ever allowed to call Apple for ripping people off, but gawd forbid Thom Yorke does it…

Sean Moffitt said in March 24th, 2008 at 8:03 pm


Heh, I think it would be great if we could all get stuff for free (sorry I mean PWYC) but there has to be some value placed on music doesn’t there?

If I phone a plumber, or a taxi, or a chef for a service that I experience, maybe even need – what would happen if they said PWYC…..I thought so.

I’d love a model that much like the way sports ticket pricing is going, you pay highest to receive it first (or to use a sports metaphor, a better seat), after a period of time or after a certain number, people eventually pay nothing and it becomes part of public domain.

You’ve paid for the social currency of hearing it first and eventually allowed people to get it for free who are less music-centric or less well-moneyed. It may incentivise better music and create some kind of quick revenue stream back to the artist.

Perhaps we treat it like a work of art…there are only 1,000 prints, what is the PWYC for a shortened supply on the market. If we’re fine with it for sculpture, paint and photo – why can’t we be fine with it for notes?

The Radiohead model only works because they are a large established band that a) cut their label out of deal $, b) can sell T-shirts $$ and c) can sell tour tickets $$$. If a small and up coming band sold for PWYC, they don’t have too many other revenue streams to fall back on.

Given my cynicism about PWYC and the human greed instinct, shouldn’t it be PWYW (want) or PLAYC (pay as little as you can)?

Other goods – PWYC might work for – it seems it works a little bit for charity, what about the chance to watch tv or browse the web with only ads that are entertaining,

Bah soon

Jay said in March 25th, 2008 at 1:11 pm

Sean: I think a lot of it has to do with social expectation. For example, restaurants have a fixed price for the food, but what about the tip? You gear it to the level of service you feel you received at the end of the meal. There are some jerks in the world who never tip, but we all consider them jerks, and in my experience most change their behaviour eventually.

Social pressure is a pretty powerful force, and I think that’s what Radiohead and co. are (probably unintentionally) trying to harness.