Monday, February 21, 2011

Doing It For Themselves - Radiohead

Radiohead has released a new album called The King of Limbs. I pre-ordered the mp3 version so I downloaded and listened for the first time today. So far, I like, but I'm not here to review the album. I'd much rather talk about their method of release.

In 2007, Radiohead recorded and released In Rainbows independently. They posted the album online and asked fans to pay what they believed the album deserved. Clearly the concept of choosing the amount to pay for the record was a little further ahead than the fans were ready for, but the concept of self-releasing in digital form was not.

So what made Radiohead embrace the digital age so completely? Well, speaking with absolutely no authority on the matter, I do remember back in 2000 when Kid A debuted at number 1 in the U.S. having been leaked onto Napster and Bittorrent 3 weeks prior. Is there another band you can think of who can vouch for the power of online viral marketing more than Radiohead? Of course, it did help that Kid A was the best album released that year.

Regardless of the cause, Radiohead are amongst those leading the charge against the outdated and antiquated record companies of old. With their ridiculous overheads and their hesitancy to actually pay their artists, is it any surprise?

And they're not the only ones. I plan to run a series of posts about bands who are Doing It For Themselves.

Viva La RevoluciĆ³n.

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