Thom Yorke hates CDs

It’s no secret that Radiohead aren’t afraid to try something new with their distribution models, particularly in the scope of online delivery. Their free release of In Rainbows, where consumers were encouraged to pay what they felt it was worth, garnered them a lot of media (if not money).

Now, Thom Yorke has spoken out in Believer magazine, admitting that CDs were never his favourite:

“There’s a process of natural selection going on right now. The music business was waiting to die in its current form about 20 years ago. But then, hallelujah, the CD turned up and kept it going for a bit. But basically, it was dead.”

More digital downloads for Radiohead in the future, then?

8 thoughts on “Thom Yorke hates CDs

  1. I dunno. I think the music industry absolutely needs to embrace the digital age but at the same time, from my own point of view, it’s a lot more satisying owning a hard copy of an album than a digital one. Just my own personal thing though rather than any impact on the music industry itself.

    There’s far too much conflict concerning whether CD’s are dead or whether downloading music is essential I reckon anyway. Both are there for music listeners as alternatives. Whether going digotal will vastly reduce costs in terms of prduction for music companies is another thing.

    Concernign Radiohead I’m still unsure on the whole In Rainbows thing. They seemed to get more media attention from it than anything else, and even then, more people bought it as a CD I heard even though they could get it for 50p. No idea if that is true, mind you, just sticks out in my mind reading it a few months after it’s release at retail.

  2. There’s far too much conflict concerning whether CD’s are dead or whether downloading music is essential I reckon anyway. Both are there for music listeners as alternatives.

    The conflict is happening because the future of the album is changing. I think it must be hard for those that prefer physical media to accept that their way is becoming the niche way, rather than the mainstream choice.

  3. Concernign Radiohead I’m still unsure on the whole In Rainbows thing. They seemed to get more media attention from it than anything else, and even then, more people bought it as a CD I heard even though they could get it for 50p. No idea if that is true, mind you, just sticks out in my mind reading it a few months after it’s release at retail.

    I agree actually. I wrote at the time that the In Rainbows ploy was as much about selling the physical bundle as the whole name-your-price business model (not that there’s a viable business model in that idea). Whatever the case, brilliant piece of marketing!

  4. not that there’s a viable business model in that idea

    there isn’t, but with fans seemingly happy to pay £100+ to see a live show these days, maybe there doesn’t need to be?

    maybe artists don’t need any of this stuff, they just have to get out there and work hard.

  5. but with fans seemingly happy to pay £100+ to see a live show these days, maybe there doesn’t need to be?

    How many artists earn that kind of money, or even close? Touring is/can be very expensive (particularly when an emerging act needs to buy onto tours — marketing supposedly…)

    Nowadays the recording is touted as a marketing tool too. I can see a day, with 3DTV (BskyB aims to start trailing next year), that the same fate which befell the record will befall live performances. Investors are running out of ways of monetising tunes.

    they just have to get out there and work hard

    True, I don’t know any successful artist who hasn’t worked *extremely* hard — certainly harder than most people realise — but *just* working hard isn’t a solution.

    Anyhow, back to Mr Yorke, no doubting he’s a very clever guy and always worth watching.

  6. How many artists earn that kind of money, or even close?

    seems to be quite a few, although it’ll take a while for finances from current tours to come in. madonna is making money on the road, u2 appear to be making money even though they’re not shifting records.

    I can see a day, with 3DTV, that the same fate which befell the record will befall live performances

    you’ve lost me a bit here. 3dtv will kill live performances because…?

  7. One look at average ticket prices on http://www.pollstar.com suggests most artists are not selling tix anywhere near 100 quid.

    And this from a recent WSJ article on Ticketmaster Q2 results:

    Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc.’s (TKTM) second-quarter earnings tumbled 70% amid merger expenses, while the live-entertainment ticketer and promoter reported a drop in sales…. Revenue decreased 7.1%, to $355.1 million, as ticketing revenue fell 18%. The number of tickets sold dropped 11%, while the average price dropped 7%.

    I didn’t suggest 3DTV would kill live performances, and of course watching a band live in 3D is not — will never be? — the same as being at a gig.** Indeed developments such as this are potential new income streams for artists. But digitisation of entertainment content has tended to put downward pressure on prices and I believe it’s reasonable to suggest that this will carry over and put pressure on ticket pricing.

    Yes, live is critical and many artists do make good money, but too much weight is put on it as a means of offsetting recording revenue declines, and it is used as a justification by some commentators to validate the absurd notion that recordings are now a marketing tool rather than having any intrinsic financial value.

    ** That said, if my local IMAX had removed the seats and put a monster bar in the theatre for the U2 3D flicker I reckon it would have been a pretty cool event.

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