Cure Frontman Criticizes 'Pay What You Want' Albums

Robert Smith of The Cure spoke about the recent "pay what you want" releases from popular acts like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails.

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Robert Smith of The Cure spoke to Music Radar about the recent "pay what you want" releases from popular acts like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails:

"The Radiohead experiment of paying what you want - I disagreed violently with that.

"You can't allow other people to put a price on what you do, otherwise you don't consider what you do to have any value at all and that's nonsense.

"If I put a value on my music and no one's prepared to pay that, then more fool me, but the idea that the value is created by the consumer is an idiot plan, it can't work."

Along with the aforementioned bands, other acts include the Quote Unquote Records roster and Girl Talk have all released donation-suggested albums recently.

Thanks for the info to Punknews.org.

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    saucynoodles
    you guys are complete idiots they just toured last year and the cure are one of the most influential post punk bands ever. i don't care if you don't agree with his statement but to say he is a terrible artist is just ignorant. the cure influenced BOTH radiohead and nine inch nails to say either is greater then the cure is just ****ing retarded.
    bucketned
    im so ****ing excited for the shout out to quoteunquoterecords.com everyone should learn something from bomb the music industry and get their hands out of their ass
    -tempest-
    why do people have to hate bands when they make money(i realize this point has been made before me). a band is a business and should be treated as such. by saying bands are money hungry/selling or sold out is like saying my supermarket should give me food because i like to eat and thats ok even though the supermarket will eventually go under. come on people get a grip. if you were in a band that was getting big i'm pretty sure you would like to make your career, not just a habit that pleases a few people until your forgotten. on topic: this guy should mind his own business, and quit whinning about something that desn't affect him. sorry if i have bad grammar and or spelling
    -tempest-
    -tempest- wrote: why do people have to hate bands when they make money(i realize this point has been made before me). a band is a business and should be treated as such. by saying bands are money hungry/selling or sold out is thoughtless. people are basically asking this: my supermarket should give me food because i like to eat and thats ok even though the supermarket will eventually go under because its not making any money. come on people get a grip. if you were in a band that was getting big i'm pretty sure you would like to make your career, not just a habit that pleases a few people until your forgotten. on topic: this guy should mind his own business, and quit whinning about something that desn't affect him. sorry if i have bad grammar and or spelling
    *fixed. after reading it didn't make too much sense.*
    bbbbrooks1
    lukephillips000 wrote: the idea that the value is created by the consumer is an idiot plan Finally someone who's educated Wise words from a man who obviously doesn't understand Economics.
    jean_genie
    lots of people wrote: "the idea that the value is created by the consumer is an idiot plan" Hey guys, according to Robert Smith the law of supply and demand is an epic failure =D
    No, but according to me, your ability to understand Supply and Demand is an epid failure. SUPPLY. And DEMAND. Allowing the consumer to set a price themselves would be a DEMAND-only market. A digital download means a (potentially) endless supply. With no supply to pit against consumer's demand, there is no supply and demand - people just pay what they want. Smith's concept of economics is just fine - you guys are just too busy trying to be right to actually read. I'll bet you guys shouting, 'Economics, lol !!!111' are the same idiots that claim First Amendment when somebody outside the government tries to shut you up. For those of you that didn't pick up on that joke, the Bill of Rights only limits what the government can do. So don't go trying to call me out on that. The only way to make money giving away music is the same way you make money giving away drugs: get 'em hooked. Their tour is not be free. They are hoping that a high enough percentage of people see them on tour, that they can recoup all of the money they didn't make by charging for their album. If their tour revenues go up, the records will continue to be free. If they make the same amount on tour, records will no longer be free.
    Gouged
    If I had shit tons of money, I would make music to make music, not to make money. Sounds like a mixture of resent for the relative success of Radiohead and NIN because of their release compared to his own, and a desire to be mainstream and make money.
    jean_genie
    I like how I typo'ed that right in the worst place But hey, at least I can understand stuff before I go spouting off.
    scarfacesuit
    I see what he's saying, but it's not a big deal really. I figure all artists should release music for free and make money through tours... which is where they get all of their money anyway. Fuck record companies
    BigPaws
    If only GG Allin were alive to throw a HUGE hand full of shit at this guy.
    yenners
    The music business will eventually evolve to a point where artists make more money from touring and releasing DVDs, and the emphasis will become their live performances. If a band has a large enough following, they can give added extras to their fans over the net through registrations/subscriptions that can be charged for. Great example is what Avenged Sevenfold are doing. People like Robert need to understand that the record industry as it was is gradually dying.
