EMI, not Radiohead, releasing box set

by Jonathan on November 7, 2007

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By now you have probably heard that starting on December 10th, you will be able to purchase all of Radiohead’s previously released albums from www.radioheadstore.com. All 6 studio albums plus 2001’s I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings will be available 3 different ways:

– Limited Edition CD box set repackaged in digipack sleeves featuring the original artwork.
– DRM-free, high quality 320 kbps MP3s
– Strictly limited edition 4gb USB stick, shaped in Radiohead’s iconic “bear” image and housed in a bespoke deluxe box.

For more information, head on over to www.radioheadstore.com.

It should be noted that Radiohead themselves don’t have anything to do with this release.

EMI/Parlophone are releasing this without the band’s blessing and participation. EMI and Radiohead parted ways after 2003’s Hail to the Thief and there are rumors around that EMI is not too pleased that In Rainbows is being distributed by another label. Pitchfork has more:

The announcement earlier this week that Parlophone/EMI would be issuing a box set of Radiohead’s previously released albums took many fans by surprise. Sure, the set looks purdy, but it doesn’t come with any bonus tracks or new artwork or liner notes. And that USB stick sure is clunky. Plus, why would Radiohead want to release this thing on December 10, right when everybody will be getting their pre-ordered discboxes of In Rainbows? Seems a little fishy.

On Monday, Boing Boing posted an item about the box set. Yesterday, it was updated with the following:

“A publicity-shy reader writes, ‘I think people need to know that the band isn’t some greed machine. I can tell you with 100% certainty that EMI is putting out all those reissues without the band’s participation, blessing, permission or involvement at all. They are doing it as retribution for the band’s decision not to go with them in releasing the new album. Despite their contract being expired, EMI had been counting on the revenue from the forthcoming album. When the band put out the digital version of the album themselves, EMI threatened them with re-releasing their entire catalog on the same day the discbox of IN RAINBOWS was being sent out, Dec 10, unless the band gave EMI the standard physical release of the album. Of course the band/managers told EMI to piss off and were appalled that at such an important point in the band’s career that their former partners would do this to them.'”

We checked in with representatives from both the band and the label. According to the Radiohead camp, the box set was indeed not the band’s idea. They did not confirm any in-fighting, though. EMI agreed that the box was a label initiative, and said that the band’s management was offered the opportunity to participate in the project, but declined. As for the release date, EMI maintained that no maliciousness was intended. Rather, it’s simply box set season–who doesn’t want to find a nicely packaged multi-CD bundle under the tree on Christmas morning?

As for that other Radiohead release we’re all looking forward to, it’s maybe possibly coming out January 1, maybe possibly on ATO/Side One in the U.S., the band is maybe possibly doing a webcast about it on Friday and maybe possibly touring behind it next year.



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