In 2007, Radiohead sent a shock-wave around the music industry when it released its album In Rainbows online, letting the purchaser set the price they wanted to pay for it. Some hailed it as the future of music distribution, others thought it would be a total failure. In reality, it wasn’t really either. While the album found huge success (it was also released in the traditional way later), Radiohead waffled on the idea of using such a distribution method in the future. But today they’re back online with a new single.
“Harry Patch (In Memory Of)” is available today on the band’s website. But there’s a difference between it and In Rainbows — it has a set price. £1.00 (or roughly $1.70) gets you the single in high-quality MP3 format. But don’t mistake this for Radiohead completely abandoning some of its online experimentation ideas, this single has a price primarily because its proceeds are going to the Royal British Legion.
You see, Harry Patch was the name the last remaining UK World War I veteran before he passed away recently at the age of 111. As Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has more about Patch on the band’s blog.
While I’m certainly all for paying a small amount of money to get a song and help a cause, it would have been slightly more convenient if the ban had chosen one of the more popular methods to distribute the song online, meaning iTunes or Amazon. Entering all your credit card and billing information just to get one $1.70 song is kind of a pain. But of course, had they distributed through iTunes or Amazon, it may have meant less money going to the cause.
You can find the song and a preview of it here.