The success of optional payments will depend on user experience.

There’s one thing for sure…. that is that the success of this whole optional payments business will really depend on how making those optional payments is offered.

There are a few ways in which Radiohead’s experiment has been actually quite clever.

  1. They are offering the whole album, not just a single song. This means that:
    1. you get the complete ‘album experience’ (much better than one offs),
    2. credit card transaction fees wont kill you. Paying 40c for 1 tune simply isn’t viable on a credit card. But paying $4 for 10 tunes works.
  2. You cant physically download the music without going through a screen that will prompt you to enter a dollar sum.

It would be relatively easy for Ambisonia to force the torrent downloader to type in a number in the Tip form.

But I’m not sure that’s a good idea. As some people have noted (and as Nick states in a comment on the previous blog post) people can reasonably expect to get something that is worth good money from Radiohead (and there is also the novelty factor, the ‘honeymoon’ period).

On Ambisonia, I believe many people will download and listen and then _after_ listening, will think, ‘that’s worth money’. Most people will not know the artists and will be far more hesitant to pay up front.

No, they’ll be most willing to ‘tip’ after downloading and listening to the piece.

That means that my challenge will be making it as easy as possible for people to re-find the piece they downloaded, so that they can tip that work.

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