Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has just released his latest album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, via BitTorrent. In a letter co-signed by producer Nigel Godrich, Yorke describes this approach to distribution as “an experiment to see if the mechanics of the system are something that the general public can get its head around.” The singer says everything will be handled via “a new version of BitTorrent,” i.e. BitTorrent Bundles.
The gated format allows filmmakers, musicians, and other artists to deliver content to fans directly. Yorke’s bundle includes the 8-track album and a music video.
Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes is $6 and it’s already available for download here.
The press release reads:
“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.”