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Your total is $0 – Cash or Credit Card?


Pay what you want (PWYW) pricing has been in existence for some time. The mechanism allows consumers to pay whatever they value the good at, often including zero as a price. Hotel, flight and car rental comparison site priceline.com has made use of the mechanism since its conception in 1997. From there on many industries have empowered their clients to decide the amount they are willing to fork over. The pricing mechanism has spread to amongst other the game industry (humblebundle.com), software industry (stacksocial.com) but also more analogue industries like restaurants (TRUST, Amsterdam) and movie theatres (Popcorn as Anything, Newtown Australia). The PWYW mechanism came under great attention in 2007 when Radiohead invited consumers to buy a digital copy of their album In Rainbows. In an interview with Music Ally, Radiohead’s Head of Business Affairs Jane Dyball “confirms that Radiohead had made more money before ‘In Rainbows’ was physically released than they made in total on the previous album Hail To the Thief.” (Music Ally, 2008). Obviously, consumers are willing to pay for something that they could obtain for free. But why would they?

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