Radiohead

Radiohead In Rainbows

Is this real?

I’m standing in Gelson’s, shopping for dinner, and my BlackBerry starts to go wild. All with the above link. About a new Radiohead record.

Then I get in front of a computer and I read that there’s been a hoax. That the site purporting to count down to Radiohead’s release is fake. But now everybody is saying the story at the ABOVE link is REAL! That the new Radiohead album comes out in ten days and you can pay whatever you want. It’s even on the Record Of The Day site.

Huh?

I got a call from the AP just last week. Asking me what Radiohead would do. I said they’d use the English indie model. License the record to a major for a limited period of time for a ton of bread. You see majors OWN physical distribution. And that’s where the lion’s share of recorded music revenue still is, in CDs, at Best Buy/Wal-Mart and the other brick and mortars left. The majors can get the product in the store and you can get paid. They need the billing. You still can’t do it alone, even though it’s been thirty plus years since the Dead failed with "Wake Of The Flood". Hell, PEARL JAM made a deal with a major.

But what if they’re not? What if RADIOHEAD is giving the major labels the middle finger? What if they’re saying WE’RE RICH ENOUGH! That the Net allows you to go straight to your audience. FUCK the middleman who says he’s so necessary.

R.E.M. went for the cash They could have gone indie. Turns out re-signing with Warner was a good move, for they never sold tonnage again, despite getting PAID for selling tonnage. Springsteen went for the check. As did Neil Young.

But none of the foregoing acts are in their prime. They’re riding off into the sunset. They don’t have a hold on the younger generation. Boomers in Bimmers are the fans of these acts, none of whom can sell big numbers anyway. They’re all on victory lap tours, raking in the dough for retirement. Radiohead doesn’t have their dough…shouldn’t they be going for the CHECK?

Isn’t that the majors’ advantage, they’ve got the money, they can write the CHECK?

Who leaves money on the table. Certainly not the agents. They don’t want StubHub to steal a single dollar from their bottom line. Fuck image and credibility, THAT’S MY MONEY! I’m gonna make a deal with Cadillac. I’m gonna whore my product out on TV. Radio won’t play my music, I can’t get it on the Top Forty, MY HANDS ARE TIED!

It’s not like Radiohead’s living in a different world. But they’re playing by a different rule book. One that says the money flows from the music, that people have to believe in you, that you’ve got to treat them right.

Shit, you can barely get a ticket to a Radiohead show. The venues aren’t big and the demand is incredible. They’re doing it all wrong, don’t they see??

Well, obviously they don’t.

This is big news. This says the major labels are fucked. Untrustworthy with a worthless business model. Radiohead doesn’t seem to care if the music is free. Not that they believe it will be. Because believers will give you ALL THEIR MONEY!

This is the industry’s worst nightmare. Superstar band, THE superstar band, forging ahead by its own wits. Proving that others can too. And they will.

This is what happens when you sell twenty dollar CDs with one good track and sue your customers for trading P2P. This is what happens when you believe you’re ENTITLED to your business. This is what happens when music is a second-class citizen only interested in the bottom line.

There’s no testimonial to Jimmy Iovine on inrainbows.com. No thanks to Rick Rubin, never mind Lyor Cohen. Radiohead doesn’t need those stinkin’ badges. They’re THINKING FOR THEMSELVES!

What did that button say back in the sixties? "Question Authority"? That’s what Radiohead is doing here. They’re not holding back, saying their hands are tied, but are forging into the future.

You can’t make a TV show by yourself. Certainly not a movie. Not that anyone can see. But you can make a record all by your lonesome, it doesn’t cost that much. And you can say exactly what you want, you don’t need to clean it up for Wal-Mart. And, you can distribute it yourself online. That’s what Radiohead is doing.

Will they make a deal with a major for physical distribution? Will they do it themselves? Or will they leave ALL that money on the table? Shit, that would blow MY mind.

new Radiohead album available to pre-order now – and you can choose how much you pay for it
You can pay as little as 1p for the download album, but a 45p credit card charge will be added.

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  1. [...] st nicht festgelegt. „It’s up to you!“… Hell, Yeah! (via, via) [nachtrag] Schöner Artikel von Bob Lefsetz: What if RADIOHEAD is giving the major lab [...]

