Pay What You Feel
Funny that 2008 saw the album was released in record stores around the world and you can no longer download it. Early adopters only thanks! Record labels rejoice as we all realize there still more money to be made with physical CD's.
But don't let Radiohead's PR train fool you into thinking they were the only ones. It wasn't just Radiohead doing this there were other examples all with seemingly positive results.
Revolution let people into theaters for free and had them pay at the end. In the Fox interview below the producer says "we've made over $5 million" which is great for a independent film.
Even comedians are getting in on the act with Steve Hofsetter making triple his normal royalty if he released he latest album on a label. This article quotes "In the first two days of sales, Hofstetter says he has made more money than he did in the first two weeks of his last album."
After reading Trent's quite honest report on his site he seems disappointed. Sounds like he spent quite a bit of money actually producing the album. Also he set the price $5. All the other efforts asked people to pay what they felt. So people may have paid more. Also he could have brought in more smaller donations.
These successes show you don't have to be one of the biggest bands on the world to make this work. In fact the gimmick might even expand your brand beyond your initial fan base.
Will any major brands trial this idea in 2008. Pay what you want for a pair of Nike's? I guess it's easy for digital distribution. You not actually at a lose if 1,000,000 people take you up on your offer and don't pay. But with psychical products there is a production cost.
I guess the Hare Krishna's have been doing this for a long time with their free food in exchange for a donation of some kid. And I know there have been many "Pay what you feel" restaurants in the past that get by the same way.