Not content with upending the distribution and pricing model for new music releases, Radiohead are on the bleeding digital edge again: letting fans take apart & remix their music, and pay for the privilege. It kind of reminds me of Caterham letting you buy the car kit as well as the finished car (OK well maybe it's more like Stardoll ...)
You may recall Radiohead's first experiment last fall, allowing fans to pay whatever they liked for the album In Rainbows, available initially only as a digital download (and later as an expensive box set).
According to band leader Thom Yorke (interviewed here by David Byrne), the band generated more profit from the 40% or so who paid for the album than from digital sales of all previous studio albums combined (including iTunes downloads). This fact really exposed the extent to which the music industry (like the film and TV industries) has managed to screw artists out of their digital rights thus far.
With Radiohead's single Nude, the band applies our favourite Web 2.0 concepts -- mashups, UGC, social networking widgets and social bookmarking -- to music marketing & distribution. Yesterday, an email went out to the fanbase, offering:
the song 'Nude' in pieces for you to remix. For those of you who enjoy this sort of thing, you can buy the separate components or 'stems' (bass, voice, guitar, strings/FX and drums) and remix your own version of the song. You can do this by adding your own beats and instrumentation or just remixing the original parts.
You can buy the stems of the song here and directly on iTunes. They can be remixed in most music programmes including Garageband. Once you've created you're own riff on the song, you can upload it to Radiohead's site (or to Facebook or MySpace) so that people can vote on it. They've even created a Facebook app that allows you to embed it in your profile and collect public votes directly.
What I love about these guys is their willingness to take a flyer on the outcome of these experiments. They had no idea what would happen with the pay-what-you-will download idea. Who knows what will come of this public mashup-remix of Nude? Sales for sure, studios take note...