Add a group of Oxford business students to the list of people who kept Thom Yorke's new solo album a secret from the world. MBA candidates at the prestigious university worked with the Radiohead singer's management team on the experimental set, titled Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, which was released Sept. 26 via peer-to-peer file-sharing service BitTorrent.
Oxford says MBA students from the Saïd Business School worked with Yorke's team at Courtyard Management on user experience, media strategy and financial analysis for the BitTorrent release. They also generated some potential strategies on how to release the next Radiohead album, so fans could be in store for another unconventional album delivery from the iconic band.
"It was immensely useful to have the input of the MBA students on data analysis and new marketing strategies. They produced a thorough and insightful document," says Courtyard Management.
Yorke grew up in Oxford and it was there at a local all-boys school that he met future Radiohead bandmembers Ed O'Brien, Phil Selway, and Colin and Jonny Greenwood.
Yorke's album has a base price of $6, with 90 percent going to the artist and the remaining 10 percent going to BitTorrent. According to the file transfer site, the album bundle has surpassed 3.5 million downloads already. That figure includes the $6 paid downloads as well as giveaways of the first single and video. BitTorrent has not revealed the actual sales of the full album.
"The MBAs were able to put their learning into practice on the project, analysing fan and market data and bringing together new technologies to generate new ideas challenging conventional content distribution mechanisms," according to a university statement.
One of the students, Phil Barry, called working with Team Yorke "inspiring for all of us."