Friday, 18 February 2011

OPINION: The day Radiohead made the music world go crazy....

These days it's so hard for bands to attract attention when they release albums, when the TV and radio is dominated with celebrity crap, hardly any news gets through, and when it does (like in the case of Mumford and Sons) it takes a lot of word of mouth and a lot of luck. It's very difficult for new bands to attract mainstream publicity, but what about bands that are already big? Even bigger acts are struggling to get exposure in the mainstream these days....

The days of people queuing outside record shops to get their hands on albums has long gone (except on Record Store Day of course). I remember the hysteria surrounding the release of Oasis' 'Be Here now' in 1997.... months of build up and rumours, then a hugely hyped publicity campaign steeped in anticipation before the album was released on a Thursday rather than a Monday. And of course this was in the days before an album would leak on the internet weeks before it hit the shops, so all the record-buying public had heard was the single and 4 other tracks played on the Evening Session. I remember the morning of Be Here Now, when i queued outside HMV to buy the album and stood at the till queue with every other person in the line clutching a copy of the same record. It was truly a national event... one of the main stories on the BBC News and it even made that day's front page of The Sun.... and I still have from HMV my 'Commemorative Certificate' to mark the fact that i bought the new Oasis album on this musically historic day.

Days like that are now long gone. No chance of any band being able to get masses of people up and down the country queuing outside shops excited to own their new CD. So how does a band create such mass hysteria amongst music fans in the year 2011?

Radiohead have the right idea. Proving that not only is this a band completely in control of their music, but also completely in control of the way in which it is distributed. They felt like their was "no reason to hold it back another day because everything was ready to go", so they decided to leak the album themselves a day early.

When the news that the album was coming a day earlier broke at about 10am this morning, the internet went into overload. Word quickly spread amongst not only Radiohead's massive fanbase but also music bloggers and journalists to create a wave of excitement... the top 'trending' topic on Twitter was #thekingoflimbs and within hours news of this album was everywhere.... when the first few copies of the album were made available to download, music bloggers like myself were quick to be one of the first to have their say on this record. In fact over the course of today my review of 'The King Of Limbs' has attracted a record-breaking number of visitors to this blog ('record breaking' in terms of this blog's stats anyway)

And all day BBC 6Music won't go more than half an hour without at least one mention of Radiohead, and the new tracks have been playing throughout the day.

I myself have heard the album in full FOUR times now as i write this, and i have resisted giving it anymore plays since about lunchtime because i can tell this is definitely an album that is best listened to through a good pair of headphones, late at night, with no distractions. And quite a few times too. So in a few hours that is what will be done. Then after repeating this process a few times, I can then give the record a proper analysis. For now, read my first impressions of the album HERE.

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