Radiohead groundbreaking release 'In Rainbows' eminent

Radiohead - In RainbowsIn a bold move, UK band Radiohead announced that the release of their new effort, In Rainbows, would be released on October 10th, a mere 9 days from the announcement. How can they do this? After all, releases must be planned well in advance so they can receive the proper advertising and hype, or do they? Since their 2003 masterpiece, Hail to the Thief, they have been free of any record label contract, and rampant speculation has been trying to predict how they would release their latest work. Alas, they are releasing the album themselves with two means by which to purchase it; both methods are online only. Visitors to In Rainbows can pre-order the tracks for download (available on October 10), or place an order for the ‘Discbox’ which contains the CD, two LPs, another CD with more songs and bonus material, plus artwork. The Discbox is £40, whereas the download is up to you. Yeah, it’s the big news out there, and it’s a bold challenge to the music industry’s traditional business model. Reportedly you can name your price from 1 Pence (which is about .02 US) and up. I think I am going to pick £7.5, which is a little over $15 US, an amount I’ve always equated to the average price of a CD, plus I feel it’s more than fair considering all of the proceeds will now go to the band, and not to the label for advertising, promotion, distribution, smoozing, promos, parties, etc. I suspect others will do the same, after this groundbreaking release. Of course any tour to promote this album will surely sell out, underlining the success of their radical experiment where hit singles matter not. If this takes off, what next? I think the Internet is ready to facilitate it; after all, it’s the great equalizer. Just as anyone with a (fak3) website can say/share what they think, bands and artists should harness that freedom too. Growing pains will happen as people shift buying habits, but with online music sales things have already started to change. Also, it’s been reported, that Radiohead shuns the iTunes (and other) stores mainly because they insist the bands allow individual tracks to be downloaded, and they don’t want that. But think about it, if music comes straight from bands without having to pass through a myriad of record execs, or even online music stores, imagine how much truer the music will be to the musician’s real idea and concepts. Wow, this could be a big watershed moment for the music industry, and perhaps art distribution in general…or it could be a mere future trivia question. Either way I’ll have more on the new release here on October 12th once the download is complete.