  2. Pingback by Novo álbum dos Radiohead: Você decide o preço | 2007/10/01 at 05:01:56

    [...] ndem das grandes companhias discográficas para se manterem no cimo da onda. Mais uma vez, Bob Lefsetz – ele que é um dos que tem mais defendido a viabilidade de alt [...]

  3. Pingback by Thank You, Radiohead at FISTFULAYEN | 2007/10/01 at 07:42:55

    [...] l ticket. Everyone I discussed the issue with said they’d be stupid not to take it (Bob Lefsetz has a pretty good discussion of why conventional wisdom says they s [...]

  4. Pingback by In Rainbows « Cate’s Musings | 2007/10/01 at 10:43:31

    [...] ;ll be interesting to see how it goes. I’m rooting for them, that’s for sure. Even bigger deal: the only place you can download the album [...]

  5. [...] rd industry’s coffin, and direct you to more articulate sources of commentary. From Lefsetz Letter: This is big news. This says the major labels are fucked. U [...]

  6. [...] z, an American music industry critic and consultant to major record labels talks about the importance of Radiohead’s actions [...]

  7. Pingback by | 2007/10/02 at 03:20:04

    [...] Bob Lefsetz, the author of a well-read and curse-addled newsletter on the music industry, celebrated (in so many words) Radioheads scheme because it [...]

  8. Pingback by Arcade Fire Presents… | 2007/10/02 at 09:55:51

    [...] ts… Filed in: Music Add comments In addition to all the Radiohead news going around the internets, there’s also some new stuff (possibly fre [...]

  9. Pingback by Blogoholica: New Radiohead Album | Evolvor Media | 2007/10/02 at 13:06:21

    [...] as well as its impact on online distribution. Always with something to say, Bob Lefsetz is talking a lot about Radiohead, problems with the Radiohead releases’ [...]

  10. [...] free. Not that they believe it will be. Because believers will give you ALL THEIR MONEY! – Bob Lefsetz Hmm…or maybe it’s just their way of [...]

  11. [...] ings worth adding to the analysis from various sources I’ve read, including Hypebot, Bob Lefsetz, Digital Music News, and Contentinople. (I haven’t of cou [...]

  12. Pingback by 100iso.it: Radiohead: major, ciucciateci il calzino | 2007/10/03 at 05:30:52

    [...] in un altro mondo – dice Bob – ma è che giocano con regole diverse”. Questa mossa, spiega, dimostra che è possibile agire al di fuori della p [...]

  13. Pingback by Radiohead Opens The Door at Urban Music Strategies | 2007/10/03 at 09:58:20

    [...] ers like loyal fans and customers instead of thieves — what a revolutionary concept. The Lefsetz Letter: This is big news. This says the major labels are f*cked [...]

  14. Pingback by fair music weblog » Radiohead’s move rocks the boat | 2007/10/03 at 13:54:15

    [...] music analysis, says very directly what he thinks about this news. First he wonders in his The Lefsetz Letter if this news could be true, then thinks about the reason [...]

  15. [...] promote a positive relationship directly between artists and fans. A new paradigm indeed. Bob Lefsetz blog contains an excellent discussion of In Rainbows. The downl [...]

  16. Pingback by A Reminder » Blog Archive » Radiohead Have Made a Record | 2007/10/09 at 03:16:00

    [...] — at the click of a few million mice — make them the most powerful band in Britain. * Bob Lefsetz was pretty excited. It’s not like Radiohead’s living in a d [...]

  17. [...] ng di questo genere. Come sottolinea il guru dell’industria musicale Bob Lefsetz sul suo blog, in passato c’erano stati altri artisti del calibro di Bruce Spr [...]

  18. [...] d consultant to major record labels talks about the importance of Radiohead’s actions: It’s not like Radiohead’s living i [...]

  19. [...] of things worth adding to the analysis from various sources I’ve read, including Hypebot, Bob Lefsetz, Digital Music News, and Contentinople. (I haven’t of course read every commentary on [...]

  20. [...] outing di questo genere. Come sottolinea il guru dell’industria musicale Bob Lefsetz sul suo blog, in passato c’erano stati altri artisti del calibro di Bruce Springsteen o dei Pearl Jam che [...]

  21. [...] a completely game-changing move, fans will be ordering it directly off their website and paying whatever they see fit. Issa [...]

  22. [...] mossa, spiega, dimostra che è possibile agire al di fuori della prassi consolidata: "Ai Radiohead non [...]

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