When Fake Plastic Trees Meet E-Ink...

You might have heard a little something about Radiohead’s decision to make their latest album free to download, with a hardcopy box set available for purchase (thanks to Oasis and Jamiroquai for jumping on that bandwagon after hearing those sweet, sweet sounds of free publicity). Peter Collingwood’s article in the Times Emit discusses whether or not this kind of strategy could work for pubishing, and if so, for how long. While he argues that publishing will have an iPod moment, perhaps precipitated by the launch of Amazon’s Kindle, and free content might be a good way to get free PR for a while, the business case for this distribution is farther from clear. It works for music because, well, music is already free. That pirate ship has sailed.

So how long will Cory Doctorow and O’Reilly be regarded as the Ambigiously Paid Duo with other content producers beginning to leverage the free instead of fighting for the old days of controlled distribution? I bet I could make a really funny Paranoid Android joke here if I’d had just a little more coffee…