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October 11, 2007

The Day the Music Industry Died

As by now even your mother knows, Radiohead just offered their latest album In Rainbows to download on their website for whatever price feels right. Last week Gelf traced the news of the release from a short message on the band's website to global awareness. Even before Nine Inch Nails, Oasis, Jamiroquai and Madonna announced that they would follow suit and go label-free, the British news media were tripping over themselves to overstate the significance of this event.

Radiohead's music has been known to excite writers to engage in hyperbole (guilty as charged). The band's unique sound—ethereal and rocking, layered and hard-hitting, gorgeous and insert adjective here—inspire introspection and, on one occasion, moved the heavens themselves. In their latest endeavor, Radiohead may have just killed the music industry, if their clippings are to be believed.

Observer UK
Is the bell tolling for the recorded music industry? Some commentators are saying as much following a decision by British band Radiohead to release their next album from their website, cutting out the record labels.

Daily Telegraph
More worryingly for the four international companies that account for 80 per cent of worldwide music sales, they could also sound the death knell for paid-for music.

Daily Telegraph
Embrace digital or die, EMI told

The Independent
Radiohead's decision is only the latest, if the most damaging, nail in the coffin of the mainstream music business.

In an industry stuck in the financial equivalent of Hurricane Alley, In Rainbows is more than just a storm. "This could be the mother of them all," e-mailed an A.-and-R. executive at a major European label. EMI pulled in $3.6 billion last year. It is a couple of Radioheads away from a musical New Orleans.

Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood
People are making a big thing about it being against the industry or trying to change things for people but it's really not what motivated us to do it. It's more about feeling like it was right for us and feeling bored of what we were doing before.

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