So the new Radiohead record is done. What's exciting about this isn't that they used a choir of kids for something probably creepy. Or that the album will almost definitely be fucking awesome. Ok, I guess those two things are kinda exciting too.
But what's really exciting to me is that the band is currently without record label. Their EMI commitment is up. From the Paste article linked above:
"We just had a meeting about that today," said Greenwood on September 7. "We’re very relieved to have finished recording, now we have to decide what we should do with it."Well Paste, I'm sure there are plenty of willing bidders. But I'll tell you what would really kick the ass of the music industry. What would and reach more ears and eyes than any record company's marketing team could ever dream to reach.
Radiohead completed its six-album contract with EMI with 2003’s Hail to the Thief and is currently unsigned. Can anyone say bidding war?
GIVE THE RECORD AWAY.
Thom & Co. don't need the record revenue. They'll make a king's ransom on the tour even if the record is nothing but a 48 minute fart. And they should go even further than Prince did. Distribute it online: torrents and zip files. Give the downloader his choice: mp3, flac, wav, or ogg. And release it now, right after announcing it, like Steve Jobs does.
And sure, still sell a physical disc if you really want to. Plenty of people will pay for the souvenir artwork, which Radiohead has always done right.
Basically, make it available to people the way they're going to get it anyway. If they want to buy it from a record store, encourage that. But if they want to torrent it (and let's face it, they're going to torrent it if they want to), encourage that too.