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Is this the end for the big record labels?

I've just downloaded the new Radiohead album, In Rainbows, and as as you've probably read elsewhere, the band is asking you to pay whatever you think it's worth, writes Andy Clough.

It's not often when you buy something online that a window pops up against the 'total' box saying: "It's up to you."

As my hands hovered over the keyboard, I was faced with a dilemma: how much should I pay? £1? £5? 10? £15? As an avid iTunes user I'm used to paying £7.99 for an album, so would that be a fair amount? In the end I paid a fiver. Was that reasonable? Or too mean? You decide.

One things for sure, with bands such as Radiohead now selling direct to the public online, the record industry will never be the same again. Madonna has just ended a long-standing relationship with her record label, Warner Brothers, and signed a cash-and-shares deal with concert promoter Live Nation instead.

Given that big-name bands such as The Rolling Stones make a fortune out of touring, you can see the logic of her decision.

But does this mean the end for the big record labels? Critics of the record industry say that the days of overpaid music executives and mega-corporations are over. It will be fascinating to see how much money Radiohead makes from In Rainbows, and how many other bands follow their example.

Despite the popularity of downloading, I reckon people will continue to buy CDs, however they're distributed. There's still something rather satisfying about owning an album in physical format, and having the booklet to go with it.

By the way, In Rainbows is great, and if you'd like to download it yourself, click here.

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