Monday, August 17, 2009

Et tu, Radiohead?

Radiohead are a band I've always admired more than loved. And it's likely to remain that way. But their stealing a march on entire swathes of a superannuated record industry is something I have to take my hat off to. They're far from the only group or musician to have a sanguine towards attitude filesharing by people who love their music but they are probably the most high-profile and the most consistent. They famously put their 'In Rainbows' album up online to be downloaded on a pay-what-you-want basis, using the rationale that they were reaching more than 175 countries at a distribution cost of a few pence per copy. The band ended up making £8 profit per copy; of course there are not many groups in the position of being able to command such a reach and Radiohead made their name using those old-industry distribution and publicity mechanisms that are now in such disarray. They were also fortunate to crack the US market in 1992 when British breakthroughs were as rare as hen's teeth (they also broke America before they had made much of a dent in Britain).

Now Radiohead have gone and, it seems, stabbed the poor old music industry in the back by making a new track available on the torrent-sharing site, Mininova. The band haven't admitted doing so but on their blog, Johnny Greenwood does offer Mininova as a download link. It's hardly big news nor is it really that surprising but having just read in The Times that Peter Mandelson intends to implement 'Hadopi'-style laws to keep the music industry happy, it's interesting to see the biggest band in Britain going in a direction diametrically opposed to both their former bosses and a government that seems as out of touch as the Macmillan one was when rock 'n' roll first reared its head fifty years ago.

Radiohead Leak Their New Track To BitTorrent | TorrentFreak