Certainly most of you are well aware the new Radiohead album was released today as an almost free download. You can spend all you want for it, but all you need is 45 pence for the download fee and the album no one knew about two weeks ago will be yours.
The fact that the world’s biggest band surprised fans ten days ago by announcing that they not only completed their seventh album, but for the time being have made it only available through download was already a shock to the music industry. But in a musical landscape where albums are leaked months in advance, rendering CDs as prevalent as vinyl, Radiohead had leaked their own album for free, giving them complete ownership. Whatever profit they make is theirs and theirs only. Not in the hands of Capitol or Parlophone or EMI or whoever else wants a piece of the pie. Unlike the record industry, Radiohead is aware of what its fans want, and none of that has to do with paying $17 for an album. And with each download, Radiohead gets to keep track of the number of people who are telling the industry to wise up. (If you’re going to get the album, I advise doing it through their site and contributing to the cause)
Yet, with all this to-do about modern technology and statement-making, it’s easy to forget that RADIOHEAD JUST RELEASED AN ALBUM. Of music. Probably good music. The band has shaped my musical tastes like few others have, so I welcome any new Jonny Greenwood guitar licks, underrated Ed O’Brien backing vocals, and ethereal Thom Yorke crooning despite the fact I haven’t listened to any of their albums in over a year.
So shill out your 45p, put those headphone buds in your ears, and let some good old alternative rock make you feel sixteen again. Few bands could pull off a move like this, but I’m assuming Radiohead has the goods to back it up. We shall see.
UPDATE: For those that don't feel like using google, here is the link to the Radiohead site.