Amazon's Free Downloads Pay Off Free music downloads were very good to Amazon.com's music business in 2008. The company recently released its list of best-selling music, and the number-one seller was something that started out as a free download: Ghost I-IV by Nine Inch Nails.
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Amazon's Free Downloads Pay Off

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Amazon's Free Downloads Pay Off

Amazon's Free Downloads Pay Off

Amazon's Free Downloads Pay Off

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/99276473/99277086" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Free music downloads were very good to Amazon.com's music business in 2008. The company recently released its list of best-selling music, and the number-one seller was something that started out as a free download: Ghost I-IV by Nine Inch Nails.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Free music downloads were very good to Amazon.com's music business in 2008. The company recently released its list of best-selling music, and the number-one seller was something that started out as a free download. It was Nine Inch Nails' "Ghosts I-IV."

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Only some of the songs on Nine Inch Nails' instrumental were available online for free. If you like those and wanted the rest, you had to buy them from Amazon or the Nine Inch Nails Web site. No advertising, no labels and no record stores.

INSKEEP: And Nine Inch Nails was not the only business model experiment on the Amazon list.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "IN RAINBOWS")

INSKEEP: When Radio Head first released "In Rainbows" more than a year ago, the band posted it for free online and asked fans to pay whatever they wanted. Sort of like public radio. And in the end, the album also made some money for Amazon, coming in at number 11 in sales for 2008.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "IN RAINBOWS")

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

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