    BassFishin
    "The Radiohead experiment of paying what you want - I disagreed violently with that." *Early last year* "WHAT!? RADIOHEAD IS LETTING CONSUMERS PAY WHAT THEY WANT!?!?!?" *Stabs Keyboardist*
    rebelmidget
    it doesn't make the record any less valuable i can't believe how shallow some of you UG'ers are being the quality and integrity of the music determines it's value not the price if a band is financially well off enough to be able to give their fans the music at whatever price they see fit, then more power to them
    Svennz
    lukephillips000 wrote: the idea that the value is created by the consumer is an idiot plan Wise words from a man who obviously doesn't understand Economics.
    Exactly.
    BigPaws
    BigPaws wrote: If only GG Allin were alive to throw a HUGE hand full of shit at this guy.
    Svennz
    jean_genie wrote: lots of people wrote: "the idea that the value is created by the consumer is an idiot plan" Hey guys, according to Robert Smith the law of supply and demand is an epic failure =D No, but according to me, your ability to understand Supply and Demand is an epid failure. SUPPLY. And DEMAND. Allowing the consumer to set a price themselves would be a DEMAND-only market. A digital download means a (potentially) endless supply. With no supply to pit against consumer's demand, there is no supply and demand - people just pay what they want. Smith's concept of economics is just fine - you guys are just too busy trying to be right to actually read. I'll bet you guys shouting, 'Economics, lol !!!111' are the same idiots that claim First Amendment when somebody outside the government tries to shut you up. For those of you that didn't pick up on that joke, the Bill of Rights only limits what the government can do. So don't go trying to call me out on that. The only way to make money giving away music is the same way you make money giving away drugs: get 'em hooked. Their tour is not be free. They are hoping that a high enough percentage of people see them on tour, that they can recoup all of the money they didn't make by charging for their album. If their tour revenues go up, the records will continue to be free. If they make the same amount on tour, records will no longer be free.
    To the one who wrote this: Have you ever heard about 'Perfect competition'? The consumers "set" the prices in that market. It's not just about supply and demand.
    Regression
    I don't really like the pay what you want concept. It irritates me taht people think the bands are so amazing and "not about the money" because they allow the album to be downloaded for free. If someone would pay for the music in the first place, they will probably pay for it via donation. The people who planned to dowload it illegally will not have donated any money anyway. Take away the middle men & you realise the bands are probably making more money this way than through traditional releases. Also, only bands like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have the marketing skills and popularity to pull something like this off. If a small time band did it, they wouldn't get very far at all. The free album draws fans, and people want to support them because they have so much "intergrity"; it is really just a very well disguised marketing technique. Also, by no means am I questioning the intergrity of said bands, I'm just pointing out that despite them releasing albums this way, it is unlikely they are losing out on a cent.
    False_God
    didnt radiohead still make a bomb of money? I think the music industry really needs a makeover in general.
    pinata89
    I am a big fan of The Cure, to be honest..and I'm also huge fans of both Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, as well. But I do agree with what Robert says, to an extent: When both bands released their albums digitally via the Internet, I was one of the first in line (along with millions of others) to download it for free--honestly, who wouldn't? But on the converse, I was also the first in line (again, along with millions) to BUY their physical albums as they were released in record stores. I am a big fan of music, and I think it's important to give credit where it's due. Making releases available digitally through the Internet is a brilliant idea, in my opinion. But someone like me, who finds joy in owning a physical copy of an album--along with the insert and album artwork--can understand how this new idea can be completely taken for granted.
    ghostface24
    It's not like music needs monetary value anyways. Otherwise, it wouldn't be about good music and bands would be releasing poppy shit just for the sake of making more money. If you can make good music, and it's good to other people's ears, than it has value. Therefore, the consumer does place value on the music. And with CDs being $20 and with some bands and artists making CDs that only have one or two good songs with a bunch of fillers, THAT DOESN'T MAKE IT VALUABLE! So what Robert is saying is that if he puts value on one of his album's (let's say he prices his cds $20.00), then that means it has value to the consumer... That doesn't even make sense, if it was good music, sure, but with The Cure only having a limited number of good songs (ok, maybe just OK songs), I think that's completely bullshit and irrational at the same time. So Mr. Robert Smith, please STFU!
    Levi79
    i think this pay what you want thing, it should just have a minumum, because if a normal cd is more than 17$ i wont buy it, i would sooner download it for free
    cmj
    badfish2829 wrote: "The Cure, just a band" 200 points to anyone who guesses the reference. I reckon the UK members have a slight advantage here.
    Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. I'm from the UK indeed. As for this whole issue...giving away music for free hardly makes it worthless now, does it? If artists didn't need to worry about money, then I'm sure all artists would want to give away their work for free.
