The Internet had already witnessed much of the gestation of “In Rainbows,” as Radiohead tested songs in public, knowing they would be bootlegged immediately. “The first time we ever did ‘All I Need,’ boom! It was up on YouTube,” Mr. Yorke said. “I think it’s fantastic. The instant you finish something, you’re really excited about it, you’re really proud of it, you hope someone’s heard it, and then, by God, they have. It’s O.K. because it’s on a phone or a video recorder. It’s a bogus recording, but the spirit of the song is there, and that’s good. At that stage that’s all you need to worry about.”
In April the band also had a meeting with their managers, Chris Hufford and Bryce Edge, who had a suggestion: as the band were without a record deal, why not release the album themselves, via the internet? Cue much discussion, endless meetings. Then, another idea: how about letting people decide how much they paid for it? If anyone could 'get away with' such a seemingly reckless plan...
And how has it gone – the download thing?
Incidentally, among OMM's respondents - and bearing in mind these questions came via fansites, so the results should be weighed accordingly - half bought the box set. Ten per cent refused to say if or how much they paid. Of the remaining 40 per cent, just under a quarter paid nothing. Of the 75 per cent who did pay, the average price was £5.65. If we include those who didn't pay, the average price per download was £4.33.
The CD market will halve in 5 years