Pay-what-you-like download site

Aralie.com applies the "Radiohead model," in which users decide how much they want to pay for digital downloads, to music from new artists.

When the history of the early 21st century is written, I'm afraid Radiohead will be included for pioneering a new business model rather than their groundbreaking music. Last year's digital-first release of In Rainbows allowed users to pay whatever they wanted for the download. Now there's an entire Web site devoted to pay-what-you-like: Aralie.com. It's a no-risk way for listeners to discover new music from independent bands.

Aralie gives fans a low-cost way to discover new music, and musicians a great way to gain exposure. Aralie

It's also a no risk-way for independent musicians to get some exposure: it costs nothing to upload a song, there's no contract involved so you can sell your songs through other stores and remove them at any time, and the artist keeps 85% of all sales revenue. Aralie also offers an application that artists can embed on their Web site, where they probably get most of their traffic. The only risk is that users might freeload everything, but freebies can be a valuable promotional tool--that's how you build a fanbase who will come to shows and eventually buy CDs with more or better-sounding tracks.

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About the author

    Matt Rosoff is an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, where he covers Microsoft's consumer products and corporate news. He's written about the technology industry since 1995, and reviewed the first Rio MP3 player for CNET.com in 1998. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network. Disclosure. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattrosoff.

     

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