Earlier this week, indie favorite Radiohead announced it would release its eighth full–length album, “The King of Limbs.” In true Radiohead fashion, the band announced the release just five days before its scheduled release on Saturday, Feb. 19.
The album is being billed by Radiohead as the world’s first newspaper album. It is a curious statement, as no one is really sure what a “newspaper album” means. The band is infamous for shunning major record companies and traditional methods of releasing music.
Radiohead gained a large amount of fanfare for its release of 2007’s “In Rainbows” in which it allowed fans to pay as much as they thought was appropriate for the album. The band has been extremely tight-lipped about the album and possible track listing. According to www.ateaseweb.com, a Radiohead fan site, the Japanese version of the pre-order website listed that the album would only contain eight tracks. This information has since been taken down.
If true, “The King of Limbs” would be the shortest Radiohead full-length by a number of tracks. The album will be released in a variety of different formats over the next few months.
The traditional practice of setting an album release date has become irrelevant as of late, as leaked albums and music piracy are becoming more and more common. Radiohead’s eighth album has avoided any leaks prior to the Saturday release date.
Just as its last album illustrated that traditional ways of valuing music could change despite industry standards, “The King of Limbs” attempts to show that bands can be in control of the release of their music. The release of “The King of Limbs” will result in a so-called “uniform Radiohead experience” in which music listeners all over the world will hear the album on the same day.
On Saturday, fans who have placed a digital pre-order for the album will be able to download it from the band’s pre-sale website, www.kingoflimbs.com. In America, the price for an MP3 download will be $9. A WAV version for audiophiles will also be released at the price of $14.
On May 9, a special edition of the album will be shipped to those who pre-ordered. The special edition of “The King of Limbs” includes two clear 10″ vinyl records, a compact disc, many large sheets of artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-color piece of oxo-degradable plastic to hold the whole package together.
One lucky winner will receive a signed 2 track 12″ vinyl. The price for this special edition is $48 with an MP3 download and $53 with a WAV download. Those who pre-order this special edition will also be allowed to download the album on Saturday. The album will receive a traditional release on CD and 12″ vinyl on March 28 globally and March 29 in North America.