Results for Radiohead

interviews

Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood

This week on the show, Jim and Greg have two very special guests: Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of the band Radiohead. Our hosts consider Radiohead one of the most important bands of the past two decades, and were thrilled to have the lead singer and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist on the show. Greg asserts that Kid A is the most avant-garde album to ever debut at the top of the Billboard charts — it's rare that a band can be so experimental and still achieve such mainstream success.

Radiohead was in Chicago to perform two shows at the Auditorium Theatre, and when they come to town, it is always memorable. Their 2001 outdoor performance at Hutchinson Field was a landmark event for Chicago music. Though the city has not always been eager to invite droves of young rockers into its public spaces, the success of that show seems to have paved the way for outdoor music concerts like Lollapalooza. Nevertheless, the Brits‘ return to the city this year was not completely drama free. The city rejected the band’s bid to play at Millennium Park, although it's not clear whether or not Radiohead would have even accepted. Never one to do the same thing twice, the band was eager to try out a smaller, indoor venue like the Auditorium Theatre.

Thom and Jonny explain that this tour was an opportunity to work on songs that may be a part of their upcoming 2007 release. That's good news, since some suspected that there might not even be a next album. Radiohead's extended family keeps growing, as does their interest in solo work, so there was speculation that they might not continue in this incarnation. But unlike bands of their stature who stay together for the sake of the business, the bandmates explain that Radiohead will go on as long as the music makes it worth it. And in the meantime, they'll have to juggle the music with the nappies.

Doing solo projects is still a priority for members of Radiohead. Jonny composed the music for the 2004 film Bodysong, which he also co-produced. And Thom Yorke will be releasing The Eraser in July, though he explains that the term“solo”is not really appropriate in this case. The album was produced and arranged by longtime Radiohead collaborater Nigel Godrich, and contains music composed by his bandmates.

One of the songs on The Eraser, "Harrowdown Hill," was inspired by the death of weapons inspector and government scientist Dr. David Kelly. After acting as a whistle-blower and telling a journalist that he disagreed with claims the British government made about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Kelly was found dead only days later. A Parliamentary committee investigated the death and determined it to be suicide, but many, including Thom, are skeptical of the validity of this finding. It's not the first time Thom and the band have infused their music with political meaning — though, as Thom explains to Jim and Greg, his approach differs from that of his fellow countryman.

Go to episode 30

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

Screaming Females

If ever a band was perfectly named, it's the Screaming Females. Ok, true, there's only one screaming female in the New Jersey punk trio, but Marissa Paternoster has quite the set of pipes. And, as Jim and Greg point out, she can shred too. She credits people like Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead and Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins for influencing her guitar style. But when it comes to the band's ethos, that's pure DIY punk. Drummer Jarrett Dougherty explains that self-releasing albums was difficult at first, but they approached it with professional aims, unlike many of their New Brunswickpeers who were satisfied with nothing more than releasing internet demos. Now the Screaming Females are on their 5th release called Ugly. Check out their performance live on Sound Opinions.

Go to episode 340

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma This week's guests are the men of Mission of Burma: Roger Miller, Clint Conley, Peter Prescott, and Bob Weston. The post-punk pioneers were in Chicago to perform at the Pitchfork Music Festival, so they stopped by Sound Opinions for a discussion and performance. Jim and Greg explain that Mission of Burma is a rare example of a band able to break up, reunite and continue making music as good as (if not better than) they did before. Burma's first incarnation was in the early 1980s — they recorded one album in 1982 before they had to disband due to Roger's debilitating tinnitus, but their influence is undeniable. The band returned twenty years later to tour and record OnOffOn, and have recently released The Obliterati, which both Jim and Greg say may make their Best of 2006 lists.

Mission of Burma is known for combining pop melodies with quite a lot of noise. These characteristics often get the band thrown in the same pot as bands like Gang of Four and Wire, but listeners shouldn‘t confuse these post-punkers. One of Burma’s distinctive features is their use of tape loops. During their first go-around, Martin Swope would record the band's sound and manipulate it live with a reel-to-reel tape machine. Now Shellac's Bob Weston has the job, and you can hear the effects on "Max Ernst," which they perform live on the show. Another famous looper is Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, though he works digitally.

Another Burma trademark is the songwriting. All three regular members, Roger, Clint and Peter, pen very smart, rather literate lyrics. An example of this is another song they perform live, "Donna Sumeria." While it was Roger's attempt at a love song, it's also a witty pun on Donna Summer and the ancient Middle Eastern civilization. Greg cites it as an example of Burma's punk sensibility. Their music doesn't have rules and can even have disco elements.

Go to episode 38

Grizzly Bear

Jim and Greg are joined next by the members of Grizzly Bear. The Brooklyn-based band started rather modestly in 2004. Now they've become one of the most talked about groups in indie music today. In addition to notable appearances at Lollapalooza and the Pitchfork Music Festival, the band opened for Radiohead and Paul Simon. Plus, they count Jay-Z and Beyonce as fans! Jim and Greg spoke with Daniel Rossen, Ed Droste, Chris Taylor and Christopher Bear on a Sunday morning in front of a live studio audience at the House of Blues in Chicago. There the band performed songs from its latest album Veckatimest. Unfortunately Michael McDonald wasn't there to join them on "While You Wait for the Others."

