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Radiohead fans to choose cost of new album

Radiohead

Story by Jack Foley

RADIOHEAD fans will be able to own the band’s new album In Rainbows from tomorrow (October 10, 2007) at a price they choose for themselves.

The seventh album from the band will be made available for download from October 10 and is available in straight download format, or as a £40 “discbox” that includes two CDs, two records, artwork and booklets.

However, instead of listing a price for the songs individually the group has posted a message on their website that simply states: “It’s up to you, no really, it’s up to you.”

It means fans can name their price, from £0-100, and download In Rainbows at their leisure from Wednesday.

In Rainbows marks Radiohead’s first album without a record label. They completed their contract with EMI in 2003, with Hail To The Thief and have yet to pick up a new deal in spite of the widespread critical acclaim that each new album brings.

However, they are now talking to a number of record companies about releasing the album in a physical format early next year and EMI are among those companies.

The decision to release the album in the groundbreaking digital format is seen as another indicator of the way the industry is heading, with bands and customers being allowed to dictate terms ahead of the larger record companies.

Prince “gave” his new album away with a national newspaper earlier this year and The Charlatans are also said to be planning to give away their latest release. Ash, meanwhile, have stated that current album Twilight Of The Innocents will be their last. They feel the time is right to make a stand in the future digital arena by only releasing singles but will periodically release compilation CDs featuring the aforementioned single releases.

And speaking at yesterday’s Q awards, both Ian Brown and Johnny Marr backed Radiohead’s venture as the way forward, expressing their support for anything that can break up the music industry.

The digital market does seem to be gathering pace as more and more artists treat it as a viable alternative to putting their music out and shaping their own destiny. The first six months of this year (2007) has already witnessed a 50% increase in digital single purchases, following a change that enabled downloads to become chart eligible.

However, downloads do still only account for 10 to 20% of the overall music market given the scepticism surrounding online retail and the potential for identity theft.