As Parlophone/EMI sent out emails last Monday announcing the release of the carreer-spanning album box, USB stick and DRM-free downloads (apart from ‘In Rainbows’ obviously), fans wondered about Radiohead’s role in this. The announcement which started with ‘Radiohead are releasing…’ was later in the day changed to ‘EMI/Parlophone are releasing…’.
On Monday, Boing Boing posted an item about the box set, which was updated a day later with a comment from an anonymous reader: “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.”
Pitchfork then 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?”