Now Radiohead has changed the dynamic, basically daring their fans to say that we are entitled to their music for little or no cost. Basically its the entertainment version of a guilt trip. Under normal circumstances, I would have probably tried to cobble together the record from various Internet sources for free, but by allowing me to determining the value of the music, they got money out of me that they would not normally have. Is this the future of purchasing music? Probably not. ITunes wouldn't allow this sort of behavior to exist if it ends up threatening their digital empire. The record labels, already teetering on the brink of being irrelevant, will continue to strike at the nature of downloadable music because it threatens their bottom line. What makes this situation unique is that it is a group with a proven track record for sales and a fan base that is willing to leap into the unknown with their band. Had this been any other band (an in fact I know that HARVEY DANGER actually gave away their last record for free on their site) tried this they would have been looked at as fools for messing with their profit potential. But because we trust and respect Mr. Yorke and Company, they may have made more money this way then they would have using traditional means. You have to at least tip your hat to them for trying something new.
As for the music on "In Rainbows"? It is of course brilliant. Very similar in style to "Hail To The Thief" it has a lot of the same sparse rock nature with the electronic flourishes to give it that slightly otherworldly feel they have been crafting for awhile now. It appears that Thom Yorke's solo record has not had any real impact on the band's sound. I will probably give a better analysis later in the week when I have fully digested it.
For now...enjoy a couple of tracks (and for goodness sake, spend some money on it, let's not be total anarchists shall we?)
(mp3) Radiohead -- All I Need (great bass line on this one)
(mp3) Radiohead -- Bodysnatchers (probably the hardest rocking thing on the album)