The mystery of Thom Yorke‘s recent cryptic tweets seems to have been solved with the Radiohead frontman announcing the surprise release of his new solo album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, via file-sharing site BitTorrent.
The album features 8 tracks and a music video and can be downloaded as a BitTorrent bundle or on 180 gram white vinyl, which explains this earlier image. It costs just US$6 ($6.80) and its unconventional distribution platform has been described as an “experiment” by the musician and long-time Radiohead collaborator, producer Nigel Godrich.
“It’s an experiment to see if the mechanics of the system are something that the general public can get its head around,” they say in a statement. “If it works well it could be an effective way of handing some control of internet commerce back to people who are creating the work.”
“Enabling those people who make either music, video or any other kind of digital content to sell it themselves. Bypassing the self elected gate-keepers,” adds the statement. “If it works anyone can do this exactly as we have done.”
Yorke is no stranger to trying to revolutionising music distribution and sales, from the pay-what-you-want scheme for Radiohead’s 2007 In Rainbows to his condemnation of music streaming service Spotify as “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse”. According to The Guardian, musicians like Kaskade, DJ Shadow, Moby, De La Soul, Pixies and Public Enemy have all tried BitTorrent’s “Bundles” initiative, but Yorke is the first to use the new “pay-gate” feature.
Matt Mason, chief content officer at BitTorrent, told Crave Online this new feature has endless possibilities in the realm of artistic commerce. “What Thom released today was a very traditional album, but you could put any mixed media into a bundle. There aren’t any limits creatively on the bundle and that’s what we’re most excited about.”
While BitTorrent is predominately associated with illegal downloads and internet piracy, the company is hoping to change this perspective,through working closely with artists in this new distribution initiate.
Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes follows-up Yorke’s debut solo LP, 2006’s The Eraser. A video for the album’s first track, A Brain In A Bottle, is available for free. Watch it below and head to BitTorrent’s blog for instructions on how to download the album.
‘Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes’ Tracklist
01. A Brain In A Bottle
02. Guess Again!
04. The Mother Lode
05. Truth Ray
06. There Is No Ice (For My Drink)
07. Pink Section
08. Nose Grows Some02 Guess Again!