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Radiohead’s Mass Distribution of In Rainbows Continues to Fuel Its Historic Success

With the #1 album in the U.S. and other markets around the globe, Radiohead has probably received more attention from the mainstream music press and the music blogs worldwide than any other band in the past six months. And it was no accident.

Radiohead broke out and totally embraced rock fans in a revolutionary way, initially having released their classic album In Rainbows on the Internet last fall and allowing fans to decide how much they were willing to pay for and download it. (However, now you have to buy the album, but it is arguably worth it.)

Through such innovative marketing and distribution techniques, like free and name-your-price offerings of its music, specially packaged disc sets by the band members (and not a major label) and live webcasts (such as last evening’s London webcast at radiohead.tv).

In addition, by setting up and regularly updating pages on various social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, Radiohead has made In Rainbows not just one of the most important albums of 2007 and 2008, but perhaps one of the decade’s best albums of all.

Not only is the band remaining relevant 15 or so years after rising to fame with releases like Creep, The Bends and OK Computer, band members Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar), Ed O’Brien (guitar, vocals), Jonny Greenwood (guitar), Colin Greenwood (bass), and Phil Selway (drums) are pursuing all kinds of multimedia projects using the Internet and pushing the envelope in ways to reach fans and attract new fans as well.

But at the end of the day, the evidence is in the music. If In Rainbows sucked, it wouldn’t have mattered how much the band and their two new labels promoted it. The band decided to sign on with TBD and XL Records, ditching EMI after a failed reunion with their former label.

Thom was so enraged by “lies” about what went on ‘behind the scenes’ that led to the rift with Radiohead and EMI, and wrote this semi-rant on the band’s blog right after Christmas (left all of Thom’s own writing style):

we did not ask for a load of cash from our old record label EMI to re- sign. that is a L I E.
The Times in the UK should check its facts
before it prints such dirt.

whAT we WANTED WAS some control over OUR WOrK and how it was used in the future by them-that seemed REASONAblE to us, as we cared about it a great deal.

Mr Hands was not interested. So neither were we.

We made the sign of the cross and walked away. Sadly.

We are extremely upset that this crap is being spread about.

To bedigging up such bullshit, or more politely airing yer dirty laundry in public,
seems a very strange way for the head of an international record label to be proceeding.

On a happier note we took no ‘BRead-HEAd’ advances at all from both independent labels XL and TBD for our new record.

So judge for yourself.

AND we are really excited to be working with them. SHock!

AT least they do not behave like confused bulls in a china shop.

much love – Thom

However, the release is historic – on the level that The Bends was – and not only put Radiohead back on the rock map, it also has made their music available to a new generation of fans around the world.

It seems like every other day the band is releasing some new material, reworked and remastered recordings, announcements of concerts, alerts of new videos and live webcasts, such as the one the band performed last evening.

There was some confusion from fans in London who showed up at the Liverpool area Rough Trade shop for live, first-come, first-serve performance only to find that the location had been moved next door to the venue 93 Feet East.

Here’s what Thom wrote on the RH blog about the change:

On the advice of the police and the local council, it was decided to change the venue to the larger one in the interests of public safety and due to the size of the crowd that turned up for the event. Rough Trade and the band apologise for any inconvenience caused.

While there is no official word yet on whether the webcast from last evening will be replayed, or available in full anywhere on the web, here are some great links to RH music, videos, news and more. As soon as we find the webcast, you will too. If you’re not subscribed via a feed reader, choose one now or pick the ATOM or RSS plain feed.

Also, news is coming up soon about Radiohead’s 2008 concert and festival tours. While no specific dates have been set, some of the 20 or so U.S. cities include Chicago, Boston and New York and San Francisco. (really!?!)

More Radiohead Links:

Contest: Contribute to Radiohead’s BuzzNet rainbow and enter to win a special edition of
In Rainbows.

Watch: Radiohead play In Rainbows via the AT&T BlueRoom concert and festival series.

Visit: In Rainbows website put together by Radiohead and their new official TBD Records label

Coming Soon: Music Choice will be airing the Best of Radiohead on cable from January 21 to February 3, 2008 in a tribute to the band. For more information on how to tune in, check out the Music Choice website.

Watch: Check out this YouTube clip of “Videotape” from the recent Scotch Mist performances.

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