I was surprised when I woke up this morning and heard that Radiohead will be releasing a new album on October 10th. As far as I knew my company was still negotiating with the band to release the album… I guess I was behind the times.
The new album titled In Rainbows will be released without a record label and will be sold in mp3 form for whatever the customer is willing to pay (including $0.00). If someone wants to buy the album physically you’ll need to drop a whopping $82 on the “discbox,” which includes both CD and vinyl versions of the album, plus an additional CD/vinyl of more new songs, with the CD also including digital pictures and other such goodies. It also comes with a big photo/art book. The band is putting out this album without a record label.
Needless to say this is a big bomb for the band to drop. Essentially they are saying that they are tired of the record label taking a majority of their money and they would rather “sell” a fraction of the albums but receive a greater portion of each record sale. This marketing campaign will almost necessarily keep them off of the soundscan and billboard charts, but Radiohead has never really been the type of band to care about that sort of thing. It’s pretty brilliant. Under their old deal they were probably earning between 10% – 15% of the album sales while under their new deal they will be earning probably in the neighborhood of 85%-90% once they are in the black. If they can sell a couple thousand of the discboxes to their
stupid true fans they’ll probably make just as much money but they’ll be able to cut out a ton of middle men.
Good for Radiohead.