While away last week Radiohead fired the shot heard around the music world. They have decided to release their new album, In Rainbows on their website bypassing the traditional label route. In true Radiohead fashion, this is no simple cash transaction. There are two options, a box set meant for die hard fans that comes with the release on vinyl, extra CDs, and artwork. It also comes with a $80 price tag. You can also just download DRM free MP3s from their site at a price you determine. That’s right, you name the price you’re willing to pay. I paid 4 pounds (about $7.60). A coworker of mine paid nothing. Want to share it, go ahead.
This could be a remarkable change in the way music is offered to listeners. Radiohead is the first major band to really go around the labels in such a significant way. Imagine acts like U2, Green Day, or Kanye West doing the same thing – the labels are dying as it is; and it’s about time. The labels operate by trying to resist consumer desires at a cost most consumers don’t want to pay. $20 for a CD? DRM on downloads? iTunes purchases only work on an iPod? All bullshit.
Put it this way, Radiohead could charge $2 for every download of the album and get what a label is willing to give them. The label would charge at least $10 for the same download on iTunes with a buttload of restrictions. And Radiohead can afford the risk. There’s nothing bad in this for consumers at all.
Here’s to Radiohead.
So what about the music? I’ve listened to it 4 or 5 times and can say it’s Radiohead. It’s along the lines of their last release, Hail to the Thief in sound – blending traditional rock sounds with electronic beats. I’m a Radiohead diehard, so it’s an A+ for me, but I feel it’s easily one of their more accessible releases – while still earning raves from me.
Anyway – support the shift in the industry. Pay a pound. Pay nothing. But go and download the album. Use the following link: