Thursday, 11 October 2007
Foreword: This post started out as a list of my favorite Radiohead songs. But I got a little sidetracked...
I've mentioned before that what you think of Radiohead could differ in many ways, but really, one cannot deny that the whole 'experiment' of releasing In Rainbows on their own instead of through a music label is a stroke of genius (or idiocy, which ever you prefer. Fine line and all etc. etc.).
Since more and more people are listening to their music on mp3 players while on the go (seriously, who wants to carry CD players or (good grief) cassette Walkmans around anymore?), it's no surprise to see that CD sales are dropping. So why bother making CDs anymore?
Frankly, I don't even buy CDs anymore, unless the band is one that I really really like. In fact, out of the mere four CDs I've bought this year, only one - Foo Fighters' Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace - was bought without first listening to the entire downloaded version first.
The rest - Neon Bible (Arcade Fire), Sky Blue Sky (Wilco), Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer (Of Montreal) - were purchased after I'd listened to them online and decided that they WERE worth forking out RM50 for; and I've practically worn those CDs out playing them on loop in the car stereo (anyone who is a passenger in my car often enough would notice that I seem to be playing the same songs over and over again all the time). AND that's not all - after buying the CDs, the first thing I do is always to rip them into the PC so I can play them in my iPod as well.
So, with less and less need for CDs this days, it makes sense that Radiohead should decide to screw all that CD printing shit and release their damn album on the Internet. Let people pay whatever they want for it, decide whether they want to fork out money for the physical copy of the album (in this case, the Discbox set), AND THEN ONLY go and bloody make the CDs on demand, based on the number of orders.
And with so many music blogs and websites feverishly promoting the album and the news all over the Internet, and downloads of the songs already available everywhere (go check out Hypem.com, it's an indie music lover's dream); who needs to spend money on advertising, promotions or marketing, eh?
Of course, not every musical act can pull off this sort of shit. New bands in particular would probably still need the help of record labels; and most people probably wouldn't even bother paying a dime for the new Britney Spears album if given a choice. And don't even get me started on the mass production conveyor belt of albums that is the Chinese Music Industry.
Anyway, it's nice to see that a band as big as Radiohead, with nothing to lose (it's not like they need the money anyways, right?) is game for such an experiment. And here's hoping that this isn't the first and the last of such unconventional independant music-marketing methods from the big names of music.
Yes, Internet is Killing the Popstar. All hail the Internet Indie Revolution.
The Telegraph: Radiohead Album Experiment 'Paying Off'
Pitchfork: Jonny Greenwood Talks In Rainbows