Thom Yorke has a history of going against the grain with his online music sales. His band Radiohead first released In Rainbows as a pay-what-you-want download, and he pulled his solo tunes from Spotify to make a stand on royalty rates. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that he's once again bucking trends by launching his latest album (Tomorrow's Modern Boxes) as the first ever pay-gated BitTorrent Bundle. You can listen to its first song, "A Brain in A Bottle," for free; forking over $6 will unlock the remaining seven tracks. And for now, it's only available online through BitTorrent's peer-to-peer technology. You can buy vinyl if you'd like a hard copy, but you won't find it on regular download or streaming services.
Yorke and his long-time collaborator Nigel Godrich explain the move as an "experiment" in helping artists get around the music industry's "self elected gate-keepers." Going with BitTorrent not only avoids existing stores, but also the usual costs of do-it-yourself publishing -- since buyers are sharing the tracks with each other, Yorke doesn't have to pay for hosting or deal with cloud-based "malarkey." It's tough to know if this gamble will pay off, but it at least proves that you don't need labels or a lot of bandwidth to get an album off the ground.
[Image credit: Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP]