British rock band Radiohead is bound to generate buzz with every album the band releases. But in 2007, the release of In Rainbows drew attention not just for its tracks, but for how it was being made available. Radiohead chose to launch the record as a DRM-free download through the band’s website, giving fans the option to pay what they saw fit. After a seemingly successful run as a “pay what you want” digital download, In Rainbows eventually went on to be released in a paid-for physical format.
Fast forward to 2011 and Radiohead are once again gearing up for a release that will defy conventions. However, it’s not conventional music industry business models being challenged this time. On May 9, Radiohead will release what’s being called “the world’s first newspaper album,” an extravagant package that will include two 10-inch vinyl records, a CD, 625 pieces of artwork and access to a digital download of music.
The Kings of Limbs “newspaper album” will sell for $48 for the MP3 version and $53 for the WAV version. Users who pre-order the package can download the digital files starting this Saturday, February 19. The band will also offer a digital-only version also available this Saturday for $9 for MP3 files and $14 for WAV. A CD and vinyl record version will be released in March.