pop culture's bravest

Year in Review: Radiohead Kills the Music Business

Photo: Radiohead.com

From now until the end of the year, Vulture will celebrate the people who made 2007 what it was: Pop Culture’s Bravest.

In what will surely be remembered as 2007’s most important blog post (just ahead of this one, we hope), Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood announced the details of his band’s seventh LP: “Well, the new album is finished, and it’s coming out in 10 days; we’ve called it In Rainbows.” No sooner had he typed those words than Clive Davis exploded, all our CD players turned into pumpkins, and angels came down from heaven and punched Doug Morris in the groin.

In reality, Radiohead probably didn’t do much to accelerate the downfall of the traditional music industry (it was doomed anyway). It’s also questionable just how big a step In Rainbows and its pay-what-you-want price tag were toward the way music will be sold in the future, since it would probably only work for three or four bands on Earth not named Radiohead. Still, Thom Yorke & Co. were the first to try it; it got them tons of attention — come to think of it, did any other albums come out this year? — and likely even more money. (How much money? We have no idea since the band is keeping quiet [“It’s our linen … We don’t want to wash it in public,” one of their managers told the New York Times on Sunday], but probably millions, though.) And we don’t begrudge them any of it. Why not? Well, because In Rainbows is really, really good.

Earlier: Vulture’s 2007 Radiohead coverage.
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Year in Review: Radiohead Kills the Music Business