Go to episode 206
specials

When Jim and Greg Were Wrong

Music fans tell Jim and Greg they are wrong all the time, but the critics are not too big to admit it themselves. This week they come clean with some of their critical errors. Here are Greg's self-confessed mistakes:

Go to episode 139

Digital Music

This week's feature is all about how music has changed in the digital era. It's obvious that the digital revolution has impacted how we listen to music, but as audiophiles know, it has affected what we're hearing as well. It seems that music fans are faced with a choice: Convenience/Portability vs. Audio Fidelity. And while digital music purchases have continued to rise (along with illegal downloading), vinyl sales are also up this year. Perhaps this means that music fans want to have their cake and eat it too. Bands like Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead have had great success offering inexpensive, lower quality digital releases along with more expensive records and box sets. Hopefully more bands will be encouraged to offer consumers a choice. In the meantime, listen to the comments from producer Butch Vig, who you may have heard on the show last week, and music editor Bob Gendron, and let us know how you like to listen to your music.

Go to episode 123

MTV's Silver Anniversary

MTV turns 25 this week. To celebrate (or perhaps mourn), Jim and Greg discuss the station's impact on the music industry. To kick off the dissection, Sound Opinions surveys the opinions of festivalgoers at Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival.

Go to episode 36

SXSW 2009

On this episode Jim and Greg give their annual South By Southwest reports. Our hosts head down to Austin, TX every year to check out new bands and learn about what's happening on the business end of things. While most folks spend their days frolicking at outdoor parties, Jim and Greg go from conference room to conference room to hear about industry trends. One panel Jim attended focused on the state of independent labels. He was struck by the suggestion that indie labels might have to sign artists to deals similar to corporate 360 deals in order to survive. Greg understands why artists who aren't at a Radiohead level might want a small support system to get their music made and heard.

Another buzzword at this year's festival is the "darknet," which refers to a looming state where data is shared in a closed, unregulated virtual market. Greg describes how industry analysts are looking at the digital music business and see implications beyond the industry. To them, the future of democracy is at stake!

While many SXSW attendees fret about product distribution, Jim and Greg attended a discussion dedicated to one single release: The Neil Young box set. Fans have anxiously been awaiting such a collection, and this summer they‘ll not only get Young’s music, but the capability to dive into Young's archive and future archive.

Of course, it's not all work at the SXSW Music Festival. Jim and Greg check out as much new music as they can. And with more than 1800 bands playing during the four-day affair, they had a lot to choose from. Now they've returned home with some new favorites for you to check out.

Go to episode 174
classic album dissections
The Velvet Underground & Nico (45th Anniversary Edition)The Velvet Underground & Nico available on iTunes

The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground & Nico

According to Jim and Greg, few albums are worthier of the Classic Album Dissection treatment than The Velvet Underground's 1967 debut, The Velvet Underground & Nico. Songwriter and guitarist Lou Reed teamed with avant-garde violist/bassist John Cale in the mid-'60s to form the core of the band, joined by guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker. The sonic assault of their live performances caught the attention of Andy Warhol. Warhol provided the funding for their debut album in 1966 and created the iconic banana cover art. He also insisted on featuring German chanteuse Nico on several tracks.

The Velvet Underground & Nico was released in March 1967 against a backdrop of psychedelia, the Summer of Love, and Sgt. Pepper's Loney Hearts Club Band. Its noisy, stark depictions of junkies and sadomasochism in New York City didn‘t fit well with that San Francisco feeling, and the album didn’t sell. But over the past half century, its reputation has grown to the point that, as Jim and Greg argue, it's become the most influential album in rock history. Each track has launched an entire genre, from the goth rock of "Venus in Furs" to the noise rock of "European Son" to the proto-shoegaze in "Heroin." It's hard to imagine bands like Sonic Youth, the Ramones, or Radiohead existing without The Velvet Underground & Nico. On the album's 50th anniversary, Jim and Greg tell the history of the band, give a detailed examination of each of the album's songs, and share their thoughts on its legacy.

Go to episode 597
Pet Sounds (Mono Version)Pet Sounds available on iTunes

The Beach Boys Pet Sounds

On May 16, 1966, The Beach Boys released their 11th studio album, Pet Sounds. It was a relative commercial failure for what was the biggest American band of the '60s. However in the ensuing 50 years, the album's stature grew. Today, its influence pervades to the point that it is almost universally acknowledged as one of the greatest albums ever released in the rock era. With Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson taking the album on tour again this summer, Jim and Greg feel it's the perfect time to give Pet Sounds a Classic Album Dissection.

