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  Did Napster Take Radiohead's New Album to Number 1?
Posted by Richard Menta on 2000/11/03 10:40:41 US/Eastern

When artists like Radiohead - a band that never hit the Top 40 in either album or single sales - release an album people in the industry call "challenging", few have any illusions that this music will instantly ride up the charts. They're lucky if it appears anywhere in Top 100.

The record companies reasoning is that this type of music tends to get lost on the teen fans who buy most of the records in this country. That is not an unfair assessment, these guys have been selling records for years. But there is a catch 22 in that they also don't try as hard with such artists, reserving the big marketing dollars for acts they figure have a shot in bringing in a sizable return on invested funds.

Yes, the rave reviews by the music press help greatly, but Radiohead was never to see the full force that big dollars can do to hype acts like Britney Spears and Ricky Martin. They have their niche, marketing will stay with it and that is good business.

When tracks from the bands latest album "Kid A" showed up on Napster three months before the CDs release, their record company was in a tizzy. Someone on the inside obviously leaked this out.

So here we have this band with a new album of challenging music that has by now been downloaded by millions of people worldwide. The CD is officially released. Did it fade away into bargain rack oblivion as many feared?

No, it shot to number one on the US album charts in its debut week.

Read More at http://www.mp3newswire.net/stories/2000/radiohead.html

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The following replies are owned by whoever posted them:
Re: Did Napster Take Radiohead's New Album to Number 1?
by Jack Mingo on 2000/11/03 12:01:50 US/Eastern

Thanks for your thoughtful post, Richard. Downloading songs from Napster has spurred me to buy more CDs, I have to admit--it's the main way I see if I like a new band I've heard about or read a review of. I've been burned too many times by promising reviews that have convinced me to plunk down $16 for a new CD I've turned out to hate. Napster takes the risk out of the decision, and so I buy with confidence.

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Re: Did Napster Take Radiohead's New Album to Number 1?
by Itamar on 2000/11/03 17:03:08 US/Eastern

Perhaps the leak of CD *before* it was released that is the actual cause of the CD's success. The fact that you can hear the music early would cause more people to download and listen to it than might've been the case otherwise. Napster gives access to the music, but people must still choose to download it. And Napster's technology is still biased towards more popular music - this sort of thing probabaly wouldn't have worked for an Industrial Celtic Metal band.

Perhaps leaking a few tracks to Napster will become just another standard practice for music PR.

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