updated 09:45 am EST, Fri December 7, 2007
Radiohead and iTunes
Radiohead may break from its policy on digital music stores with the band's latest album, according to news from Billboard. The British group's current representation, Courtyard Management, tells the music chart keepers that discussions are underway with Apple to bring In Rainbows to the iTunes Store; though terms are still uncertain and have not been discussed, any resulting deal will require either Apple or Radiohead to make concessions, according to the report. While Apple has insisted that every artist available through its store allow individual sales of tracks that run under 10 minutes in length, Radiohead has so far only allowed its albums to be sold as a whole for artistic reasons.
The seemingly insurmountable barrier between the two camps has handed the advantage to rival digital online stores, particularly Amazon MP3 and the band itself. The former's flexible pricing scheme allows it to include album-only sales and offers much of Radiohead's back catalog with music label EMI in unprotected MP3 format. In October, Radiohead began offering In Rainbows in MP3 form using a set-your-own-price scheme which has reportedly been popular since its debut. Characterized as an experiment, Radiohead's own store is set to close on Monday to leave a window of about three weeks before the official CD release in the UK.
iTunes is currently devoid of the group's catalog outside of a small number of songs included as part of mix albums, such as the Six Feet Under soundtrack. Thom Yorke's solo album The Eraser and videos of his solo performances of newer Radiohead songs are also available.
Apple has declined commenting on the progress of negotiations or mentioning the earliest possible date the songs could be made available, though the official US CD release is due in early January.