As many of you (judging by the number of e-mail tips we have received) know, the latest Radiohead album, “In Rainbows” is now available on iTunes. The album is $9.99 in the US and released via iTunes Plus, meaning the files are DRM free. This is the first Radiohead album to appear on iTunes (though fans will note that frontman, Thom Yorke’s solo album, “The Eraser,” has been on iTunes since its debut in 2006), where Radiohead has remained one of an ever-shrinking group of high profile artists not to list their catalog with the digital service.
Previously, “In Rainbows” was available as a free or “pay what you want” download directly from the band. While the success of this promotion has been debated, it was always clearly devised as a promotion nonetheless. Shortly before launching the “In Rainbows” download promotion/experiment, Radiohead announced that the record, at that time, would not be released via iTunes. So what has changed? Well, the biggest change is that Radiohead is no longer with EMI. Digital sales have long been a point of contention between the band and their former label (and it is a primary reason the back catalog is not on iTunes and will probably not be on iTunes in the foreseeable future), now that the band has control over its own music and licensing terms (and is releasing the album via independent labels online and in retail stores), iTunes has become a viable distribution method.