Radiohead, The King of Limbs [preorder]

Posted by Greg , Monday, February 14, 2011 10:17 AM

Radiohead have just announced their new album, The King of Limbs, which will be available digitally this Saturday Friday.  The band is taking preorders on its website, but unlike 2007's set-your-own-price In Rainbows, it will cost $9 for mp3 and $14 for WAV.

Alternatively, you can purchase the "newspaper album" version, which includes:
  • Two clear 10" vinyl records in a purpose-built record sleeve.
  • A compact disc.
  • Many large sheets of artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-colour piece of oxo-degradeable plastic to hold it all together.
  • The Newspaper Album comes with a digital download that is compatible with all good digital media players.
  • The Newspaper Album will be shipped on Monday 9th May 2011 you can, however, enjoy the download on Saturday 19th February 2011.
  • Shipping is included in the prices shown.
  • One lucky owner of the digital version of The King Of Limbs, purchased from this website, will receive a signed 2 track 12" vinyl.
    I love Radiohead, and I'm a supporter of vinyl, but this sounds like a joke.  The two versions are being offered for $48 (mp3) and $53 (WAV), which seems ridiculous.  You can walk into any record store in the country and buy new vinyl for 20 bucks.  Sometimes online retailers will sell records for even cheaper than that.  And when you buy vinyl, most bands include a download card for the digital version at no additional charge (sometimes including higher quality formats such as FLAC).

    Radiohead know the most dedicated fans are going to pony up the cash for the deluxe "newspaper" (whatever that means) edition.  But the band is not struggling for cash, as seen when they gave fans the option of buying In Rainbows for free, so this is perplexing.  I'll admit, I don't get it.  I don't understand what metaphor they're expressing by the "newspaper" angle.  And I don't know why it includes so much...stuff...that has nothing to do with music.  It just seems off.  And to be honest, it makes me not want to support this album.  I probably will (hell, I bought the physical copy of In Rainbows), but this move is going to make me think twice before doing it.  I doubt it will hurt the band's bottom line, and I'm sure they don't care one whit what I think about it, but right now I'm just disappointed.

    Please (please!) feel free to explain what I'm missing in the Comments section below... 

    UPDATE (Feb 18, 2011): Previews are popping up already in various places on the Internet, such as here and here.

    6 Response to "Radiohead, The King of Limbs [preorder]"

    Anonymous Says:

    um yeah read your own copy of the preorder the newspaper album comes with a download copy

    Greg Says:

    Right, and it also comes with a CD, so you could always rip your own digital copies if it didn't come with a download. That's a non-issue.

    Maybe I didn't make myself clear: I'm wondering why they feel the need to have a version with a bunch of non-music stuff, and why they're charging $5 more for WAV. For the latter, the easy answer, of course, involves file size, bandwidth, etc. But many other bands have a flat rate pick-your-format model (see anything sold on bandcamp.com, for example), so I'm not sure why Radiohead needed have a markup.

    Of course they're free to sell their music however they want, and people are welcome to buy it; but like I said, it just makes me disappointed. I guess it feels like the next Radiohead album is going to have a lunchbox version: "$50 gets you a copy of the album in its own limited edition oxo-degradable plastic lunchbox!!" It's just not what I thought Radiohead was about.

    Anyway, thanks for your comment!

    Skipping The Surface Says:

    I agree that the price is a little steep, but it makes the album that much more significant. Radiohead is not one of those bands that release a couple albums every 18-24 months; it's been 4 years since their last release. It helps me think that I'm simply paying $10 a year for a great album by a great band.

    I enjoy records. I like the artwork, linear notes, and concept work within it. While I think it is somewhat foolish to pay over $20 for a new release, I don't mind paying over $20 for a Radiohead record. Call me a fool but that's just my opinions.

    Greg Says:

    Fair enough. You raise a good point on the time between albums, too.

    Side note: I'm pretty sure I paid over $30 with shipping for the vinyl release of III/IV (Ryan Adams & the Cardinals), and didn't mind doing it.

    MTM Says:

    Skipping The Surface:

    Thanks man. I read a little of your blog and I'm digging it. Keep up the good work.

    j Says:

    sure, music and art tend to fall in together, but what bothers me about the cost of the newspaper album is not knowing what you're getting. 625 little pieces of artwork? that could be anything - including 625 pieces of confetti that fall all over the place when you open the record. and is this a long album that really demands the need for 2 records? i also don't appreciate that they're highlighting the record sleeve as part of the special package. shouldn't the record just come in a sleeve? are the large sheets of artwork just sheets of newspaper?! why is it called the newspaper album anyway?

    it may just be me, but the listing for the newspaper album has a little bit of a pretentious air to it. i said it. come on radiohead fans, you can verbally stone me now.

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