Freakonomics and Radiohead

Interesting comment by Simon Goodley:

From this week, those wanting to listen to the boys’ next LP, In Rainbows, can pay as much or as little as they like for the album, which will be available to download on the band’s website.

It is a classic honour system, most famously described by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner in their bestseller Freakonomics (which inspired this stunt, some eggheads insist).

Because the Radiohead sale is being conducted online (where customers register) the whole thing could end up telling us quite a lot about Radiohead fans.

Similarly, in Levitt and Dubner’s work, an entrepreneur who delivers bagels to companies decides that, rather than hanging around and waiting for each customer to pay him in turn, he will simply leave behind a cash box and a note asking them to leave what they owe.

Amazingly, the sharks in America’s offices didn’t bankrupt him after a week and payment rates consistently hovered around 90pc. Meanwhile, his accounts unearthed some fascinating trends…