New Radiohead

The new Radiohead record, In Rainbows, apparently is going to break some rules.

1) the downloads will be sold at whatever price the buyer wants to pay plus a .45p service charge
2) a £40 "Discbox" which includes the CD, a heavyweight vinyl record, and an enhanced CD with additional tracks
3) the record does not appear to be in regular distribution at this time. No mention of it on Amazon yet.

I hope this goes well for them. In particular, I hope they sell a ton of downloads directly to their fans. And I hope they sell a ton of vinyl to those who still prefer to listen in high fidelity.

We’ve had the technology to allow bands to bypass traditional and online distribution for years. Clearly most bands don’t have the brands to do that. But Radiohead certainly does and they are doing just that.

More from Lefsetz.

#My Music#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. DanInCambridge

    Still can’t stream them on rhapsody…

  2. Andrew Baisley

    This is a great idea on their part. Sadly though, their servers are feeling the crunch and buying anything at all from them, at the moment, is quite impossible.

  3. trush

    This is great and I think it’ll work well for their fanbase. (I’m the guy that’s going to end up buying the Discbox and end up downloading the songs).For me, I’d love to be able to purchase my preference in physical (vinyl) and get the downloads included while I’m waiting for it to be shipped (like a one-time access code to a site / service where I can download the tracks directly).

  4. markslater

    brilliant. Our friend at bubblegen must be loving this. The music world is flat. Radiohead just laid the first brick.FYI was at the kaisers show on sat at beacon theatre. Whats up with being shown to my seat by a torch wielding ice cream lady? did you go?

  5. Andy Swan

    Very cool. I’m one of those people totally stuck in the past when it comes to music. From the Beatles to early, pre-gangster rap… listening habits have changed very little with the exception of a few Norah Jones, KT Tunstil and Jack Johnson nudges from my wife.I’d never even HEARD of Radiohead….until today.But I will get the album. I’ll even pay a few bucks for it. Now they have a chance to have me as a fan…a concert-goer….etc. They didn’t have that chance before. I suspect I’m not alone.Smart to be first-mover. Smart to allow your fans to become fans before asking for their dollars.Now I need to think about how this can relate to my industry….

  6. Tony Alva

    Yep Records offers a free download of each CD or vinyl record you buy, plus a free download of their featured album of the month. Very cool.

  7. kenberger

    My #1 fav (still existing) band, doing an amazing experiment.Without flinching, I am more than happy to pay $100 for my copy, to support this and subsidize others who are as great a fan but w/ less means.2 intriguing ideas jump to mind:1. If there was something to publicly track how much each person paid, and done in a tasteful way, I’d bet that the total proceeds could be much more huge.2. The fact that you’re buying direct from a foreign merchant (an English band) w/ today’s awful $/Sterling exchange rate affects things. In 1965 if you were buying a Rolling Stones record, the exchange rate was even worse but the US-based label obviated any effect. If all bands start going direct, one might have to consider which countries’ music one could afford.

  8. Bruce Warila

    I rated Radiohead’s day on my site. For overall execution, I give it a C-.For artists…if you are unsprung and unfamous don’t copy Radiohead. If your music is that good, find someone that can help you profit from your art by leveraging the power of the Internet. If you don’t want to be away from your family while on tour for ten months every year, then really think about how to generate non labor-intensive reoccurring revenue. http://www.unsprungartists….

  9. jackson

    I knew they were gonna do this, Thom Y. alluded to a different model in interviews last year. Their contract was up, and they were in a position to do whatever they wanted. I’d have liked to see them attach more monetary value to the download, and bring down the cost of the ‘box’. 40 pounds is a lot of cash. I’m not sure what the exchange rate is but I know it’s close to double that in dollars.

    1. Disko

      The reason “the record does not appear to be in regular distribution at this time.” as Jackson has mentioned is due to them full fulling their contractual agreement with EMI. From the BBC:…” This will be Radiohead’s seventh album, but it is their first without a record label, having fulfilled their contract with EMI following 2003’s Hail to the Thief. The band are now “talking to a number of record companies” about releasing the album in a physical format early next year, their spokesman said.”

  10. Terrence

    I’ve seen this with a couple bands via and have been waiting for a bigger group to pick it up. Radiohead’s album site and Songslide are both worth trying.

  11. plasticspam

    There’s a good review over on last 100 (… looking at five alternative business models for the music industry, which provides some in depth anysis of not only radiohead, but some other idea’s for the music industry.