As already reported, EMI/Parlophone is releasing a Radiohead box set consisting of their first six albums and the live mini-album, I Might Be Wrong, just in time to compete with Radiohead's independently released seventh album, In Rainbows (TMT Review). Sure, Radiohead has nothing to do with the box set release, but this isn't just a case of EMI trying to capitalize on the Radiohead brouhaha; it's also a case of ownership. EMI owns the "mechanical rights" (the reproduction of a song on a record) to Radiohead's first six albums. Furthermore, EMI owns the duration of the contract. Obvious, but compelling. And now that Radiohead is off the label and has long since recouped any expenses for it, the company is now predictably flexing its proprietary muscles, functioning as the major label machine that it is. Rude? Yes. Good business sense? Of course, and it certainly highlights a significant difference between major labels and independent labels.
But Radiohead won't have to worry about that sort of shit from now on, so long as they stay independent of this major label machine. For In Rainbows, Radiohead are simply licensing (through Warner Chappell Music Publishing) to other independent labels like XL Recordings and Side One/ATO.
Blah blah blah. Anyway, the new news? XL Recordings recently confirmed the UK release date of the physical (CD/LP) version for December 31, while "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" will be the album's first single, set for a January 14 release date. Now, I know what you're thinking: "But, but, I already bought the album and/or paid 'nothing'... XL is not going to make any money!" You see, my friend, you're totally forgetting about all the casual music buyers, like Ray Romano, who shop at Best Buy, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, etc., as well as the middle-aged, non-tech savvy consumers, like Carrie Bradshaw, who make up a huge portion of the CD-buying market.
Meanwhile, Radiohead's camp deny the legitimacy of any and all figures of In Rainbows' sales derived from independent companies:
In response to purely speculative figures announced in the press regarding the number of downloads and the price paid for the album, the group's representatives would like to remind people that, as the album could only be downloaded from the band's website, it is impossible for outside organisations to have accurate figures on sales.
However, they can confirm that the figures quoted by the company comScore Inc are wholly inaccurate and in no way reflect definitive market intelligence or, indeed, the true success of the project.
Those studies are so annoying.