Sunday, April 6, 2008

Radiohead Gets Greedier and Greedier

By Evan Rytlewski
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It drives me nuts that Radiohead is constantly depicted as this altruistic presence well above the seedy music industry, when in reality the group continually finds cynical new revenue streams.

More offensive than the many ways the group has sold and re-packaged its “free” album, In Rainbows, is their current “Nude” remix contest. Dozens of bands from Public Enemy to Les Savy Fav to The Perishers to Ocelot to Cursive have sponsored similar promotions, encouraging fans to remix various songs for inclusions on future releases (or at least on their websites), but I can’t recall a single one that has charged to participate, let alone one that charged $5. To gain access to the song’s drum, bass, vocal, string and guitar stems, participants need to buy them for 99 cents each on iTunes.

Of course, users have no rights to the remixes they create; but Radiohead’s music company does, and Radiohead themselves will retain complete songwriting credits. That’s pretty typical, but the “Nude” Remix iTunes site adds its “you have no ownership” disclaimer in the most condescending, “we’d never expect you to be capable of creating real art, but even if you did it’s ours, not yours” way possible:

If you wish to commercially exploit them [the remixes] you’d need permission from us. You don’t have legal ownership of this music simply by cutting it up or whatever.
Right; because the listeners are the ones attempting commercial exploitation.
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