UPDATE: You can download Thom Yorke’s new album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes over BitTorrent right now, or buy it on vinyl:
ORIGINAL: It seems we may know what all the hubbub about Thom Yorke’s cryptic tweet was for: he has a new solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.
As Pitchfork reports, the enigmatic musician co-wrote a letter with producer Nigel Godrich announcing the album as well as the planned “experimental “distribution for the record over BitTorrent. Here’s the letter:
As an experiment we are using a new version of BitTorrent to distribute a new Thom Yorke record.
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.
Thom Yorke & Nigel Godrich
The model sounds not-so-dissimilar from Radiohead’s In Rainbows pay-what-you-want distribution method, at least in the sense that Yorke is still trying to find a way to get artists the money they deserve for their work in the digital era. It is also only the singer’s second solo record, the first since 2006’s The Eraser.