Filed under: Feature | Tags: Arts, Arts and Entertainment, Business, Compact Disc, David Byrne, Music, Radiohead, Thom Yorke
RADIOHEAD: REMIXING THE MIDDLEMAN
CD sales are expected to plummet 14.2% from 2006 to 2012 as reported by Wired. Most in the music industry react to this percentage with all out panic. For an artist’s perspective on traditional music distribution models, check out David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists — and Megastars (Wired 12/07).
Rather than relying on a music industry poised to hit the panic button, Radiohead decided to tackle the digital universe head-on.
First Comes the Album
Since the October 10th online release of In Rainbows, Radiohead fans have enjoyed a steady stream of incredibly engaging, mostly free interactive promotions and content in what is quickly becoming the new media music story of ’08. During the album’s first 29 days online in October, 1.2 million users visited the site as reported by comScore. The album was available as a DRM-free digital download on a pay-what-you-wish model. 2 out of every 5 users were willing to pay for the product. Interesting to note, however, that U.S. users paid on average $8.05 per download while the worldwide average was $4.64.
The album was officially released in stores and for sale online January 1st 2008 and quickly took the number 1 spot even though the album had been available for free as a pre-release for the preceding 3 months.
Then Comes the Film
Fans rang in the New Year with a midnight airing of Scotch Mist, the band’s first live performance of the entire album of In Rainbows on radiohead.com. The film also aired on various local cable channels around the country and was later released on iTunes and a variety of sites including YouTube for free.
On to the Promotions
And Finally the Remix
As mentioned on these pages last week, the band recently launched www.radioheadremix.com with XL Recordings, inviting us all to channel our inner producer and remix their latest single “Nude.” In doing so, Radiohead started the ultimate conversation with their fans by surrendering creative control of the music to the masses. Our Marauder has been listening to the top-rated mix by Holy F-ck on repeat for over a week now frustrating her co-workers to no end.
The Marauder Chillout Mix
As a fan of both the band and their evolving re-creation of the business of music (NOT the music business), I decided to try out my own remix. After a few of hours learning Garageband (love it!) and numerous failed attempts, here is Nude (The Marauder Chillout Mix). I’ve never had so much fun listening to music as I did while working on this track.
The Facebook Application
Radiohead was not the first to re-invent the music industry’s most damaged wheel, but after the revenue numbers are all in, I doubt they’ll be the last.
The score now stands at:
Music Label Goliath: 0
Post and Remix Credit: Ashmi Elizabeth Dang
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