The Null Device

In Rainbows

Radiohead have announced the details of their upcoming album. It will be titled In Rainbows. Even more interesting is the means of its distribution. Radiohead's contract with major recording behemoth EMI had ended, and not surprisingly, the band had chosen not to renew it. More surprisingly, they didn't go to another label. Instead, they will be selling the album themselves, over the web, in a two-tiered pricing structure. True fans who want the prestige of the collectible article can buy a two-disc box for £40 (US$80, or just under 100 Australian dollars), whereas those who just want the music to listen to can buy a downloadable version, nominating their own price for it. (The downloadable version is also free with the disc version.)

There aren't any more details at this stage. (I'd hope that the downloadable version is in a high-bit-rate open format, and not, say, DRM-shackled .WMA files, and for £40, you'd hope that you get something more impressive than a double jewel case with a booklet.) There is also no news on how Radiohead will make this available to people who aren't on the internet or don't like buying things online. I suspect that a deal with Starbucks is probably not on the cards, though.

There are 4 comments on "In Rainbows":

Posted by: steve Mon Oct 1 16:31:51 2007

Ideally they'd offer the download version in a variety of formats and bit-rates.

This is an interesting move from Radiohead, I wonder if this will set some sort of new precedent? They're not the first band to do this, but they're definitely one of the most prominent I can think of.

Posted by: bkpr Mon Oct 1 20:37:20 2007

The 40 pound option IS much more than a double jewel case. It contains 2 CDs (one with extra songs that aren't on the album, and digital photos, lyrics etc), 2 12" Vinyls of the album, a book with photos and other stuff, and all in a slip case. The design is pretty good too. I've ordered my copy. Will ship around Dec 3rd.

...AND, it includes the digital download on Oct 10.

Posted by: Bowie Tue Oct 2 04:37:51 2007

Personally I prefer CDs and wish they had a normal priced single CD version available. I wonder if they ever will?

However, I think the idea is fantastic, it just doesn't fully suit me.

If the digital download is available in lossless I'd be happy enough with that. Not sure what I'd pay though. It depends entirely on the file format.

Posted by: gjw Fri Oct 5 10:35:49 2007

I would be very surprised if a standard chain-store single CD wasn't available at some point in the near future - it would be quite revolutionary if it wasn't. However, not being signed to a label, I wonder how they would do that?

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