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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Music News 2/15/11 -- Radiohead Make a Surprise Announcement

In news you may have already heard a few dozen times in the last two days:
Radiohead have announced their new album, The King of Limbs, will be released Saturday. Yes, as in four days from now Saturday. The album is available for pre-order here.
Of course, this wouldn't be The Nicsperiment without my opinion rambling, through...
This is very reminiscent of four years ago, when Radiohead announced the album, In Rainbows, ten days before it was released, and that buyers could pay whatever they wished for it. Unlike In Rainbows, listeners cannot set their own price for the The King of Limbs.
Four years ago, I paid $0.00 to download In Rainbows, then bought the vinyl when it came out. Some people paid $10, some people less, some people more. Radiohead made a killing, but the album was excellent, and they released it on their own terms. They proved that people would pay for good music, even if they didn't have to, and the larger percentage paid money for the album without having heard a song. In the end the vinyl cost me $15, and I had my free digital copy to boot.
I am kind of dismayed that despite how things went last time, Radiohead have dropped that "pay what you want" scheme. Now the album is $9 for MP3's or $14 for WAV's. Radiohead are also making an insane "Newspaper Version" available. While I have no idea what a Newspaper Version is, I imagine it involves lots of pages and articles? Actually it does, and also includes vinyls and an album download, but considering it runs $50 before shipping, I won't be reading it. It looks really cool, though, for those who can afford it.
This all feels far less revolutionary than the In Rainbows release. Because of my love for Radiohead's music, I have no choice but to shell out nine bucks on Saturday. But what if I want to buy the physical release that is rumored for late March? I won't because I don't want to pay for the same music twice, and I know for a fact that Radiohead is not in a financial position that necessitates fans having to purchase their albums more than once. This is a shame because I always enjoy Radiohead's packaging, but there is absolutely no way I can shell out $50 bucks to get it now, and as I said, hearing the album now is far more attractive than waiting for a CD or reasonably priced record that may never happen. Lame. I'm sure when I hear the album, though, my complaining will cease.
Also, Drive By Truckers dropped their new album, Go-Go Boots, today. This is their 4th album in four years, and if you remember, one of those albums garnered record of the year from this website. So regardless of pay schemes, this is a pretty sweet week in music.

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