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Thom Yorke releases new album via BitTorrent

The element of surprise is turning out to be increasingly popular among major artists. Beyoncé dropped her new album out of nowhere last December, U2 gave Songs of Innocence to half a billion iTunes users earlier this month—and now Radiohead’s Thom Yorke has suddenly released a new eight-song album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, via the download service BitTorrent.

“As an experiment,” wrote Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich, “we are using a new version of BitTorrent to distribute a new Thom Yorke record.” The statement continues:

The new Torrent files have a pay gate to access a bundle of files..
The files can be anything, but in this case is an ‘album’.
It’s an experiment to see if the mechanics of the system are something that the general public can get its head around …
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.
If it works anyone can do this exactly as we have done.
The torrent mechanism does not require any server uploading or hosting costs or ‘cloud’ malarkey.
It’s a self-contained embeddable shop front…
The network not only carries the traffic, it also hosts the file. The file is in the network.
Oh yes and it’s called
Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.

The album can be immediately downloaded via BitTorrent. The first song, “A Brain in a Bottle,” and its video can be downloaded for free; the rest of the album costs $6.00.

The album can also be ordered on deluxe vinyl: “These are printed with a metallic silver laminate then multi-tone black and a striking neon green; the whole is enclosed in a bespoke anti-static shield bag—a metallised laminated material usually used by the electronics industry for protecting components from electrostatic interference. The bag is printed with neon green on both sides, and has a resealable grip closure.”