Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on October 7, 2007
October 10, 2007 will go down in music history. It’s the date Radiohead releases its seventh studio album, “In Rainbows”, as a digital download available only on their website. What’s more, they’re going to let fans choose how much they pay for it – if anything at all. Really.
Oh, for $82 you can buy a special edition physical box set containing two vinyl albums, two CDs plus artwork and photographs – but that won’t be available until December 3.
By offering the digital download exclusively at their site, the British five-piece are sticking it to the music industry’s traditional business model. How are they getting away with this? Simple. They’re not attached to any record label. The only catch is, you must get the entire album. For creative reasons, Radiohead (like the Beatles) has resisted the iTunes model of offering individual tracks for sale.
There are many upsides to digital distribution – no unnecessary packaging, no fossil fuels used in shipping – but on the other hand, it’s the ultimate exercise in trust. By dropping the middleman, Radiohead can go straight to the fans.
Here’s hoping they pay up!