Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Note on Radiohead

Strangely enough, I didn't like Radiohead early on. I was admittedly scared of diving in to the same pool as some old friends with questionable musical taste. But after a couple years of procrastination I dove in head first. Now, Radiohead is one of my favorite bands of all time. Their creativity and consistency is rarely seen at any point in the last 50 years of popular music. Ever changing, adapting, and blazing new trails others don't dare to begin. Without much ado they are doing it again. Only this time they mean business...the music business, that is. Time to shake things up. No label. No huge advertisements. No promotion except for a simple blog post saying their album (titled In Rainbows) would be released in 10 days (Oct. 10). When saying this is unprecedented, it's not an overstatement. If it was just about the lack of a label and marketing that would be minor compared to the announcement the music industry is buzzing about. They're letting fans download the release on the day it comes out for as little as they see fit to pay (+ credit card fee...about $0.90). This new model flies in the face of everything big whigs have been thinking about doing to save the music industry. The fact of the matter is, heads of labels need to take a step back and realize it's no longer the age of a million+ album sales in a debut week. It's just not going to happen. Kanye West, the self-proclaimed master of all things, got to 950,000+ which is a staggering number in the new age of music. The music industry needs to embrace the fact they're in the middle of a enormous paradigm shift. It's just a matter of figuring out the best way to go and accepting that expense accounts are going to shrink, and they may have to downgrade from a Bentley to a Porsche. Why not go back to focusing on the music.

Focus on artists that can produce full albums rather than one or two singles. If they keep snatching artists for one of two songs all they're doing is exploiting the artists and using them for a summer hit and throwing them back into anonymity. There's little commitment to grooming artists, and nurturing them into actual careers. Wouldn't people rather purchase an entire album of songs rather than an album with one or two good songs? Of course. I know that's one of the reasons I stopped buying actual cds. I just wanted the hits. Everyone wants to make mix cds, which is made much easier when there is only A hit on an album. The iTunes music store is bringing this 'singles rule' mentality back to the music industry in a big way that has always been there, but before the iTunes you still had to buy the whole album to get those few goodies. Now, with little tech savy you can get those singles from iTunes or the newly launched DRM-free AmazonMP3 store. Now it's time to see what will happen with another daring Radiohead experiment (no doubt the actual music will be fantastic). My guess is that the site/server to download will be excruciatingly slow and/or crash. But only time will tell on Oct. 10th.
LA Times
Radiohead - In Rainbows

1 comment:

Bree B said...

Dear E. to the B-Side,

Thanks for your post on my blog. I followed your suggestion and am checking out yours. Great stuff! I wish I had half your music knowledge (I didn't know who the New Kids on the Block were/had been until 2003... then again, maybe that's actually a good thing).

It is extremely comforting to know that I'm not the only one in the throes of existential despair upon having graduated. I'm hoping it DOES get better, although I'm definitely in the worse part right now. I'll check back in on your blog, and please continue to do the same with mine. I can't promise much in the way of progress, but at least I can offer a few laughs (I hope).

Also, how goes freelance writing? This would be my ideal career of choice, too, so I'm curious as to your approach. Whatever you're doing, it's bound to be better than what I'm doing, which is not much. How do you go about it? Do you just write what you want and then submit articles to magazines, journals, Maxim ("it has great articles, baby, I swear"), etc.??

I'm going to assume that in the one year you've had since college, you've had a breadth and depth of experiences that I can only dream of. So teach me, great one. I worship at the altar of your time-honored sagacity.

Seriously. I could use all the help I can get.

There. I have now "left my comment" as blogspot instructed. Hope you're having a wickedly wondrous Wednesday, and I look forward to hearing from you...