Thom Yorke just showed U2 how to do Internet. The Radiohead frontman just surprise-released a new solo album called Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes on BitTorrent, showing Bono and co. that you don’t need a tech empire backing you to put out new music in an innovative way. This morning, an e-mail hit our inbox with the subject: A MESSAGE FROM THOM YORKE AND NIGEL GODRICH. It read:
As an experiment we are using a new version of BitTorrent to distribute a new Thom Yorke record.
The new Torrent files have a pay gate to access a bundle of files..
The files can be anything, but in this case is an ‘album’.
It’s an experiment to see if the mechanics of the system are something that the general public can get its head around …
If it works well it could be an effective way of handing some control of internet commerce back to people who are creating the work.
Enabling those people who make either music, video or any other kind of digital content to sell it themselves.
Bypassing the self elected gate-keepers.
If it works anyone can do this exactly as we have done.
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.
Oh yes and it’s called
Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.
Releasing surprise albums online has become standard procedure for Yorke, who pioneered the method back in 2007 with Radiohead’s In Rainbows, which hit the internet with a pay-what-you-can model. The eight track record, which costs $6.00, is available here, and Yorke has also made it available on vinyl. The album’s first “single,” called “A Brain in a Bottle,” has a video that’s free to download on the torrent site, which you should do. Yorke caused rumblings online recently when he posted a mysterious photo of a white vinyl record. That cause rabid speculation that Radiohead was either working on a new album, or about to release one. That turned out to be the Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes that’s available for purchase, but there’s still a good chance that Radiohead is in studio and will release a follow-up to King of Limbs sooner than later, as Yorke has been hinting at on his Twitter account by posting archival Radiohead ephemera.
Anyway, stop reading this and put on your headphones. There’s a new Thom Yorke Record out, the tracklist for which is below.
Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes:
01 A Brain in a Bottle
02 Guess Again!
04 The Mother Lode
05 Truth Ray
06 There Is No Ice (For My Drink)
07 Pink Section
08 Nose Grows Some