Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


How come I end up where I started?

Filed under : Music
On January 1, 2008
At 12:00 pm
Comments : 14

No, that’s not really true. I’m actually in a much different and better place than I was last year at this time. I just thought that was a fun, appropriate line for New Year’s from the new Radiohead album, which comes out today. Sort of. If you know anything about the new Radiohead CD, In Rainbows (and if you’ve read anything about popular culture or music or technology or the entertainment business in the last three months, your head will explode from how much you know), you’ll know that it’s the ALBUM OF THE YEAR. Last year. That is, 2007. Only it comes out today, January 1, 2008. You see, despite my embracement (I know that’s not a word, brilliant, let’s move on) of legal downloading, the record store in my computer, the Internets, the future, the Jetsons, etc., I still buy CD’s.

There are lots of reasons for this. I like lists, everyone likes lists!

1. They sound better than compressed sound files.

2. I can rip them in whatever format I like. Mp3! FLAC! AAC! FBI! 256, 192, 128, hike! It’s the original and I can do what I want with it.

3. I like to look at the booklet. Sue me. I once got thanked on a rap album, by the way. I have no idea why.

4. When my hard drive crashes, which all my Apple website feeds tell me will happen, I still have the originals. Yes, I back up but this is even better.

Now, let’s say you’re one of the five people in the world who don’t realize why In Rainbows is the ALBUM OF THE YEAR. Well, first, because it’s fantastic, a critical smash (shocking for Radiohead ha aha ha). But more importantly, Radiohead decided to put it up on their website and let you pay whatever you want. Whatever you want, people. So why didn’t I do that? Well, you may have noticed that list of reasons I like CD’s. But more than that, I was paralyzed by indecision on how much I wanted to pay for In Rainbows. Obviously, I want to pay nothing. That’s what I wish I was paying for most things. But what about poor Thom Yorke and his little elfin shrunken head? Didn’t he deserve to be paid? Of course. Five dollars? Five pounds? Five Euros? What’s the exchange rate today? What statement am I making as a fan, as a label employee, as a person who harangues everyone about paying for music? Arggggh.

In the meantime, AOL started an “All Radiohead” internet radio station which was basically In Rainbows interspersed with Paranoid Android and a lot of B-Sides (India Rubber is a delightful song, by the way – who knew? I almost titled this post “I’m instantly your biggest fan” which is a great line from that song, but I digress). So I was actually listening to it all day without having to think about what to pay Thom (which I always pronounce with the “th” like thong, it’s all my co-worker Jill’s fault). That worked out well. And while I was dithering, they took the whole thing down and said they were releasing it as a CD after all on New Year’s Day. Which is crazy in so many ways, because, while it is a Tuesday (that’s the day CD’s are released), it’s not a normal release day since it’s hard to get shipments to the stores on New Year’s Eve. No one wants to send them earlier because then clueless employees would start selling them. Except… the music is already out, so who cares? As a person who has been in this industry a long time and remembers guarding boxes of Metallica’s Black Album and U2’s Achtung Baby at Sam Goody’s with her life, well, it’s a sea change.

But if you thought I was stuck in the past, you are just WRONG! You may have noticed, but I doubt you have, that I took down my “What I Bought On iTunes” page. That’s because I mostly stopped buying at the iTunes store. Amazon sells their music DRM-free (without copy protection) and so I can put it on my BlackBerry. I tell this to my boss every week but he was selling Frank Sinatra records in his youth so he doesn’t really understand what I’m talking about. Just wait till I run that place. I’ll still be telling you what to pay, though.

And if you are wondering who else besides me will be running out to Circuit City (it’s a record store wasteland on the UWS, sorry) to buy this CD, the NY Times has your answer: no one.

As always, Radiohead songs are not available for download from the legal services (ironic, I know). Here’s the song from which the post title is taken. I think my favorite parts are the ones with the sample of the kids yelling “yay!” I saw them do it live on their webcast and it just wasn’t the same without the yay.

Streaming audio:


14 Comments for this post

  1. JF says:

    Good article.
    Happy new year.

  2. ~dogandmusiclover~ says:

    Amazon has In Rainbows for $7.99. Surprisingly, I haven’t listened to Radiohead much, but I might just by In Rainbows to see what Radiohead is like.

  3. Deutlich says:

    I am SO stoked for this CD and I’m absolutely buying it on disc. I, too, have a love for compact discs that I just can’t shake. I like tearing open the plastic wrap and that smell that goes along with a fresh CD. I do.

  4. Becca says:

    Thanks, JF. Bonne Année !

    Dog, I think that’s just the mp3 version. The CD is 11.99. It’s on sale at Circuit City for $7.99. And no waiting! Except that long line.

    Deutlich, I never can quite get the plastic off correctly but other than that, I agree! And nice post on your site too.

  5. T says:

    It’s strange, I was a huge Radiohead, but for some reason I can’t drag myself to get this album. I have no idea why, but I just feel like I’ve heard it all before. Similar thing happened with Bjork for me. I just reach a point where I feel like it’s all deja vu, or variations on a theme.

  6. ~dogandmusiclover~ says:

    Yeah, I meant the MP3 version. I should have clarified that!

  7. Becca says:

    T, I kind of thought that too. Then when I heard it on AOL radio, I just totally fell in love with it. It’s so rare that the critics and I agree. *coughArcadeFirecough*

    Dog, I wonder how stupid are people going to feel spending even $7.99 to download songs when they could have gotten it for free from Radiohead? Well, maybe they would have spent $7.99 there. Who am I to guess.

    I feel I owe it to everyone to declare that I advised Dog privately to forego IR as her first Radiohead experience and instead go with OK Computer.

  8. sarpon says:

    In honor of you, and Radiohead, your music selection is the first thing I’m listening to on my brand new computer.

  9. Becca says:

    Yes! You too will dance like Ian Curtis!

    Not that, uh, I do when I’m listening to that song.

  10. JFB says:

    they recorded the album entirely.

  11. Becca says:

    I DID!

    It was fantastic, I watched it on New Year’s Eve, they showed it on TV at midnight. It actually has something to do with the next iPod Song of the Week, but I’ll explain that on Sunday.

  12. KP says:

    I got In Rainbows (and a CD cleaning cloth) for 19 cents at fye yesterday.
    How you ask?
    Well, I had a $10 gift card that I got for free when I bought a gift card for someone else, plus it was on sale for 11.99 AND this particular fye is going out of business so it was also 20% off.

    I love it. Love love LOVE it.

    P.S. Is that Thom Yorke’s mug shot?

  13. Becca says:

    Oh, I meant to tell Dog! Amazon lowered their price to $7.99 for the physical CD. So now your first comment is correct.

    KP, I’m hurt! I selected one of the most flattering shots of Thom I could find.

  14. KP says:

    Poor Thom. He needs a steak and a hug.

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