Due to a great deal of pressure, emotional turmoil, and mental health issues, Brian Wilson quit the Beach Boys as a touring entity at the end of 1964. While the rest of the band was on the road, Wilson spent ten months in the studio crafting one of the most intricate and expensive pop records ever made. Working with the famed session musicians of the Wrecking Crew, Wilson took a classical composer's approach, layering instrument upon instrument to create lush, unique timbres. He collaborated with Madison Avenue writer Tony Asher on heartbreakingly earnest lyrics about his struggles to find his place in the world. The audience, the label, and his own bandmates didn't quite know what to make of Pet Sounds when it came out. But artists from The Beatles to R.E.M. to Radiohead picked up on its brilliance and modeled their own music on Wilson's ingenious arrangements. God only knows what rock would be today without Pet Sounds.

Go to episode 546
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
A Moon Shaped PoolA Moon Shaped Pool available on iTunes

Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool

If there's one band from the '90s alt-rock explosion that's retained its relevance, it's Radiohead. While it's been five years since their last release, Greg argues that the quality hasn't suffered on their new album A Moon Shaped Pool. Multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood seems to have integrated everything he's learned about scoring films into the album. The musical arrangements lift vocalist Thom Yorke to new heights as he contemplates everything from breakups to the environment. Greg got lost inside the record and its ideas of transformation. It took Jim a bit longer to dig what was inside. He laments the under-use of drummer Phil Selway, and the lack of a real fist-pumping save-the-planet anthem. But Jim knows to review what you get, not what you want – and he hears a complex and beautiful chamber pop record reminiscent of Nick Drake. That earns A Moon Shaped Pool an enthusiastic double-Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 547
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
The EraserThe Eraser available on iTunes

Thom Yorke The Eraser

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke recently put out a new album, The Eraser. It's his first solo album, though as he explained to Jim and Greg a few weeks ago, it's perhaps unfair to label it as such. Many of the tracks were composed by members of the band, and it was produced by longtime Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich. But the record is credited to Yorke, so Jim and Greg decide to stick with the term“solo.”Jim has long resisted jumping on the Radiohead train, though he's always enjoyed their rhythm section as well as their live performances — so it's interesting that this album, which lacks the bombast of their live shows, is the one to finally teach Jim to“stop worrying and love the Yorke.”He gives it a Buy It rating. Greg, a longtime Radiohead fan, is actually the dissenter here. He likes the record, but finds it to be merely a modest production, earning a modest Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 33
AmokAMOK available on iTunes

Atoms for Peace AMOK

After his solo project The Eraser, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke went out on tour with a group that could only be described as "super": Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea on bass, Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich on programming, Joey Waronker on drums and Mauro Refosco on percussion. The collaboration worked so well that the group has released an album under the name Atoms for Peace. Greg was impressed with how The Eraser really found its identity live, and he has high hopes AMOK will do the same. But on record, the songs are not as strong as the production, so he can only say Burn It. In terms of his unique voice, Thom Yorke has finally won Jim over. He gets the robotic and alien nature of the voice the electronic musicianship and the dystopian lyrics and says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 379
The Information (Bonus Video Version)The Information available on iTunes

Beck The Information

Beck released his ninth album this week, and boy, do we feel old. The L.A. rocker is also feeling more mature now that he is a married man and a father, but he's still up to his old cutting and pasting, genre-hopping ways. On The Information, Beck Hansen teams up with longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich to pump the album up with a hodgepodge of samples and sounds. For an extra psychedelic touch, the final track is a spacey outro read by author Dave Eggers and director Spike Jonze. Greg is happy that Beck isn‘t repeating himself like he did on 2005’s Guero; he's experimenting with sounds in really inventive ways. But, Greg explains that the hooks and melodies are lacking on the second half of the record. He recommends that fans cut and paste to make their own album, and he gives The Information a Burn It. Jim, however, doesn't think that Beck has ever been better than he is on the good moments of The Information. He recommends fans Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 45
Nine Types of Light (Deluxe Version)Nine Types of Light available on iTunes

TV on the Radio Nine Types of Light

After taking a small hiatus and dabbling in film projects, TV on the Radio is back with its fourth album. The Brooklyn art rockers are one of the best bands to come out in the last decade, according to Jim and Greg. Nine Types of Light is a more optimistic, ballad-heavy album, which normally Greg wouldn‘t say is the kind of record for him. But it’s so layered and substantive that he says definitely Buy It. Jim puts them up there with Radiohead, and compares the subtle rhythms on this release to that on King of Limbs. He also praises the singing. Nine Types of Light gets two types of Buy Its.

