Note to Radiohead: Stay off the streets.
All the music biz talk these days is about Radiohead, how they’ve broken free of the industry by selling their new album without the help (or is it, now, burden?) of a record company. And good for them. Their approach is extremely smart: by letting people name their own price, they look groovy and egalitarian. By offering a deluxe $80 version for the hardcore fans, they guarantee that they’ll still make tons of money. And by cutting the jackals of the Long Plastic Hallway out of the loop, they get to keep all the lucre for themselves.
But if I was Thom Yorke and company, I would be watching my back. I wouldn’t walk the streets without protection, and I’d get the corner table in the restaurant and sit facing the door. Don’t forget that the record industry and the mob are, for all intents and purposes, one and the same. Am I saying that goons hired by, say, the RIAA will try to make an example of Radiohead? Only in my most paranoid delusions would I think that. But your most paranoid delusions sometimes turn out to be right. It won’t look like assassination, of course…it’ll be an “obsessed fan,” or maybe mysterious overdoses…anyway, I hope I’m wrong. But, seriously, Radiohead, be careful out there.