By Uncle Blurt
Okay, so I think I’m actually going to spring for the LP version of Radiohead/Atoms For Peace frontman Thom Yorke’s new, abruptly-released album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes; I have trouble figuring out all this newfangled BitTorrent downloading stuff anyway. I only learned how to program my Betamax recorder last year. Plus, the non-digital release is on white vinyl and and is, according to the York site, “printed with a metallic silver laminate then multi-tone black and a striking neon green; the whole is enclosed in a bespoke anti-static shield bag – a metallised laminated material usually used by the electronics industry for protecting components from electrostatic interference. The bag is printed with neon green on both sides, and has a resealable grip closure.”
Talk about collector catnip. Radiohead fans aren’t exactly known for their resistance to collectible artifacts. It was released with only minimal warning yesterday (Sept. 26) and reportedly sold over 30,000 copies in just a few hours.
Download the record here and at the site as a BitTorrent bundle; you’ll also have the options to get it for free or pay/donate $6.00 which, let’s face it, is a more-than-fair price. Go here for the vinyl ordering page. The LP costs 30 British pounds, or about $49 in U.S. funds.
Below you can read a message from York about the motivation behind doing the record release this way. Meanwhile, every blogger in the dang blogosphere has been weighing in with opinions and observations, including industry pundit/gadfly Bob Lefsetz, who at his “Lefsetz Letter” last night wrote a scathing editorial that read, in part, “Atoms For Peace didn’t do so well the second time around, what makes Thom Yorke think people are waiting for his new solo album, never mind interested in paying for it? If you like Radiohead and its elements, if you’re listening, if Thom’s happy, I’ve got no problem. But Thom can’t keep bitching as fewer and fewer people listen to his music and he looks more like a crybaby Luddite than a cutting edge savant. [The musician’s job] is to create great art, not to change the business model. Because the truth is the business model has been changed not by the techies or the labels but the consumer.”
From Thom Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich:
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.