Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In Rainbows

So, how much did you fork out for the new Radiohead album? Me, being the nerd I am, I forked out the forty quid for the big exciting box with books and pictures and extra music and lovely vinyl. So I have a posh bit of product to look forward to in 6 weeks or so. In the meantime, there's the download version, which I was emailed the link for this morning.

And hurrah! It's absolutely brilliant! What immediately strikes me at the first listen is that they've managed to combine their experimentalism with their undoubted knack for a good pop song in the killer way they've been threatening to for a while. So you've got twisted dance beats, weird retro-futurist sounds, but also big guitars and tunes. So it sounds more than anything like a band.

I ummed and ah-ed for a while about whether to have the big box, or whether to go for the pay-what-you-want download only option. I wonder what I'd have paid if I'd done the latter? Of course it's tempting to pay nothing, but that just seems wrong to me. I vaguely wondered about getting the download and then if I liked it going the whole hog, but in the end I decided to put my faith in them to deliver, and they've come through for me.

I think the way they've released "In Rainbows" is a fascinating experiment (apparently there'll be a conventional CD release next year), and I hope they give us an idea of how many people downloaded and what most people paid. They're lucky enough to be in a position where they can take a risk like this, and if it works, it'll have huge consequences for the record business and bands' relations with record labels.

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