Doing a Radiohead?

As we all know, Radiohead self-released their record, In Rainbows, let fans pick the price for the download, charged up the wazoo for the immaculate box set, and is planning to release the cd on plastic for people who like stores to make their purchase as well. While controversy swirls — was the bitrate so low in an effort to make fans buy it twice? did 60% really pay nothing? did it really come out to just over $2 per download? etc etc (as far as I can tell, the answers aren’t public to date despite polls trying to figure it out), the concept has already become so watered down as to be almost irrelevant.

Witness the NME’s announcement that My Bloody Valentine are, as they put it, “doing a Radiohead.”

What does it now mean to “do a Radiohead”?

All it means is that you release a record yourself, on the internet.

No set your own price (which others did before Radiohead anyway, see Jane Siberry for instance).

No groovy box set.

Just a plain old “here’s our record, download it directly from us.”

I’m all for self releasing your music when it’s feasible, but what’s with giving Radiohead the credit for an idea hundreds, nay thousands, of other bands have been doing for years? Silly.

Comments (4) to “Doing a Radiohead?”

  1. I agree that it’s a bit much to credit Radiohead, but they’re what people know. I’m not a fan of their music, though I think I’d like the old stuff if I heard it again, and yet their name definitely means something to me. I have no idea who My Bloody Valentine are. Even less of an idea who the other thousands of artists are.

    I remember hearing that Radiohead were “pulling a Reznor” when they started sticking it to the man by negotiating their own distribution. I reckon that expression fell by the wayside not because it was factually inaccurate or didn’t credit the right parties, but because “Radiohead” resonates while “Reznor” does not.

  2. Aren´t Radiohead the first major-major-band (and with this I mean bands who are up there with U2 sort of) who´s done this? So not surprising that they get the cred for it. Like Conor said above, they´re what people know.

    Furthermore, the opposite of “doing a Radiohead” would be “doing a Lars Ulrich”, both ideologically and musically. How low was the bitrate, btw? Didn´t know people had conspiracy / marketing-theories about that.

  3. The bitrate was only 160kbps, sadly. See here and here about that.

  4. Thanks, Conor. 160 kbps is a bit low, for sure. Should´ve told the buyers in advance too.