Industry looks for pot of gold at the end of In Rainbows
Back in 2007, the music business story of the year was Radiohead’s decision to release their album In Rainbows on a pay-what-you-want basis.
The majority of industry observers followed the party line that this was a revolutionary move.
Few mentioned that the Oxford band could only afford to do this because they had established a huge audience over a 12-year tenure and a six-album innings on EMI.
But Radiohead’s altruism with In Rainbows was never going to be infinite.
The Torrent Freak blog reported this week that industry lobby groups the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) have begun to target fans who are sharing In Rainbows songs online with cease-and-desist letters.
Yep, the very same songs the band were giving away potentially for free in October 2007.
The problem lies in the fact that the band signed a brace of deals with XL Records and Sony subsidiary ATO for the December 2007 physical release of the album.
Now, the RIAA and IFPI, the bodies who represent the labels Radiohead signed with, have sent in their legal eagles, asking blogs sharing the band’s material to stop.
“These recordings are owned by one of our member companies and have not been authorised for this kind of use,” said the RIAA, which represents major US labels, in one letter.
Given Radiohead’s stance on file-sharing, you’d expect a response. After all, do the labels really own the recordings or do they just have rights over the physical distribution of the album?
A band rep declined to comment when contacted by Torrent Freak.
Radiohead: no such thing as a free album?