JimGreg
Go to episode 280
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
Sleep Well BeastSleep Well Beast available on iTunes

The National Sleep Well Beast

The indie rock band The National just released their 7th studio album, Sleep Well Beast. On this record, Jim says the band's expressive lyricism, whether it's about world and governmental politics or politics in lead singer Matt Berninger's marriage, is as strong as ever. He's generally been a fan of the group, but what makes this album a Buy It for him is the record's electronic experimentation in the vein of Radiohead, as well as its impressive and steady guitar work. Greg believes that The National has always been a consistent band, and agrees with Jim that the ominous electronic undertones of the album make it unique and almost eerie. While Greg thinks this record is missing a little bit of The National's signature emotional explosiveness, he still finds it to be a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 615
Lost SirensLost Sirens available on iTunes

New Order Lost Sirens

At the beginning of the New Order review, Greg calls the English band's latest album Lost Sirens almost a collection of“leftovers.”That can‘t bode too well for it. New Order’s music in the 1980's was undeniably influential. There'd be no LCD Soundsystem or Radiohead without their electronic pop innovations. But, Jim doesn't hear anything that evokes their Madchester greatness on this effort. He says Trash It. Greg really liked the tracks "I Told You So" and "Hellbent", so that bumps up his rating to a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 374
dijs

Jim

“Raving and Drooling”Pink Floyd

Jim's Desert Island Jukebox pick this week is inspired by his conversation with Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. The band uses live performances as opportunities to explore and expand tracks they work on in the studio. This reminds Jim of the touring tactics of another great British band: Pink Floyd. They too would road-test songs for months at a time before taking them to the studio. And the result is similar: Both Radiohead and Pink Floyd are simultaneously experimental, avant-garde and also successful in the mainstream, a rare combination in the music industry. So Jim decides to add a track that Pink Floyd experimented with live, then later recorded in a different format. The song fans know as "Sheep" from the 1977 album Animals, was originally performed live as "Raving and Drooling." Listen to the studio version, then compare it to this rare DIJ pick.

Go to episode 30
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

Desert Island Jukebox Highlights

As the hosts of the show, Jim and Greg are always given the tough challenge of picking just one song they can‘t live without to drop into the Desert Island Jukebox. But, over time, they’ve also asked some of their favorite musical guests to make this difficult decision. It's interesting to hear what music these artists want to be stranded with. Here are just some of the selections:

  • Thom Yorke of Radiohead - "The Old Man's Back Again" by Scott Walker
  • Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead - "Kool Thing" by Sonic Youth
  • Robyn Hitchcock - Revolver by The Beatles (in his mind)
  • Scott McCaughey - "Walking in the Rain" by The Ronettes
  • Peter Buck - "Daddy Rollin' in Their Arms" by Dion
  • Lupe Fiasco - "The Highwayman" by The Highwaymen
  • Julian Casablancas of The Strokes - "Moonlight Sonata" by Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Jon Brion - "Love Will Keep Us Together" by Captain & Tenille
  • Rhymefest - "All I Do," by Stevie Wonder
  • Jason Lytle of Grandaddy - "Roscoe" by Midlake
Go to episode 67

The Best Songs of 2007 - Mixtapes

Jim and Greg present their Mixtapes for 2007. Check out the track listing below.

Go to episode 109
rock doctors

Valentine's Day Emergency

Jim and Greg open up the Rock Doctors' clinic for the next segment. They take an appointment with two listeners for a Valentine's Day emergency. Andrew and Kelli are a young couple from Chicago with only one major relationship problem: music. While Andrew is music obsessive, always on the search for something new and underground, Kelli is happy sticking with her favorite radio favorites. And as Andrew points out, for the most part his girlfriend's music is stuck in that dreaded decade: the 70s. Kelli admits to a fondness for bar music like Boston, Styx and Journey, but is open to new stuff as long as it's upbeat and fun. She finds a lot of her boyfriend's tastes (Wilco, Radiohead) to be too cerebral and boring. So, it's Jim and Greg's task to find something they will both enjoy.

Greg prescribes The Latest by Cheap Trick. He knows a lot of people dismiss this band for being cheesy, but he stands behind their smart lyrics, progressive compositions and terrific drumming. It seems like The Latest should be the perfect remedy, however neither Andrew nor Kelli are tremendously fond of it. Surprisingly, this record is even too cheesy for Kelli. And while Andrew admires the band for rocking out so hard for so long, he won't be attending any Cheap Trick shows anytime soon.

Jim prescribes the self-titled debut by La Roux. He loves the British duo's smart electronic pop. Jim didn't see anything like La Roux on either Kelli or Andrew's chart, but thinks radical treatment is necessary. He's right; the couple loves the record. Kelli got her dose of dance music, and Andrew got his artiness. And they won't have to break-up over rock anytime soon.

Go to episode 219
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

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

Music News

Watch this Home Depot ad or this Pizza Hut spot and you might find yourself playing a game of Name That Tune. The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are suing these corporations for what they say is their use of“sound alike”tunes - in this case, instrumental tracks that rip off key elements of the band's hits "Lonely Boy" and "Gold on the Ceiling ." The two are seeking $75,000 in damages apiece. We'll have to wait and see if they get it, but this did work for Tom Waits in the eighties…

Tragedy struck the Radiohead tour recently when a stage collapse in Toronto killed a drum tech and injured three others. The collapse continues a disturbing trend of similar accidents last year, notably the Indiana State Fair collapse and a collapse in Ottawa that nearly crushed the members of Cheap Trick. Cheap Trick's near miss motivated them to lobby Congress for greater regulation of the temporary stage industry, but action didn't come soon enough for the Radiohead crew. Now four entities including Live Nation and Radiohead's touring arm are being investigated in the accident. It's been a rough summer for EDM fans too. Two concertgoers died at this month's Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. The event's promoter, Insomniac Events, denies responsibility for the deaths, which occurred outside festival boundaries. No word yet on whether Las Vegas will take any action.

