Radiohead announces “In Rainbows.” Released Oct. 10. Download for whatever price you want to pay.

radiohead in rainbows

A very brief post at dead air space, the official Radiohead blog, informs the world that the band’s first album in four years will be available for mass experiencing in ten days:

Hello everyone.

Well, the new album is finished, and it’s coming out in 10 days;

We’ve called it In Rainbows.

Love from us all.

radiohead discbox
In Rainbows Discbox

The post links to the In Rainbows store site, which features a neat animated background with a couple options for pre-ordering the record.

The first is a physical “Discbox” version that includes the both a compact disc of In Rainbows, two vinyl records, a second cd with additional new songs, artwork and booklets and comes packaged in hardback book form. The entire set runs £40.00 (roughly USD$80) and isn’t expected to ship until December. Buyers, however, will receive access to digital downloads of the album on 10/10.

The package looks pretty cool, but eighty bucks is a bit steep for an album, even one from Radiohead. Fortunately, Radiohead is as innovative in their business practices as they are in their music. Showing that the band “gets it” in the new millennial music world, a basic download version of In Rainbows will also be available on 10/10. But get this, there’s no set price for it; you can pay whatever you want. The checkout screen brings up an empty field where you put in how much you’re willing to give (in British Pounds and Pence) in exchange for ten new Radiohead songs. “It’s up to you,” the band says, “No really, it’s up to you.”

radiohead set your own price

An iTunes-like rate of $0.99 per song converts to £4.84 for the entire album and that seems quite fair. The only thing that’s not mentioned is the format and bitrate of the downloads. MP3, AAC, FLAC, other rights-managed or not? 128 kbps, 256 kbps? Radiohead, I’m sure, has come up with an equitable solution.

Also, at the end of the year though, I would love to see a chart of the range of prices people are wiling to pay. That would be fascinating look at the value consumers place on downloadable music.

For a preview, here’s a live version of track 5: All I Need, recorded in Chicago, June 2006:

Radiohead: All I Need- Chicago 6/20/06

Additional live previews were compiled by Rawkblog this past July. Download away.

6 thoughts on “Radiohead announces “In Rainbows.” Released Oct. 10. Download for whatever price you want to pay.

  1. my initial response was to pay more than 10 bucks to show support of this idea… but then again I may deduct a few bucks since its been so long since the last album 🙂


    tunequest Reply:

    I suppose one strategy would be to pay near nothing for the download (as a kind of “preview”) and if you really enjoy it, spring for the Discbox.

    I suspect there will be many people who start off with the download, only to end up with the Discbox as well.


  2. Well, my plan is to get the download for free, and pay for the discbox. I won’t be able to pre-order until tomorrow, as I’d expect purchasing would require a credit card, and my parents, the only people I know who would trust me with a credit card, are gone til tomorrow. Yeah, sometimes sucks being fourteen. But I’m sure that when I finally pre-order it (which would cost something like 60 euro) it will be worth it when I get it. I mean, new Radiohead album, plus bonus CD, PLUS the album on vinyl? Seems a good price to me. haha.


    tunequest Reply:

    Welcome David.

    I’ll just point out that there’s no rush to pre-order. The songs won’t be available for ten more days. I still haven’t placed my order since I’m trying to decide exactly how much I want to exchange for the download or decide to go all out for the Discbox.

    I’m also still waiting to find out what format the digital files are going to be before I commit to buy. In any case, as you said, it’s Radiohead. In any format, I’m sure it’ll be fantastic.


    David Reply:

    Exactly… the only question I’m really asking about it is the files. If it’s AT LEAST a high-quality mp3 with no DRM I’ll be happy enough. Every now and again the site’s slowing down due to heavy traffic and I keep hearing stuff about people not getting any emails. The email thing is probably due to the fact that the site’s so busy so I wouldn’t worry about that.

    It may be a smarter idea to wait until the site slows down a bit, yeah…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *