Remember when Radiohead released TK as a free download and fans could pay whatever they wanted to for the album? That was cool. Now we have Thom Yorke asking for money with his new solo album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes–which he’s distributing via a paywall version of BitTorrent. [photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty]
Yes, that would be the same BitTorrent that record labels’ hate for being a great way to spread around pirated music. This is kind of up there with Limp Bizkit getting corporate sponsorship from Napster back in the ’90s–but more hip, obviously.
Thom Yorke isn’t the first act to use BitTorrent’s technology, but acts like Madonna and De La Soul have used the piracy outfit to give away things like documentaries. Yorke’s big experiment is to sell his $6 album via BitTorrent and avoid paying a cut of the profits to Amazon or Spotify or other usual suspects. In the process, a lot of people are going to be introduced to BitTorrent, and downloading files from BitTorrent. Yorke explains the appeal of that via the Radiohead site (ellipses in original)…
The torrent mechanism does not require any server uploading or hosting costs or “cloud” malarkey. It’s a self-contained embeddable shop front… The network not only carries the traffic, it also hosts the file. The file is in the network.
So that’s cool, and the video for the song “A Brain in the Bottle” isn’t bad, either. Hey, did you know that you can scrape the music off any Youtube video and listen to it for free? Yeah, you don’t even need BitTorrent–but, you know, $6 is a pretty good price, so forget we mentioned that….