Go to episode 344

Music News

In the news this week is Radiohead's decision to independently release its first studio album since 2003 as a pay-what-you-wish download. The announcement has sparked interest among fans and industry analysts alike, and Jim and Greg are eager to see how this experiment works out. When Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood were on the show last year, they discussed their hope to step outside the traditional record industry model, but they didn't seem to know how or when they would do it. And how Radiohead succeeds with releasing their album this way will be telling for other labels and bands who are looking for an alternative to the overpriced plastic disc.

Another story getting headlines is the Phil Spector murder trial. Four years ago the legendary producer was charged with murdering actress Lana Clarkson, and last week the jury announced it was deadlocked. It will be months before a new trial is launched in Los Angeles, but with so much negative attention focused on Spector, Jim and Greg wanted to take this opportunity to discuss his legacy as a producer. He's had a history of violence, but, as Greg explains, he also completely reinvented music production. Using heavy orchestrations, layers of sound, and booming echoes of instrumentation, Spector created the "Wall of Sound" effect for groups like The Ronettes, The Beach Boys and The Beatles. Jim and Greg end the conversation with a great example of this sound-"River Deep, Mountain High" by Ike and Tina Turner.

Go to episode 97

Music News

First up in the news, Jim and Greg discuss the murder trial of famed producer Phil Spector. Spector was found guilty of shooting actress Lana Clarkson six years ago. This was the second trial for the man behind the sounds of The Beatles, The Righteous Brothers and The Ronettes. While the first jury was deadlocked, this one handed Spector a conviction that will lead to a minimum of 18 years in prison.

Jim and Greg have been following the debates in France concerning internet piracy with some interest. The French parliament recently defeated a highly anticipated bill that would have given users caught illegally downloading files two strikes before disconnecting them from the internet entirely. A re-vote is scheduled for later this month. Back in the states, President Obama tapped Recording Industry Association of America attorney Ian Gershengorn to join the Department of Justice's Civil Division. This is the fifth RIAA attorney to join the DOJ–not a promising precedent for file-sharing proponents.

While most of us are spending more modestly in today's economy, some Prince fans will be shelling out $2,100 for his limited edition Opus iPod. For that price, 950 devoted fans will get purple touch iPods loaded with live tracks and a 40 minute movie. Sounds absurd, but Jim and Greg agree that there is a market for high end, specialty items like this one. Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead had luck with their box sets last year, and Pearl Jam recently released a deluxe reissue of Ten.

Go to episode 177

Music News

While Taylor Swift fans may think she made history way back in 1989 by simply being born, the charts will remember Swift for the year 2014, as it marks the first time in twelve years that an artist's album has sold more than one million copies in its debut week. This feat, achieved by Swift's fifth studio album 1989, is no small one given our age of streaming music services and record leaks. That's why the secret to Swift's physical album sales success might just be her recent decision to pull all her music off of streaming music supergiant Spotify. Swift now joins a growing chorus of musicians like Radiohead's Thom Yorke who reject Spotify's business model, one that only pays artists a fraction of a penny for each stream of their songs. Spotify, of course, defends its model, but Swift stands by her assertion that music is art, art is valuable and therefore it should be paid for. And yes, by art she means "Shake It Off."

On the opposite end of the commercial spectrum from superstar Taylor Swift is the self-described “Liberian/Nigerian/Scottish psychedelic hip-hop electro boy band,” Young Fathers. Despite the alternative hip-hop group's relative obscurity, its album, Dead, just won the UK's Mercury Prize, an annual honor given to the best British or Irish album of the year. The win was an upset for more buzzed about artists like FKA Twigs and Damon Albarn, and many criticize the award for favoring obscure bands that are never heard from again. To be fair, well-known and still active acts like PJ Harvey, Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys have taken the prize home in the past, but whether Young Fathers have staying power or not remains to be seen.

Go to episode 467

Music News

The list of possible inductees for next year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony has been announced. Among the first-time nominees are Kiss, LL Cool J, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Genesis. But there are some old faces, too. ABBA, The Stooges, and Donna Summer have all been up for induction before. Jim and Greg think they deserve recognition, but also have a healthy dose of skepticism whenever they talk about the Hall of Fame. It's notoriously conservative and often overlooks more fringe genres. Plus, as Jim explains, winners always run the risk of being encased in glass and wax in Cleveland.

A heavy debate on piracy and the internet is brewing in Europe. First, the controversial“Three Strikes”law in France has passed in the French assembly. This means that if a French citizen is caught downloading illegally three times, he or she will lose internet access and be subject to fines up to $450,000. Their neighbors in the U.K. are also concerned about this issue. British pop stars like Radiohead, Annie Lennox, and Robbie Williams are members of the Featured Artists Coalition, which recently released a statement coming down firmly on the side of the consumer and defending internet file-sharing as a promotional tool for up-and-coming artists. But artists like Lily Allen and James Blunt have taken the other side. Jim and Greg find this to be a bit ironic considering Allen's use of MySpace early in her career.

