“Just ordered the Radiohead album, but why can’t I have the audio now?”
That’s a tweet from Joe Taylor earlier this morning, one of many tweets, blog posts and news stories relating to the release of the new Radiohead album “King Of Limbs” (great title) on Saturday next. The album is now available …
That’s a tweet from Joe Taylor earlier this morning, one of many tweets, blog posts and news stories relating to the release of the new Radiohead album “King Of Limbs” (great title) on Saturday next. The album is now available to be ordered and it’s highly likely that it’s ready to go right about now – I imagine Radiohead are not the kind of band who leave things to the last minute in the recording studio. So why the hold-up?
Traditionally, the delay between the announcement of a new record and the release date was to do with that old-school record business idea of building some hype around a release. You had a few weeks or days to get ink and media attention about an upcoming release. It applied to everyone: the record industry would insist that a band of Radiohead’s stature, a band with a fanatical fanbase built during years with and many releases on a major label, would have to put in the hype to get word out about the release.
Personally, I don’t really think that Radiohead need to do this anymore. I reckon they could put the album out tomorrow and it would still dominate the conversation all week. But for all their experience and popularity, they’re still unable to get away from the way things have always been done.
It is surprising because Radiohead have shown themselves open to trying out new-ish ideas (the initial release of “In Rainbows”, for example), yet they’re also quite conservative too (look at how they jumped into bed with established labels XL and ATO for the physical release of that last album). You would think that they’d feel confident in their own appeal not to have to spend the week before a release getting the interwebs excited about the album, but there you go. It seems that even the most self-proclaimed radical of bands feel they have to stay in tune with how things have always been done.