My college-age kids turned me onto Radiohead a few years ago. Radiohead’s 1997 album Ok, Computer was acclaimed as a landmark album in the decade that was the ’90s. I can never remember song names and titles anymore, but many of the band’s melodies have stuck in my head; and the accompaniments are so original as to still sound fresh, years later. Take the time signature on Paranoid Android, for example. Please. I still can’t figure it out.
Thom Yorke and his gang are now intent on turning the recording industry on its head by releasing its latest album, presumably titled In Rainbows via free download. They are popular enough to get away with this. In fact, most popular groups could get away with this and since they generally don’t make much – if any – money from album sales, they may very well threaten to do so just to get better deals with their recording studios.
Even though I think they are greedy bastards, the recording industry does use some of the obscene profits from popular bands to subsidize the up-and-coming groups. It’s bad enough for them that illegal downloads and off-shore copying has seriously impacted album sales, but without the cash cow of popular bands, the business of music recording is in for a major revamp.
It was long overdue.