Before they launch into reviews of new fall albums, Jim and Greg take a look at how things are going on the charts. The Beatles are still the big winners, selling more than 2 million albums worldwide in just five days. But, as Jim points out, this is a fraction of what they might have sold back in the CD heyday of 1992, and a fraction of what they might have sold digitally. Another big chart winner is Jay-Z, who sold almost 300,000 albums of The Blueprint 3. Hip hop still dominates the charts, with big-selling albums by Drake, Lil Boosie, and Kid Cudi, whom Jim and Greg discuss later in the show.

Go to episode 200

Music News

The first news story this week involves a deal made between the band Korn and the concert promoters formally known as Clear Channel-Live Nation. Korn, its label, and Live Nation, which runs about 70% of venues across the country, have agreed to share profits from record and ticket sales. This kind of synergy helps sell the Korn brand and maintain the idea of music acts as corporations. And, as Greg points out, deals like this could really revolutionize the music industry. Korn is not the first group to operate this way, however. British pop sensation Robbie Williams struck such a deal in 2002. Fellow Brits Radiohead, on the other hand, have chosen to go a completely different route. By not working with corporate promoters at all, they avoid the corporate concert machine entirely. As Radiohead fans in Chicago know, though, this is not an easy task.

Next up in the news is the bankruptcy announcement made by the largest chain of music stores, Musicland. While our hosts now prefer to support independent music stores, Jim (who was once a Musicland employee of sorts) remembers buying his first record, an album by King Crimson, at a similar chain store. For Jim and Greg, and many music fans who grew up shopping for music at the mall, the fall of Musicland is really the end of an era — or the death of a dinosaur.

Also making headlines this week is the always-controversial rapper Eminem. He and ex-wife Kimberly Mathers remarried. Like Sid and Nancy, and Kurt and Courtney before them, Marshall and Kim have a love story for the ages. Kim, both muse and mother, has managed to overlook some of the less kind words Eminem has said about her. Therefore, the romantics on the Sound Opinions staff wishes to congratulate those crazy kids. Mazel Tov, Em and Kim!

The Rolling Stones also make an appearance in the news. The latest all-stars to perform in the Superbowl Halftime Show, the Stones can hope to appeal to all generations of viewers. The Superbowl, however, seems a bit concerned. Despite the fact that the average age of a Stone is 65, halftime show producers initially tried to ban people over the age of 45 from coming up on stage to dance. The ban has since been removed, but sports fans shouldn't expect to see the Ashlee Simpson crowd getting down to "Start Me Up."

Finally, Jim and Greg remember soul great Wilson Pickett, who died Thursday. The singer, often called“Wicked Pickett,”was known for his wicked sound and behavior. Pickett, who grew up on a sharecropping farm in Alabama, fled to the north to make music. He later returned to the south to record some of his most famous songs, including "Mustang Sally," "In the Midnight Hour" and "Land of a 1000 Dances," which was embraced by punk rockers like Patti Smith. Pickett did covers as well. Listen to his version of "Hey Jude," which never ended up on a regular studio release, but can be heard on Pickett compilations.

Go to episode 8

Music News

It's been a rough week for digital music. First Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich openly criticize Spotify and boot Atoms for Peace songs from the streaming service. The, the Musicians' Union in the U.K. threaten a boycott if Spotify doesn't raise its royalty rates. And now Aimee Mann is suing MediaNet, which provides millions of songs to dozens of music services. She's seeking damages for "willful copyright infringement."

Sure, we could imagine Bono going for an “EGOT,” but "Commander"? The Irish rocker was recently awarded the country's highest cultural honor: Commander of Arts and Letters in recognition of his contributions to the arts and to charity. Rapper Nas was also given an unusual honor. Harvard University has established the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship as part of its Hip-Hop Archive and W.E.B. Du Bois Institute.

Since its launch in 2008, Record Store Day has become something music fans eagerly anticipate. And now they'll also have…wait for it…Cassette Store Day! True, there aren't many stores that solely sell cassettes, but on September 7, a number of bands will release special cassettes and artists like The Flaming Lips, Deerhunter and At the Drive-In will reissue albums on cassettes. So breakout your Walkman and get ready.

Go to episode 400

Music News

Cassette tapes aren‘t just for boutique indie labels anymore. At least that’s what IBM is betting. The company has developed a tiny cassette tape that can store up to 35 terabytes of data, and it's touting it as the“new”green technology. Unlike server farms, researchers point out, tape at rest consumes zero energy. Need more proof the cassette's not dead? Greg suggests taking a gander at the rare Radiohead cassettes currently up on eBay.

Well, it's official: '90s nostalgia has arrived. CBS just announced the development of new sitcom, Smells Like Teen Spirit. The show follows a young entrepreneur as he tries to launch an internet startup with help from his“1990's indie rock parents.”Which got us thinking - what other alt-era hits could be re-purposed as TV pilots? Coming to a station near you, the hilarious rom com Black Hole Sun? Or the detective show Losing My Religion?

