English Alternative Rock band Radiohead has unveiled their much-awaited new album, titled The King of Limbs, through the revolutionary download only distribution model. The album, which will be available for download this Saturday, is the second album to be released via digital download.
The King of Limbs is the band's first album since 2007's In Rainbows, which was also released in the same download-first distribution model. However, for new album, there will not be a pay what you want or otherwise free option provided for the previous album. The latest album download will come at a fixed price of about $9.00.
The band's eighth studio album will be available for download through a website from Saturday, Feb. 19. Fans will be able to pick between mp3 and .wav formats.
CD and vinyl editions of the new album are slated to be released on March 28. The band is boasting of its vinyl edition as the world's first newspaper album, referring to its elaborate jacket which folds out like a newspaper.
Radiohead first released the details of the album on Monday. The King of Limbs was produced by longtime Radiohead musical collaborator Nigel Godrich.
A new press photo shows Radiohead leaning against a tree, seemingly throwing light on the inspiration behind the album. The King of Limbs is said to have been named after an oak in Wiltshire's Savernake Forest, which is believed to be close to 1,000 years old.
One crucial detail that the band has not released is the full track listing, giving raise to frenzied rumors and speculations. There is also a flurry of reports on the possibility of a show in Japan after the band tweeted on the album in Japanese.
Radiohead shook up the music industry when it released the In Rainbows album in 2007, by allowing fans to download the album for free or whatever price they chose to pay. Although the 2007 album release held far more significance with respect to the connection between money, music (or any form of art) and skyrocketing piracy rates, The King of Limbs heralds the beginning of digital distribution in the music industry.
The band has produced and self-released independently of any major record label. There is no corresponding iTunes launch. This model makes possible a direct linkage between the musician and the fans. It also cuts costs and consequently the album is cheaper with no label overheads. When given an option -- as in the case of the 2007 Radiohead album -- people may not hesitate to pay more. Moreover, digital download model does not completely wipe out the physical releases which mostly attract the collectors or hardcore fans.