Radiohead is releasing the digital version of its upcoming album, "The King of Limbs," this Saturday with pre-orders being taken now.
U.S.-based fans can choose between a digital download and a more expensive digital/physical package. The download costs $9 for MP3 files or $14 for WAV files. Digital downloads will be available this Saturday. The physical package will be shipped on May 9.
The multi-format release, described as a "newspaper album," costs $48 with MP3 files or $53 for WAV files. In addition to the digital download, the newspaper album package has a CD, two 10" vinyl records and multiple sheets that contain 625 small pieces of artwork. Prices include shipping.
The online-only offering of "The King of Limbs" will be followed by a traditional release at both brick-and-mortar and digital retail on March 28. Los Angeles-based TBD Records, a sublabel of New York-based ATO Records, will have the album in the U.S. and Canada. XL Recordings will carry the title in Europe and Hostess Entertainment will have it in Japan and Asia. These are the same label partners used for the retail release of "In Rainbows," which was originally released online in October 2007.
"The King of Limbs" is at this point very much an album release. Because Radiohead is not offering single track downloads, fans must buy all tracks at once. In fact, the website does not even list the number or title of tracks on the album.
The album finds the band again thinking creatively about its approach to releasing music; because Radiohead are not signed to a label, they can employ whatever strategy they choose. As with the band's 2007 release "In Rainbows," fans are being given short notice to buy this new release through a dedicated e-commerce page. The release is likely to generate a good amount of media and blog attention, driving traffic to the preorder page.
But unlike the pricing strategy employed with "In Rainbows," the band is not employing a unique pricing strategy for this new release. Fans could pay whatever they wanted to pay for "In Rainbows." In effect, the band set up an online tip jar for the digital release while physical packages had firm price tags. The pricing strategy for "The King of Limbs" is downright traditional in comparison. The cheapest product for U.S. residents is $9.
"The King of Limbs" website is powered by Sandbag, a U.K.-based service provider for e-commerce sites. Sandbag helped Radiohead with its pay-what-you-want release of "In Rainbows" and has also helped the band create unique merchandise.
Pre-orders are now being taken at thekingoflimbs.com.