Go to episode 364

Music News

Following up on their 2011 music business report last week, Jim and Greg are happy to announce that vinyl album sales continue to be healthy. For the third year in a row, Abbey Roadwas the top-selling vinyl album. But nostalgia isn't the only thing pushing record sales. New artists like Mumford and Sons, Bon Iver and The Black Keys also had top selling vinyl products. Jim and Greg are pleased to know that music fans continue to have affection for this format, especially in a year when digital music sales finally topped physical ones.

Coachella, the first of the big music festivals of the season, announced its upcoming lineup. During not one, but two weekends in the California desert, attendees can see performances by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Radiohead, The Black Keys and Jeff Mangum. But they'll miss out on a reported Black Sabbath reunion due to guitarist Tony Iommi's recent cancer diagnosis.

Our last bit of news proves that when it comes to the life of a musician, not a whole lot has changed in two centuries. A letter written by composer Ludwig van Beethoven has emerged in Germany valued at over $128,000. In what the BBC describes as six pages of“scrawled corrections,”Beethoven complains about his ailments, and like many a rocker today, a lack of money.

Go to episode 320

Music News

Pearl Jam made big news this week after announcing an exclusive deal with Target. The alternative band will release a new album along with the big box chain. And in addition they will allow Target to use a Cameron Crowe-directed video in a series of ads. Pearl Jam has long been known for its anti-corporate and anti-commercial attitude, so this was a surprise to Jim and Greg. But, as Greg says, at least they aren't selling the album exclusively through Target — good news for mom and pop record stores.

The usual record industry story goes like this: Label likes artist, label pays artist, artist makes music. But, in a twist, EMI recording artist Joss Stone has offered to pay her label not to make music. The British pop/soul singer is apparently desperate to get out of her four-album contract, after making only one of those records. This is one of many blows to the label, which has already said goodbye to Radiohead and Paul McCartney.

After a six-year trial, producer Phil Spector was finally sentenced this week. The judge showed no mercy and put him behind bars for 19 to life, with a mandatory 15 years. That means that Spector will not be eligible for parole until he is 88.

Go to episode 184

Music News

The music industry's transition into a digital economy has not been the smoothest. But, in England, artists are banding together to make sure their voices will be heard in this revolution. British musicians including Radiohead, Billy Bragg and Robbie Williams have formed the Featured Artists' Coalition to insure that they can maintain the rights to their music and have more say about distribution in the future. Artists have traditionally been“abused”by big music corporations, and Jim and Greg think the changing landscape of music gives musicians the perfect opportunity to get more rights. Hopefully musicians in the States can follow suit.

Filmgoers are eagerly anticipating the release of the next James Bond film. For now they'll have to settle for the new opening theme recorded by Jack White and Alicia Keys. Traditionally each Bond movie is accompanied by an original song, making it one of the biggest song franchises in history. Some were hits, and others were big misses. Neither Jim nor Greg think that the White/Keys collaboration ranks up there with great Bond tracks like "Goldfinger", "Nobody Does it Better", or "You Only Live Twice". They'd put it in the“misses”category with "The Living Daylights".

Go to episode 150

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

A number of free agents are popping up in 2009 including 50 Cent, Beck, Ryan Adams, Pearl Jam and Metallica. These music heavyweights have been on label rosters for years, but now, following in the footsteps of bands like Radiohead, it appears they have a shot at going out on their own. Jim and Greg agree that none of these artists actually need a record label. But, Greg points out that many might be tempted by 360 deals similar to what Madonna and Jay-Z have with Live Nation. The money's not in record sales anymore, so if major labels can entice an artist with the promise of profits from touring and merchandise, we may not see as much independence.

Go to episode 165

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

Making news are recent announcements about upcoming summer concerts. First, there was release of the lineups for the annual Coachella and Bonnaroo music festivals. The Coachella Festival in southern California usually has one of the more exciting and diverse bills of the summer, with past headliners like Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, and Radiohead. This year, though, Jim and Greg are skeptical of whether headliners Tool and Depeche Mode can be enough of a draw. It's up to support acts like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Massive Attack and Wolf Parade to make the desert heat bearable. There is also exciting news for Chicagoans: Lollapalooza will be returning with an expanded three-day format. Plus, indie rock fans can look forward to not one, but two new festivals in the city—the Pitchfork Music Festival and the newly independent Intonation Festival.

Joining Jim and Greg for the news this week is former Supreme Mary Wilson. Ms. Wilson made headlines recently when she began a national campaign to support legislation that would prevent imposters (but thankfully not cover bands) from posing as major artists. To prove the point that there is only one true Mary Wilson, the singer did an a cappella rendition of The Supremes' "Stop! In the Name of Love" for the Illinois House of Representatives.

