Reports are circulating that Radiohead’s forthcoming album “Hail to Thief” has already been doing the rounds on the file sharing networks. What is interesting is that the band don’t seem particularly bothered. As an established band with a contract that will ensure them a decent share of sales revenues, Radiohead have a lot more to loose from illegal file sharing of their album than a younger band who are unlikely to see anything from sales once costs and advances have been recouped.
So why aren’t Radiohead up in arms. Firstly, it is down to the nature of the band themselves. Even though they are a multi-million selling international rock band now, they stick close to their roots and have retained much of their artistic integrity, opting for experimentation over sing-along stadium anthems. Secondly, they have always been ahead of the curve in utilising new technology and recognising its marketing and promotional potential. (See our report on Radiohead’s Budy Bot for Amnesiac) . Their last two albums were widely shared online, ahead of and after release, yet were massive hits, establishing the band stateside. Both albums benefited hugely from the underground buzz created online. Not many albums manage to make it to the top of the US charts and still retain an underground, alternative vibe.
Radiohead are an innovative band who place their music and fans ahead of record sales, yet as a direct result, the sales follow. I remember seeing a Radiohead gig before they were signed (many aeons ago *sighs*) and was blown away by them then. They’ve stuck to their guns and make a refreshing change to the highly manufactured air that hangs around today’s charts. But it is their whol- hearted embracement of the Internet that sets them apart and establishes them as a model of good practice for the Music Industry.