In 2013, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke called Spotify the “last desperate fart of a dying corpse.” Translation: Spotify stinks for artists. Now the crotchety frontman who launched a thousand Coldplays has hatched a master plan for taking on the streaming-music industry and its razor-thin sharing margins–and it involves torrents.
Say what?! Today, Yorke is using a new BitTorrent product called “Bundles” to launch his spooky new solo album, “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes,” which customers can pick up for $6 . As his longtime collaborator Nigel Godrich notes, “The torrent mechanism does not require any server uploading or hosting costs or ‘cloud’ malarkey.”
Now, if Yorke’s tag team with BitTorrent doesn’t quite strike you as simpatico, remember: Radiohead has experimented with weird viral stunts for its records before. You might remember that in 2007, Radiohead released “On Rainbows” and let fans pay whatever they wanted for it. It falls in line with BitTorrent’s current M.O. to reinvent itself as a legitimate business, and not just a place for pirates to go nuts. If sites like Spotify made it easy for listeners to stream free music, Yorke and his kin are angling for an even more frictionless way for artists to get their due.
Get excited, y’all!