Results for In Rainbows

interviews

Radiohead

Looking back at the year in music for 2008, one could easily argue that the biggest newsmaker was Radiohead. The band's pick-your-own-price experiment with In Rainbows paid off big time, selling 3 million copies and earning them a Grammy nomination for Best Album of the Year. Radiohead's model may be the future of the music industry, but it only seems like yesterday that band members Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood were musing about revolution in the Sound Opinions studio. Listen back to this re-broadcast of Jim and Greg's conversation with Thom and Jonny, and you can hear that the seeds of change had already been planted.

Hungry for more Radiohead? Listen to their entire interview and performance from 2006 here.

Go to episode 161
reviews
In RainbowsIn Rainbows available on iTunes

Radiohead In Rainbows

While there's a lot of buzz about Radiohead's release experiment for In Rainbows, Jim and Greg believe that the album is actually one of the band's more subtle and modest efforts. It's 10 songs, 42 minutes of beautiful music, all of which feature the band's characteristic electronic elements, guitars and strings, but it's less straight-up rock than fans are used to. And, as Jim pointed out in his review of Thom Yorke's solo album Eraser, the Radiohead frontman has really refined his singing in the past couple of years. The result is almost a soul record according to Greg. It investigates human beings‘ need for love, despite the heartache it can bring. And, Jim adds, like almost all of the band’s releases, it also investigates the good and bad that can come from increased technology. Whatever themes you take from the record, Jim and Greg are confident that you will be happy to own this record — whether you pay for it or not. In Rainbows gets two Buy Its.

JimGreg
Go to episode 99
Ghosts I-IVGhosts I-IV available on iTunes

Nine Inch Nails Ghosts I-IV

Following in the footsteps of Radiohead, who successfully released an internet version of In Rainbows, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails has a new web release called Ghosts I-IV. The four-part instrumental release comes on the heels of an album Reznor produced and digitally released by Saul Williams. This time Reznor is offering fans different listening options at different prices. Whether you want a free, nine song collection, or a $300 box set, there appears to be something for everyone. But is the music worth your time or money? Jim was a big fan of Reznor's last record, a concept album called Year Zero, but this time he is more interested in hearing what other artists will do with these instrumentals. He thinks Ghosts I-IV is worth a listen but only as a Burn It. Greg found Reznor's production to be as inventive as ever and would recommend people Buy It — at whatever level they choose.

JimGreg
Go to episode 119
The King of Limbs - Live from the BasementThe King of Limbs available on iTunes

Radiohead The King of Limbs

Whenever Radiohead releases a new album, it always makes news – sometimes more for the business than the music. 2006's The Eraser was a quiet solo effort by Thom Yorke. 2007's In Rainbows had a revolutionary“pick-your-own-price”model. And now we have The King of Limbs, which was released early, quickly and without much hype. Gone is the freebie option, back is tiered pricing. The music, to Greg, is also a bit of a step back. It's less impactful and melodic than In Rainbows. But there are a few moments of greatness, especially when the group channels the abstract funk that Greg heard on Yorke's recent Atoms for Peace tour. He would like to see Radiohead go more in that direction on the next record and gives this one a Burn It. Jim remarks that the tables have turned – he is much more impressed by The King of Limbs. It does take time to grow, but is worth owning, especially if you are a headphone listener. The interaction of Yorke's twisted vocals and the grand piano especially works. Jim says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 274
Album Art

Girl Talk Night Ripper

Girl Talk's fourth album Feed the Animals mashes up over 300 songs and creates a party soundtrack for the summer of 2008. Greg Gillis is the man behind this music, and he has yet to receive written permission from any of the artists he has sampled. Somehow, nobody has tried to stop him either. Greg refers to Gillis as a "reluctant poster-boy for the Fair Use Doctrine." Jim thinks that Feed the Animals is better than Gillis' breakout, Night Ripper. Greg thinks that this record is all about the dance floor and will appeal to a mass crowd. They both give the album a Buy It rating and remark that the album can be bought (a la In Rainbows) for whatever price the consumer offers on the Illegal Art website.

