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Why Radiohead is cooler than the rest of us

By malcolm Published: October 8, 2007

So on Tuesday Radiohead will release their new album IN RAINBOWS.
What? You say you didn't know?
You hadn't seen any obnoxious displays in your local Best Buy or Walmart heralding the recorded return of the artsy Brit Band that sells a ton of records and sells out concert tours?

Well, neither did the record industry and the aren't particularly happy about what the band is doing.

Go to and you will see a link to purchase the new album IN RAINBOWS which comes in two versions. The basic no frills download and the souped up Disc Box version featuring the album on CD and Double Vinyl with an extra enhanced CD of new songs and digital artwork, lyrics and the whole shebang.

Here's the fun part.
The Disc Box version runs at 40 pounds or around $80 and the download version is included, so hardcore fans don't have to wait until December when the boxes.

The download only version costs.....whatever you want to pay.

No seriously, Radiohead has no record company (their deal with Capitol ended with their last album, Hail To The Theif) and they are in the unique position of having a dedicated and large fan base that appreciates their semi anti-corporate stance and are more likely than say....the average Pussycat Dolls fan to pony up some money when given the opportunity to enjoy/support their favorite band's new magnum opus.

So, Radiohead is offering the album, DRM-Free at your own price point.
Pay the minimum of 1 British pence or as much as you want and on Wednesday, October 10 the album is yours.

The band says that sometime early next year they'll likely pick a record company to release a hard copy of the album. But you have to figure that most of the major labels, while surely fascinated and frightened by the possibilities of bands completely cutting them out of the distribution and promotion process, also have to be asking themselves "why bother, packaging and distributing the album when you've already given it away?"

What's it sound like?
Hell if I know.
There are no singles and no publication is going to have a pre-release review because the band sent out no advanced review copies, or preview streams for media.

Instead they sent out an email stating that there would be no advance review copies or preview streams for media.

Fans, critics and haters all get the music at the same time.

The music bizness is changing and it's possible that the "bizness" may have to start taking orders from the "music" to survive instead of the way it has been.

Radiohead is trying to move that process along.




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