Last week Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich shared a controversial picture of a mysterious newly pressed white vinyl to twitter. Immediately the internet went abuzz with chatter of new Radiohead material. The following day “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes”, Yorkes latest solo album which was co-produced by Godrich, hit the internet available for download via Bit Torrent for only $6.
The following letter was attached to the release in explanation of the unconventional distribution, which would not be the first for the against the grain British bandits
“As an experiment we are using a new version of BitTorrent to distribute a new Thom Yorke record.
The new Torrent files have a pay gate to access a bundle of files..
The files can be anything, but in this case is an ‘album’.
It’s an experiment to see if the mechanics of the system are something that the general public can get its head around …
If it works well it could be an effective way of handing some control of internet commerce back to people who are creating the work.
Enabling those people who make either music, video or any other kind of digital content to sell it themselves.
Bypassing the self elected gate-keepers.
If it works anyone can do this exactly as we have done.
The torrent mechanism does not require any server uploading or hosting costs or ‘cloud’ malarkey.
It’s a self-contained embeddable shop front…
The network not only carries the traffic, it also hosts the file. The file is in the network.
Oh yes and it’s called
Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.”
Thom Yorke & Nigel Godrich
The record is impressive listening as expected. Yorke takes to his forward-thinking minimalist electronic methods and formulates a powerful idea spread across a total of 8 tracks. And not enough can be said about Yorke and Radiohead’s constant rebellion to adhere to the basic structure of the record biz. I’d say 401,000 downloads since Friday, totaling $2,406,000 in sales, and done independently, is a quite the feat coming with some definite implications.