Radiohead Unleashes Releases, Brings Drama to EMI

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Radiohead continued to shape its bleeding-edge sales strategy over the holidays, both online and off.

As scheduled, the band pushed its latest release, In Rainbows, in physical form on both sides of the Atlantic.

But the group also broadened its distribution online.   The latest stab includes DRM-free versions on iTunes Plus, as well as high-end MP3s and lossless FLACs on 7digital.  That follows a high-profile, name-your-price download play, one that yielded mixed results.

On New Year’s Eve, the group also promoted its album through a performance on Current TV, the Al Gore-led cable channel.  And online, fans were treated to a band-focused widget.

The freshly-independent Radiohead represents a larger problem for major labels, and the split was anything but amicable.  In a recent Times UK report, an EMI spokesperson outlined a demand by Radiohead for an “extraordinary amount of money,” and an ultimately bad deal.

In response, Thom Yorke urged the Times to “check its facts before it prints such dirt,” and pointed to a desire for greater control over their release.  “We did not ask for a load of cash from our old record label EMI to re-sign,” Yorke stated.  “That is a L I E.”