The Messiah of Music Re-Emerges

Radiohead returns with a new album, The King of Limbs, this Saturday. In a similar fashion to In Rainbows, their 2007 release, the new album will be released on their website. A standard CD will be available on March 28 in record stores in collaboration with XL Recordings. A “Newspaper Album” will be available will be available May 9.

Scott Plagenhoef of Pitchfork points out:

Radiohead have set aside the “pay what you want” patronage model that dominated the conversation surrounding the In Rainbows release, yet have retained that album’s more important business aspects … Once again, we all know exactly when we’re first able to hear a new Radiohead record and therefore will largely all experience it together, something almost completely lost in today’s pop music landscape.

Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune reports on the physical albums which will be following in March and May.

Special-edition physical copies of the album – advertised as the “world’s first Newspaper Album” — will be made available through the Web site May 9, for $48 (with MP3 download) or $53 (with WAV download), that include a CD, two 10-inch vinyl records  and extensive artwork.

According to Radiohead’s website, the “Newspaper” version will consist of:

  • Two clear 10″ vinyl records in a purpose-built record sleeve.
  • A compact disc.
  • Many large sheets of artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-colour piece of oxo-degradeable plastic to hold it all together.
  • A digital download compatible with digital media players.

 


The Record Spins ‘Round

In movies the good guy doesn’t die, but there’s always one last stumbling block for Good Guy to overcome.

After overcoming insurmountable odds, seemingly stealing victory from the jaws of defeat, Evil Emperor Bad Jones arrives, throwing Good Guy into a fresh new layer of hell.

Things look grim for Good Guy as Evil Emperor Bad Jones lords over him, no doubt explaining all the ways Good Guy failed and is surely about to die.

And yet, in that moment of despair, with darkness ensconcing our hero, something happens–something always happens.

The Good Guy wins!

[credits]

This isn’t the case with typical life. Dinosaurs are dinosaurs and everything will go the way of the dodo bird.

And yet, while the music industry is down or stagnant, vinyl sales continue to rise. According to Nielsen Soundscan, vinyl records are up 14 percent in 2010, continuing to rise over the past three years.

Vinyl was bolstered by classic albums being re-released, but three of the top five records sold were new releases. Including the Grammy winner for Best Album of the Year, Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs.

The death of the vinyl album was pronounced in 1983, when Sony/Phillips first introduced the compact disc. The CD bragging quality and pure fidelity. For the next five years, as the cost of CD players dropped, Rolling Stone continued publishing articles stating vinyl was dead.

Ten years after the introduction of the CD, collectors found the death of vinyl to be widely exaggerated.

In 1993, two years after Soundscan began keeping track of vinyl sales, Rolling Stone changed their tune.  As Wired pointed out in a 2007 article, vinyl may be the final nail in the CD’s coffin.

MP3s, the supposed usurper of the CD and with a heavy dose of irony, now have software and hardware to transpose digital versions of records to your iPod, as reported by Connected Home.

Records were originally constructed as a means of listening to the dead, as John Durham Peters points out in his book Speaking into the Air. Now it’s the same raspy recordings which audiophiles crave keeping records alive.

Vinyl isn’t dead, it’s only getting worn in.