JimGreg
Go to episode 138
lists

Best of 2007

It's a critic and a music fan's favorite time of year. Jim and Greg run down their top albums for 2007. You can view their complete lists below.

For more end-of-year discussion, check out the Sound Opinions Message Board.

Go to episode 107
news

Music News

Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana, recently launched a national tour, but many parents and tweens are finding it impossible to secure tickets through Ticketmaster. The Disney star (and daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus) is being compared to The Beatles because of how hot these tickets are. Even moments after tickets were officially for sale on the Ticketmaster site, secondary market websites like StubHub and Craigslist had scored tickets and were making them available for hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. This phenomenon has got everyone from industry analysts to state attorneys general to 12-year-old fans suspecting that something fishy is going on. Ticketmaster has pleaded innocence and recently requested an injunction against RMG Technologies, one of the computer programs that have made it easier for ticket brokers to circumvent its protections. Jim and Greg agree that the issue merits investigation, but they're wondering what has taken so long.

In related news, Live Nation, the country's largest concert promoter and Ticketmaster's current business partner, has announced a $120 million deal with pop icon Madonna. The agreement gives Live Nation a cut of not only her touring revenues, but also record sales, merchandising, web sites, movies, TV specials and so on. With record labels floundering, it's easy to understand the appeal of such a deal-companies can no longer count on traditional revenue streams like selling albums, so why not delve into other arenas? But, Jim and Greg are a little concerned about one large corporation having such a monopoly over every aspect of the industry. Does this mean that in order for a band to get booked at a Live Nation venue, they need to ink a recording and merchandising deal with them? It will be interesting to see who follows Madonna's lead, and who follows the lead of the other newsmakers of the week…

That would, of course, be Radiohead. Last week Jim and Greg talked about the band's revolutionary,“pick your own price”distribution method. Now, only days later they‘ve already seen how successful it has been. In the week following the album’s release, the band sold 1.2 million copies of In Rainbows for an average price of $8. Not a bad debut, especially considering they‘ve done this without the assistance of a record company. There’s been some discussion about the quality of the songs, which are slightly below standard CD rates, but as Jim explains, many music fans are used to even lower quality digital files due to the proliferation of iTunes. The ingenuity of Radiohead's scheme is undeniable, but it always comes down to the music. Jim and Greg tackle that next.

Go to episode 99

Music News

Lately it seems like all the record industry can talk about is what to do about all the digital downloading out there. Now the Songwriters Association of Canada thinks it has a solution. They‘ve proposed to allow domestic consumers access to all recorded music available online in return for adding a $5 monthly fee to every wireless and Internet account in the country. The Canadian recording industry hasn’t responded favorably, but as SAC president Eddie Schwartz explains to Jim and Greg, it's the best way to compensate songwriters and musicians for the 50+ billion downloads that are expected to take place in 2008.

In other news American Idol Taylor Hicks has been dropped by his label, J Records. This comes shortly after the dismissal of former Idol runner-up Ruben Studdard. And, after a disappointing year for Kelly Clarkson, Jim and Greg wonder if the Idol effect is wearing off. Sure, both Chris Daughtry and Carrie Underwood had a very successful year, but as the new season of Idol kicks off, Sound Opinions H.Q. has to wonder —maybe this pop culture phenomenon should stick to television, where it belongs.

Radiohead's album In Rainbows went to number one this week after being initially released as a pick-your-own-price digital download. The band hasn't released any sales figures from their digital experiment, but another music giant has been less tight-lipped. Trent Reznor recently posted the download and sales numbers for The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust, the Saul Williams album he produced and helped release. Reznor made the album available as a free, lower-quality download as well as a higher-quality download for $5. According to Reznor, over 150,000 people downloaded the album, but only 18% paid for it. While he was disheartened by the news, Jim and Greg think the situation fares well for Saul Williams, who previously never had such a large audience. Artists rarely get a large cut of record sales, and this kind of exposure will help Williams build a fan base for the bigger money-maker: touring.

