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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

No More Full Albums from Radiohead


The bad news: The rumors are true, Thom Yorke told Believer, a literary magazine in San Francisco, that Radiohead will no longer be releasing whole albums.

“None of us wants to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again. Not straight off. I mean, it’s just become a real drag.” Yorke told the Believer. “It worked with In Rainbows because we had a real fixed idea about where we were going. But we’ve all said that we can’t possibly dive into that again. It’ll kill us.”

The good news: Instead of releasing an album as a whole, the group will begin to release singles whenever they please.

This shouldn’t come as much of a shock since Radiohead is no stranger to brand new marketing strategies.

In 2007, the band left their label, EMI, whom they had been with for 17 years, and distributed their latest album, In Rainbows, directly through the internet. They also did something many money-grubbing record companies would cringe about: Allowing fans to pay what they wanted for the album.

Funny enough, this strategy worked. Warner Chappell, Radiohead’s publisher, said that 3 million digital and physical album formats were distributed in the first year. The cost of each one of these albums varied, and some fans did not pay a cent. With that being so, In Rainbows still sold more copies and made more money than the band’s previous two full-length releases.

The marketing for the “pay what you want” strategy also sparked more interest in the album, causing it to skyrocket to the top of the Billboard 200 chart in the US.

With this being said, it makes one wonder why the Oxfordshire boys are trying a new approach when their last effort worked so well.

Personally, I believe Radiohead are at the forefront of the evolution of music business.

The only way to find out how the music industry will get out of this dismal period full of song piracy and declining album sales (Nielson SoundScan reported physical and digital album sales were down 14 percent in 2008) is to experiment.

Only time will tell how this ‘singles strategy’ will work, but one thing that can be said for Thom Yorke and company is that they are innovative—in both music and in marketing.

- Jessica Cole

Currently Listening to: “Bang Bang” by Nancy Sinatra

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