MOG Music Network


Radiohead throws yet another wrench into the way albums are marketed and sold.

Rarely does a rock band (and I assume its management) have such an effect on the way we view the way the business world around us. If there ever was an internationally popular and innovative group with the artistic credibility and notoriety to really shake things up and cause people beyond their fan base to question and maybe even challenge traditional business models it would have to be Radiohead. On Sunday night, those of us who keep a watchful eye to the goings-on in the world of music where shocked and pleasantly surprised to hear that Radiohead’s newest LP was about to finally hit the streets…in ten days…and you can name your own price! The short notice is exciting but fast-tracking albums has become almost necessary to appease music-hungry fans chomping at the bit to snatch up leaks or illegally download the product before it drops. Many of the strategies and innovations Radiohead is utilizing for the release of In Rainbows have been used before Canadian rock band Stars recently released their album on the Internet just five days after it was mastered for a legal download. Frontman Torquil Campbell pragmatically asserts the reasoning behind his decision saying, "I think it's unfair to ask people to wait an artificial length of time for a piece of art to come out in this day and age. It just doesn't make sense," Campbell said. "The technology has caught up to the media…” In Radiohead’s case, this album has been several years in the making and releasing it a half-year after it is mastered would be a disservice to their eager fans and further would cause the album to lose its time-sensitive relevance. Music fans are more information hungry than ever when it comes to their favorite artists and Radiohead’s fans are a great example of this. Many web sites (like Pitchfork) have been religiously tracking rumors in band forums and speculating on the album’s content for more than a year leading up to Sunday’s announcement and for the band to shoot the album out of the proverbial cannon will prove tonic and allow fans to simply hear the album as it should be. These days it is too often that a great band’s material is shrouded in blogosphere b.s. because of matters non-related to music. Petty fan squabbles over whose fans are cooler and pointless rumor-driven speculation about the band’s estrangement and other non-music related matters can cloud the most important part: the music itself. With In Rainbows many fans I assume will be experiencing a digitally downloaded album in full for the first time and the vast majority of us are going to be putting our own price tag on the music we love for the first time. It will be interesting and largely influential when the numbers come out and the world can at long last see a reasonable figure for how much an LP should cost. Finally, with road-proven tracks like “Bodysnatchers” and “Nude”, the album shouldn’t be half-bad either.


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