We don’t know what the long-term impact of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke release, on Friday, of a new solo album through BitTorrent will be. Yet.
But release was surprising in two ways:
1. Nobody knew the release was coming. Nobody. In an era where new releases are hyped months in advance, and routinely get leaked prior to release, nobody knew this was coming. Yorke and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich sent out a letter Friday morning, September 26, and the album was out. Just like that. That didn’t used to happen in the “old” days, and it never happens now in our information saturated, hyper-connected world.
2. The album was released as BitTorrent “bundle.” The bundle is locked behind a pay gate. (It costs $6 to open the gate.) Nobody had ever released (or sold) an album this way before.
The least surprising thing at this point appears to be the music itself. Early feedback is that it is solid work, even if it doesn’t break any new ground. If you liked Yorke’s prior solo release, or Radiohead’s recent releases, you’ll probably like Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. New Thom Yorke is new Thom Yorke and if that’s what you’re into, you’ll be into this. (I’m listening as I type, trying to avoid making early judgments until the tracks sink in for a bit.)
But more interesting than the music, even for former crate-diving music junkies like myself, is this new chapter in the music business’ ongoing struggle to rebuild itself – to create something new out of the disruption.
Yorke and Godrich have done this before. In 2007 [Read more…]