Radiohead to go indie? Say it Ain't so

Even though I'm evoking the emo gods by referencing Weezer lyrics, I'm not just whining here. In case you haven't  heard, after Radiohead made their triumphant in rainbows release sans-record label, they are now in negotiations to sign with an independent record label: WTF?

Yes, I understand that indie record labels are the far lesser of two evils and independent labels are the only labels making any money. However, what is the point? After you rock the music industry by announcing the ability to download your album at whatever price consumers want to pay, have great success both critically and monetarily from the decision, you are now shopping your album to labels? What What What?

I feel confused and foolish for getting caught up in the frenzy of this "new generation of independent musicians". You were so fantastically ahead of the curve. You had all of the moves played perfectly. Give your music away for the exposure, make money on touring, merch, and higher profit-margin limited availability versions of the album. Absolutely perfect. Now we find out there is a bidding war going on for the in rainbows  release of the CD. Here are 3 reasons this is a dumb idea.

1.) Repeat after me, "CD's are dead".

They are shiny coasters. Useless to the music world. Why on earth would you sign a deal with a record label when you don't need to? Yes I understand that this is a single album deal and Radiohead will maintain the rights to the recording, but you don't need a record label to get your music out to people. You've proved that a million times over.  

2.) Freedom isn't Free; enjoy it. 

For the first time in 7 albums you have no one to answer to in regards to your album sales and distribution and now you throw that all away. I'm sure you'll make a boat load of money off of the deal, and money can buy freedom, but surely you don't need money and now you're simply tied into more deals with more people you don't need.

3.) Designer is Finer

Anyone who knows the basics of marketing and luxury branding, knows that people create a psychological attachment to high-end designer merchandise. Why would anyone pay $300 for a pair of Diesel Jeans or Nike Dunks, that cost a few bucks to make? Successful branding and marketing. Radiohead just propelled themselves to the status of a luxury brand in the music industry. Not just because of their elusive behavior and Pink Floyd-esque mystique, but because their fans will shell out $80 USD for a couple vinyl copies of an album; Christ someone even paid $1,000 USD for the digital version of the album! Get out of the mini-malls, you're already exploding out of the boutiques. This is like Louis Vuitton announcing the release of a $30 wallet that looks and feels like their $500 dollar wallet. Sure it will sell, but they're cheapening their brand.

So I beg you Radiohead. Remain a real independent artist and stay away from the labels, even the independent ones. 

Ross Lucivero (bassist theWANDAS)