Monday, October 01, 2007

What the new Radiohead album might mean...

via Jamie and
So, Radiohead has a new album coming out Oct. 101 (whoo-hooooo!). It's called In Rainbows and it may be the death knell of the RIAA and their obselete business model.
Sure, it's been tried before. Public Enemy tried the digital experiment, sans label. And unsigned bands have been throwing their tracks online for ages.
Radiohead going it alone is an event of some significance, though. They're still on the top of their game, and they're still critical darlings.
The mainstream press has already jumped all over the story. That means that mainstream music fans will know about the album, and might actually pay for the download. Then again, there's the legions of idiots who'll be trading it on Limewire and the torrents...
If Radiohead can achieve label-level success without major label distribution, the RIAA is over. Pure and simple. When an artist can control their material -- can control their own music from conception to delivery -- they have all that power that the RIAA has been trying to throw around. And the RIAA...well, they've got nothing.
Sure, Metallica will still sue the shit out of their fans after the RIAA is history. But the business model of the RIAA signatories might just be over. The labels might just implode.
This could be excellent for artists. No more seven-cent-per-unit-sold royalties. No more labels owning the masters. No more oppressive contracts. Freedom -- real creative and artistic freedom.
The labels have strangled recording artists for too long. Look at all the classic rock artists from the 50s and 60s who're starving without royalty payments. Look at the surviving Beatles no longer owning their songs. The current business model is a failure for the artists -- it only serves corporate greed.
It's time for a change. And maybe we've taken the first step in the right direction.

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