Go to episode 12

Music News

The Rolling Stones made headlines this week after inking an exclusive recording deal with Universal Music. This has prompted speculation that the Stones are planning to leave longtime label EMI, which is restructuring under new ownership. This would be one of many big name acts rumored to be headed for the hills, including Coldplay and Robbie Williams. Paul McCartney and Radiohead have already fled, and the potential loss of the Stones catalog could cost EMI over $6 million. New CEO Guy Hands refuses to express concern, but Jim and Greg predict that the music industry may come down from the six major labels it had at the turn of the century, to only three.

Singer/songwriter John Stewart passed away earlier this week at the age of 68. Stewart penned The Monkees' classic tune "Daydream Believer," but many listeners may not know about the huge song catalog he left behind. He recorded nearly four dozen solo albums and helped to create what we now know as "Americana." In addition to influencing artists like Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle and Roseanne Cash, he was idolized by Lindsey Buckingham, the Fleetwood Mac member who teamed up with him and Stevie Nicks for Stewart's hit single "Gold."

Go to episode 113

Music News

First up in the news, Verizon is expected to send letters to its customers on behalf of the RIAA to those accused of illegally downloading content from the web. This marks a shift in attitude for Verizon. Previously they were one of the more reluctant companies to intervene in copyright cases. Jim and Greg point out that no one knows what the letters will say, or rather what kinds of action they will threaten, but they do have concern about ISP's making partnerships with big Hollywood.

One of the more interesting music pieces to hit the newsstand this week came from the U.K.'s Sunday Times. Their profile of Mariah Carey portrays her not just as a pop diva, but as a forward-thinking business person along the lines of Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails. 10 years ago, Mariah was a punchline in the music (and film) business. Now, she not only has a successful album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, but unique marketing and money-making methods, including an Elle-sponsored mini-mag. As the Times article explains, this partnership wasn't beneficial for Elle, but did funded Mariah's album. In addition, it gave the singer a number of different business opportunities. Who knew she was such a mad genius?

Go to episode 208

Music News

First in the news, Jim and Greg discuss a story emerging out of the next decade. They talk to Wired writer Eliot Van Buskirk about his recent piece on the "Copyright Time Bomb." As Eliot explains to Jim and Greg, the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 poses a new threat to the major label system. Songs copyrighted after 1978 can be terminated by the author in 2013 (1979 in 2014, etc.) That means that if a musician sold his or her work to a label after 1978, they can choose to take it back and manage it independently in the next decade. Many labels rely on back cataloge revenue, so this will be a big hit to them. In addition, it may be another reason an artist chooses to go it independently and without a label.

Jim and Greg couldn't welcome 2010 without looking at the decade past. The 2000s brought us N'Sync and the boy band explosion, but they also ushered in great change in terms of business and technology. As Jim and Greg discuss, advances in digital music were at the heart of all the decade's major news-from lawsuits (Metallica vs. Napster, RIAA vs. consumers) to innovation in sound, marketing and distribution (Wilco, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails). And while the Aughts were a time of industry revolution, there wasn't necessarily a revolutionary sound. Jim thinks people may have been too shocked by technology to create something comparable to a punk, disco or grunge movement. But he and Greg are hopeful that something great is just waiting to come out of a basement near you.

Go to episode 214

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

Go to episode 615

Music News

This week music lost one of its great producers: Teo Macero. Macero is responsible for the inventive recordings of jazz great Miles Davis. Before Macero came along Davis would record what was essentially a live jazz performance. But, Macero introduced the idea of using the studio as a tool to extensively edit extended jam sessions with Davis and his fellow musicians. Artists like Radiohead and Prince are still emulating this style of recording today. To pay tribute to Teo Macero Jim and Greg play "Black Satin," from Miles Davis' On the Corner Sessions.

Go to episode 118

Music News

This week everyone is talking about music from across the pond. That'd be The Beatles, of course. But, another British artist is also making headlines. UK rapper Speech Debelle has just been named the winner of the prestigious Mercury Prize after only selling 3,000 copies in her home country. As Jim and Greg explain, this is quite a contrast from the highly commercial acts rewarded by The Grammys. Speech Debelle is certain to see a sales boost after winning this prize, however it's uncertain whether she'll follow suit of past winners like PJ Harvey and Franz Ferdinand, or less successful ones like Roni Size who amazingly beat Radiohead.

Go to episode 198

Music News

Jim and Greg start off the show by updating a couple of news stories they've been talking about recently. The first is the sad state of album sales this season. When fall first kicked off, industry insiders had high hopes for big releases from people like Kanye West, 50 Cent, and The Foo Fighters. And now albums by Bruce Springsteen, the cast of High School Musical 2 and Rascal Flatts have been added to the mix. But, despite the big names, sales have not been soaring. In fact, in this week's chart, not even one album has approached six figures.

So what does the music industry do to appease its shrinking customer base? Answer: Sue them. Last week the RIAA sent its ninth wave of pre-litigation letters to administrators at 19 universities. A couple of weeks ago Jim and Greg discussed the trial of Jammie Thomas, a woman from Minnesota who was found guilty of copyright infringement to the tune of $220,000. It seems that trial left a taste of victory in the RIAA's mouth, because they are continuing their crackdown on music“theft”among college students. It seems these members of the industry missed the "Radiohead" memo.

Go to episode 100