I'm not a Radiohead fan (or detractor) but I think this is just cool. The band has created a new album, "In Rainbows," which normally wouldn't cause much of a stir outside of the band's fan base, but they're doing something so excellent and so interesting that I think it deserves our support. Rather than release the album through traditional channels (i.e. a record company and via iTunes), the band is allowing fans to download a digital version of the album beginning October 10. (You can pre-order it now, along with a more traditional CD-based version that, get this, also includes the digital download and an actual vinyl album.) OK, nothing too special so far, but check this out: The kick here is that you can pay whatever you want (in British pounds) for the album. So using an order form on the band's Web site, you can pony up whatever fee you think is appropriate, £5, £10, even £0.50 if you want. (There's also a £0.45 credit card processing fee.)

What an awesome idea. If you'd like to support the band--and, in the process, prove that direct-to-customer sales can really work, take a virtual stroll by Radiohead's Web site. I have no idea what the album is like. But I threw in my £5.00 (about $10 these days).