work blog about search

Radiohead’s new album: In Rainbows


It's not often in this media-saturated, webbed up world that someone can pull something off that is (more or less) a complete surprise.

So kudos to the boys from Radiohead for pulling their new album out of the bag without anyone really knowing it was happening. They've just announced the release of their new album In Rainbows, which will be available from Wednesday 10 October.

But not content with just catching the media with a surprise release, they're also rethinking how an album is released. At liberty to do pretty much what they want as they're not signed to a record label, they're releasing it as a download only first, and they've left it up to the buyer to choose how much to pay for it. But you can also pre-order a handsome box-set of the album, designed in collaboration with Stanley Donwood, for delivery sometime on or before Monday 3 December. The set includes the ten track CD, and LP of the same, a digital download, an extra CD with eight further tracks, photos and artwork, plus art and lyrics booklets. It'll set you back £40. Then in early 2008 they'll release it as a standard CD.

This all raises some fascinating questions about the financial and emotional value we place in music, both as audible experience and tangible physical product. Obviously the guys in Radiohead aren't short of cash, so it's not a huge deal for them to release the music without asking anyone to pay for it. Does it devalue music to do so? Or at least make us rethink our expectations about what we should pay for digital downloads? And releasing a sumptuous box set reflects on the emotional worth of a physical item.

The Guardian music blog has posted about it, and the comments make for fascinating reading.

And check out Creative Review's blog for a look at the box set.

We think it's all pretty groovy. Our only problem is the In Rainbows website. Yeeurch. It looks like a migraine.

But, what we really want to know, is how much will you pay for the download? Let us know below. We paid a fiver, as that felt like a reasonable amount for a new album. But it could be that we've been brainwashed by the machine...

posted: 2 October 2007
categories: Graphics | Music
recommended reading

Ace Jet 170
One of the finest individual design blogs (it’s been going as long as I have!) from Irish designer Richard Weston. Covering found type, print and stuff.

Casual Optimist
If you want to know what’s happening in the world of book cover design, keep an eye on this excellent blog by Dan Wagstaff.

Design Declares
A growing group of designers, design studios, agencies and institutions who have declared a climate and ecological emergency. As part of the global declaration movement, we commit to harnessing the tools of our industry to reimagine, rebuild and heal our world.

Eye Magazine
The best graphic design magazine out there, from editor John L. Walters and art director Simon Esterson.

Flat File
A fantastic collection of online publications based on pieces from the Herb Lubalin Study Centre.

Justin’s Amazing World
Justin Hobson, of Fenner Paper, is a bona fide expert on paper & print, and a charming chap to boot. His blog features in-depth analysis of the projects he’s worked on, including a few of our own.
One of the oldest blogs on the web. And one of the best.

Spitalfields Life
The anonymous Gentle Author of this wonderful blog has promised to write 10,000 stories about the life & culture of Spitalfields in east London, writing one story each and every day.

St Bride Library
The St Bride Library houses one of the world’s finest collection of books (& related objects) about printing and design. It also hosts unmissable design talks and events.