Radiohead: People still want an “object”

Radiohead front-man Thom Yorke still isn’t saying much about how many people downloaded the band’s “In Rainbows” digital release — except to say that the group has done quite well by it, thanks very much — but what he will say is that the idea of a Web-only album is “stark raving mad,” according to an interview with the BBC. Yorke says that people still want “an object” of some kind when they buy music:

“We didn’t want it to be a big announcement about ‘everything’s over except the internet, the internet’s the future’, ’cause that’s utter rubbish. And it’s really important to have an artefact as well, as they call it, an object.”

Is that true? I’m not so sure. I certainly don’t feel any compulsion to have a physical object when I buy music — if anything, I find it cumbersome and kind of a pain — and I bet there are lots of people like me. I think Thom might want to revisit his views on digital-only releases. As it stands, the In Rainbows move seems to have been primarily designed to shaft the traditional record labels, which Yorke has nothing but scorn for.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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