    mortengh
    agree with him that you shouldnt let people pay whatever they like for your work.. would a carpenter let you pay whatever you feel is fair if he fixed your roof? your work = your fees hopefully you will give the consumers a fair price that reflect the quality of your work
    mysli
    But thinking about the price at cds is outrages! they're so expensive, compared to what it cost to make..
    Shredder Guitar
    i really dont understand why he would randomly bring this up. Robert Smith, shut your frickin' damn lips.
    Diablo1986
    I think, at this point, I'm done calling these people "artists." Obviously all this guy cares about is money. He even goes so far as criticizing others for not CHARGING enough... Everything this guy ever mutters in a song again will be pointless because he's only saying it for a paycheck. I say Trent and the boys from Radiohead made a damn good decision by removing the middle man. Ironically enough it turned out that people paid them due to respect instead of a price tag...
    Xanron
    No one can put a price on that hideous face of his. He looks like a 50 year-old tranny.
    rictazero
    "the idea that the value is created by the consumer is an idiot plan" Hey guys, according to Robert Smith the law of supply and demand is an epic failure =D
    Somnambulance
    They should just lower the price of cds. $8 is reasonable. I love the indie labels that let me pay cheap. It is important to make money from music, you know? It IS a job. People who like their job love their job when they're paid enough to support themselves. I don't think Robert Smith is a starving artist though. Ha ha. Radiohead and NIN too. They've got money now, so it doesn't really matter for them, but for someone young and trying to break in, money is a definite concern. However, most of the money from a major label album does go to a CEO and there lies the problem. To save the economy, I think we should institute a maximum wage. These people with seven figure salaries really need to stop being so greedy.
    Sublimical
    In my opinion I think more bands should sell their albums for cheap, we usually shell out big buck to see them live, and that's how they should make their money, by touring for their fans.
    ænimic
    His ignorance will affect his business soon. The "pay what you want album" goes beyond just putting your own price on the album. Actually NIN sells it at their own prices, just that they give away the album as downloads first. Radiohead did it a different way. Robert is IGNORANT.
    Hamham272
    Stupid ****er... it dosn't work? How much did Radiohead make off the online sales alone... like 8 mill?
    tremeloud
    FUCK this ****. I LIKE music, I like the way it makes me feel, I like feeling connected to it, and I LOVE producing my own feelings and emotions into a song like it were another language(which it is). THAT is the value I see in music. Take away whatever you love about music, and there's the value of it. IT SHOULDN'T BASED ON FUCKING MONEY YOU CREEP. You should work for money, and in turn use that money for necessities like food, water, and housing. Everything else in the world should be free, cuz now we have these ****in issues. The essence of all these "things" is based on a god damn price tag. How does this little bitch from the Cure know his hard work and musical ability means something? By its ****ing "$15.99" sticker at Best Buy. That's not what counts mother****er. According to the world around me, music is an industry not an art. It can burn in hell for all I care. If I were to make a record and it doesn't sell, does that mean it isn't music, it has no value?
    Regression
    tremeloud, I don't think he expressed it in very good terms. Saying people should work for money though, music can require a lot of hard work. If people enjoy it and choose to listen to it, then why shouldn't they pay? Do you think it should be free to go to theme parks? To go to watch a film? And yes, music is an industry, that's why they call it the music industry. Does that mean it's not an art though? What if people want to continue doing their art, and to do so they require money? If they can make the money doing something they love, why shouldn't they try?
    j-e-f-f-e-r-s
    51VH50 wrote: economics has nothing to do with this. its about the music and its intrinsic value.
    Except when the artists need money to buy their instruments, strings, amplifiers, pedals, fund recording, pay the roadies and techs, transport, accommodation whilst touring...
    Road Eyes
    AngelTear wrote: If you give away your music for a free donation, it means it won't be commercial and that you don't do it for money, but just because you like doing it. Also, a lot of people download music without paying at all, and labels and artist can't do anything to stop it. I'd really give some of my money to a band that does nice music...
    My thoughts exactly, i mean that whole pay what you want not only illustrated that Radiohead and Nin weren't concerned with money,(which has been obvious with Radiohead since Kid A) but it also showed they had accepted the reality most people would probably donwload there albums anyway. I think it was a great idea because you were able to buy it for a fair price and not have to pay the middle man. As far as it being a consumer idiot plan goes that's bullshit. I'm far more likely to buy a cd or vinyl in this manner than i would be from a record shop simply for the fact that i know the money is going directly to the band and not some advertsing goon with an MBA from Oxbridge and an expensive suit. Doesn't the fact that Kid A reached number 1 on both sides of the atlantic the week it was released despite the band encouraging its leak and download on the internet tell us something? If music is truelly great it will not only have financial value but it will also have emotional value, which when it comes down to it, is what music is all about.