Go to episode 111

Music News

AC/DC is following in the path of Garth Brooks, The Eagles and Journey. The veteran hard rock band inked a deal to sell its forthcoming album exclusively at Wal-Mart. This formula has been successful for bands in the past; The Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden sold almost 3 million copies, all without the help of a record company. But, AC/DC is still on Columbia Records, which makes Jim and Greg wonder about their motivation. They'll be curious to see how the profits break down between the band, their label and the retail store when the album is released this fall.

The latest in the line to follow the Radiohead record release model is Girl Talk, aka Gregg Gillis. The sample-based artist and former Sound Opinions guest is following up his underground hit Night Ripper with a new album due out soon. Like In Rainbows, Feed the Animals will be a pay-what-you-want release. But the real question is if Girl Talk will have to pay. The new album will have over 300 samples — none of which Gillis legally obtained. As more fans take notice of his work it's possible more lawyers will as well.

The godfather of soul passed away two years ago, but James Brown left behind a treasure trove of his earthly goods. Many of these items will be auctioned off at Christie's later this month. Who will reap the benefits of the sale is unclear due to the chaotic state of the singer's estate. But fans can get hold of such artifacts as Brown's Grammy and Kennedy Center Awards, his baby grand piano and Hammond organ, as well as personal notes and photos. Jim and Greg are most interested in all his grooming products though. Just imagine the hair magic Greg could produce with Brown's pick.

Go to episode 133

Music News

A year after they started their“pay-what-you-want”experiment for In Rainbows, Radiohead has finally revealed the results. It was a complete success. The album sold three million copies at various prices, as well as 100,000 box sets at $81. And, the band gets to reap nearly all the profits since they don't have to divvy it up with a record company or middle man. Jim and Greg wonder why they waited so long to give numbers, especially since Trent Reznor was quick to reveal his success with a similar sales plan. But they are encouraged by Radiohead's success, and hope other bands will follow suit.

Another band experiencing a financial windfall is U2, but their new deal lacks the same punk spirit. The Irish rockers have linked up with corporate concert giant Live Nation for a 12-year deal that includes touring, merchandising and their web site. U2 will receive an estimated $19 million, but in Live Nation stock rather than cold hard cash. Jim thinks concertgoers can now hold Bono and his bandmates responsible for any anti-consumer practices on Live Nations' part.

Just when you think the music industry has embraced the digital revolution, you find out about another attempt to get consumers to purchase files. The latest web store is Lala.com. It is being supported by all the major labels, and many of the indies as well, and offers music to fans for only 10 cents. But, there's a catch. Lala only leases you those web songs to play online. You can‘t download or burn tracks unless you pay an additional 79 or 89 cents. Jim and Greg think a 10 cent price tag is terrific, but aren’t sure consumers will find the leasing structure that appealing. They hope that the music industry will introduce a happy medium where consumers can purchase songs at a low price and actually own them.

In one of the worst public relations moments of the year, Ringo Starr told his fans that after October 20th, he would no longer be accepting any fan mail or signing any autographs. What was his reason? It's not to be more“green,”as one might suspect. It's simply that the former Beatle is just too darn busy. Jim and Greg can‘t wrap their head around what’s filling up all his time. But, in the meantime, they have offered to accept any of Ringo's fan mail.

Levi Stubbs, lead singer of The Four Tops, passed away last week at the age of 72. As Greg explains, he's one of the great voices of the Motown generation, but never tried to overshadow the group. Despite that effort, it's hard not to notice Stubb's tremendous voice and emotional singing style. You can hear this in one of the classic pop songs of all time, "Bernadette."

Go to episode 152

Music News

Thom Yorke can't stop reinventing the music business. A few years ago, his band Radiohead made big news by offering a pay-what-you-want model for its album In Rainbows. Now Yorke has released his new album, Tommorow's Modern Boxes, via BitTorrent. He says that in an effort to remove any of the“gatekeepers,”he wanted to see how this album would go over on the controversial file sharing system. For the most part, BitTorrent has previously been used to share illegal music, movies and other files. But, with 400,000 paid downloads of Yorke's release, things may change.

Also in the news this week, Urban Outfitters boasted that they are the world's largest retail outlet of vinyl albums. Billboard thought this seemed fishy and looked into the claim. Turns out mega-giant Amazon is the champion, but UO takes the brick and mortal prize.

Go to episode 462