In a recent Time Out Chicago interview, German DJ-producer Paul van Dyk trashed Radiohead for being rich millionaires who could afford to give away 2007’s In Rainbows while less successful musicians still eat cat food:
“Bands like Radiohead who basically made millions and millions and millions of dollars back in the days when there were no download sites….I believe that thing that Radiohead did was absolutely counterproductive for developing music and for any artist in the world. And was very selfish. But the thing is, you just have to see the bigger picture. It’s not like they just give their music away for free to somebody. I mean, they don’t need that money, fair enough, so why not. But in return, what would have been a fair gesture is saying, “Okay you pay for my record but I don’t take the money, I give it to the young bands, I give it to whoever supports interesting new music.”
He may have spoken too soon. NME reports that one of the Radiohead’s managers, Brian Message, has launched a new label called Polyphonic that will release albums by the likes of the aforementioned young bands digitally, in the same manner as In Rainbows, “which fans could choose how much to pay for when downloading it.” Artists would receive half the profits. Adam Driscoll, one of the label’s principals, added, “Giving an album away for free may get one million people listening to a new artist.” Well, at least the overhead’s low.