Head of BitTorrent Who Released Thom Yorke’s Album Says Labels Have ‘Given Up’
Aside from Thom Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich, there's another man to thank for today's surprise release of Yorke's latest solo album: BitTorrent boss Matt Mason who believes the record industry is in need of a fresh start.
Yorke (never a fan of conventional methods) posted 'Tomorrow's Modern Boxes' -- the follow-up to his 2006 solo debut, 'The Eraser -- for sale on a BitTorrent site for fans to download as opposed to the industry's more traditional routes, and Mason told NME how his company became involved in the project.
"We began talking at the beginning of the year," he said. "I met Nigel (Godrich) through his manager, and it became clear they were keen to experiment and push people's perceptions of how music could be released. I knew Radiohead had just finished a year off, so didn't know if they'd have time to work on new music, or what form it'd come in. But we met on Christmas Eve for a cup of tea in London and agreed to work on some ideas. Thom's team are the most demanding and thoughtful you could hope for, so it was a huge pleasure. Would we work with him on more releases and perhaps even the next Radiohead album? We'd absolutely love to."
Mason said many people don't fully understand what BitTorrent is and only associate it with internet piracy. "It's misunderstood and I think even after this, it'll continue to be misunderstood. We've been working to change people's perceptions of BitTorrent since we started," said Mason. "It's easy to say you stole something from the internet with BitTorrent. But you can't get there without a search engine, you can't do it without an HTTP."
In a statement released by Yorke and Godrich, they called the release an "experiment":
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.
Mason also said 2014 has been a "bad year for music innovation" and said the most innovative feature unveiled is a dubious one. "The biggest innovation in music this year so far has been Apple releasing a tool to remove a U2 album from your iTunes," he said. "It's been a bad year for music innovation. The way major labels just throw all their music on Spotify, they've given up on selling people music. We hope to prove with this and our work with other artists – we've worked with Madonna, Linkin Park as well as lots of rising names – that there's another way."
Thom Yorke -- 'A Brain In a Bottle' Official Video