Radiohead dumps digital distribution

May 1, 2008 | 08:14

Tags: #digital #drm #metallica #mp3 #nine-inch-nails #radiohead

If you were hoping that the move to DRM-free digital distribution for music which was popularised by Radiohead and further expanded by Nine Inch Nails and, if Lars Ulrich's comments are to be taken seriously, Metallica was a herald of a future free from the tyranny of the corporate music industry, then you're in for a disappointment according to Thom Yorke.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter – now there's I link I didn't expect to be posting – the Radiohead frontman has declared the bands honesty-box inspired 'giveaway' of their last album, In Rainbows, a “one-off response to a particular situation.

Yorke states that the experiment was “one of those things where we were in the position of everyone asking us what we were going to do. I don't think it would have the same significance now anyway, if we chose to give something away again.” In short, it looks like Radiohead's next album is going to be a very traditional release.

The band has been accused of using the giveaway as little more than a marketing gimmick before, with Nine Inch Nails drummer Trent Reznor stating he felt that “the way [Radiohead] parlayed it into a marketing gimmick has certainly been shrewd” and describing the project as “very much a bait and switch, to get you to pay for a MySpace-quality stream as a way to promote a very traditional record sale.” during an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in March.

While no-one could blame Radiohead for shying away from the 'give it away and hope people are generous enough to put food on your table' donation-ware system under which the digital version of In Rainbows was released – mostly due to the high levels of piracy they suffered as a result – many music fans are looking toward digital distribution in which the middle man, in the form of the music industry itself, is cut out and music is returned to its roots of a relationship between the performer and his fans as the future.

It's not just starry-eyed fans and hopeful technophiles who believe so too - Coldplay announced their entry into the 'give it away and hope for the best' digital distribution market on Monday with a gratis DRM-free download of their latest song Violet Hill. While it's not exactly a full album – or even the partial release as we saw with Nine Inch Nail's experiment – it does show that bands are increasingly willing to listen to what fans really want.

If given the choice, would you pay for a high-quality digital download or walk into a store and buy the CD? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
Discuss this in the forums
YouTube logo
MSI MPG Velox 100R Chassis Review

October 14 2021 | 15:04