NEW YORK – Back in the day, fans would have congregated at midnight at their local music stores to get first crack at a new Radiohead album.
How old-fashioned. Instead, the release of Radiohead’s seventh studio album, “In Rainbows,” was received Wednesday with online hysteria from fans, the blogosphere and music websites. It was Radiohead Day in the virtual world.
There had been no advance reviews for “In Rainbows” because it was only 10 days before Wednesday that the British quintet announced the imminent release of their latest opus.
Sending shock waves through a downtrodden music industry, the band said they would release “In Rainbows” themselves online. Without a record label contract (their long-term deal with Capitol Records concluded with 2003’s “Hail to the Thief”), the band decided to let fans choose their price, from one pence to infinite.
Very early Wednesday morning, “In Rainbows” was available for download (DRM-free) from www.inrainbows.com. The downloading was apparently mostly glitch-free as “In Rainbows” was simultaneously unleashed upon fans, critics and industry executives alike.
In the brief lead-up, fans had energetically debated what the proper price should be for the new album. (A lavish box set is also available for about US$82, but won’t be shipped for weeks, and the band plans a traditional CD release early next year.) The band’s manager, Bryce Edge, said earlier: “We believe if your music is great, the people will pay for it.”
Was this a watershed moment for the music industry? And would the 10 tracks of “In Rainbows” be good enough to warrant the fanfare?
The first question remained unanswered Wednesday. A spokesman for Radiohead said figures on how many copies were purchased or what prices were paid were not yet available, and might never be.
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails may soon follow Radiohead’s example. The singer announced on the band’s website on Monday that NIN is now free of any recording contract, stoking expectations for a Radiohead-like album release. “Exciting times, indeed,” wrote Reznor.
I love the fact that other big name bands are getting on the bandwagon (bad pun, I know). I have already downloaded the album (paid $7.50) and, no, there is no way I am putting this album on torrents or on my page for others to download. As per the band, if you think they do not deserve money for their music, then pay only 1 cent!!
BTW, I have listened to the album. definitely no OK COMPUTER but it is really good. I now wish I had paid more!! Got to love Radiohead