Missing the Party

This entry was posted by on Wednesday, 19 December, 2007 at

I’ve had “download the free Radiohead album” on my to-do list for many weeks. The website allows you to download the mp3s, and allows you to make an optional donation of any size. So I finally went to download it today, and the official website says it’s no longer available… though I can order the “discbox” for a mere 40 pounds. Um, no thanks.

I can understand Radiohead launching their album download-only as an interesting experiment in a world that is busy questioning copyright and distribution systems. I can understand them adding a “buy the CD” option later on, after the experiment is over. But why would they possibly have to take away the download option? People who want real-life objects such as booklets, CDs and vinyl should be able to pay for that, but I can’t understand why it’s mutually exclusive with electronic distribution.

It’s too bad, I was planning to give them some money via their original “tip jar”, but £40 is way too much. Hello, bittorrent.

4 Responses to “Missing the Party”

  1. Yeah, I didn’t get the take away either. Just by random chance, I dl the album a day before the experiment finished.

    After you bittorrent, I hope you’ll have a In Rainbows review coming.

    (I was sorely disappointed with the album as a whole.)

  2. Brian

    They’ve signed a more traditional distribution deal to get the album in stores next year. Perhaps ending the free download experiment was a condition of that deal?

  3. Brian’s speculation sounds pretty likely. If it’s the case, it would be nice if Radiohead were up front about it… whether that’s the reason or something else is. It’s one thing to have the music disappear — that’s bad enough. But to have it disappear for mysterious reasons is really weird. Maybe they’re hoping no one will notice :-).

  4. Simon Roby

    The discbox is pretty slick though. A friend of mine bought it to offer as a gift, and is now tempted in buying another one for himself. It’s big, includes a vinyl version of the album, a nice picture book, and some additional video content on the CDs.