Hear that sound / the hammers pound and pound

And the world jumps ahead, just a little bit more, this morning. Radiohead, of course, dismissed the countdown site leading to their new album in the last day or so, but rather conveniently (and co-incidentally?) it gave them a fairly large bump in publicity leading to today’s announcement of their new album.

Of course, this news is gonna be everywhere later today, but the thing is, like the Amazon site, Radiohead have converged the digital and the tactile worlds together. Their new album is available on their site from the 10th of the month – and you pay what you want. The stampede is predictable. Radiohead fans are obsessive. The thing is, the terrestrial version is not out until December and then with fancy packaging and a bonus disc.  So everyone wins, the fans and the artist, and everyone thinks Radiohead are well cool – and I agree.

Whilst the big record companies wander around formlessly wondering how it should be done, and suing their customers (could any commercial organisation be perceived any more negatively than RIAA, or those it represents?), Radiohead, who are now label-free, have shown how it could be done (not should – …those possibilities are too wide, to make that much of a definitive statement) by using the digital world to pull everything along. Who cares if they make zip out of the downloads in the very short term, look at the bigger picture, and watch it roll out.

I tried to suggest a similar thing a while back, releasing a single on Limewire and Soulseek. Blank stares moving towards clear hostility was the result. Giving a lead single away in large quantities adds to your long term currency, not detracts.

Ok, that’ll do….

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