Are digital albums the future?

in_rainbows_official_cover.jpgNot so fast says Thom Yorke. In an interview with BBC Radio 4 Yorke said releasing an album in only digital format would have been “mad.”

The Radiohead front man explained:

We didn’t want it to be a big announcement about ‘everything’s over except the internet, the internet’s the future’, ’cause that’s utter rubbish. And it’s really important to have an artefact as well, as they call it, an object.

Radiohead sent shock waves across the music industry last fall by independently releasing its long anticipated album “In Rainbows.” The band dropped its old label EMI in favor of the self-release and later signed with two independent labels to distribute physical albums in the US and the UK.

I was at CMJ right after the album announcement and it really was all that anyone could talk about. Even now though, the real effect remains unclear. The band refuses to give a firm number as to how many digital copies were moved. Rumors place sales at around 1.2 million, but Yorke has stated that number to be incorrect — although he could just be being coy.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that we’re in the midst of a sea change.

Web-only album ‘mad’, says Yorke [BBC]