Innovative rock band Radiohead has stunned the music world by announcing that its forthcoming album will make its debut as a digital download available for whatever individual consumers want to pay for it.
Guitarist Jonny Greenwood announced on the band's website late Sunday night that the new album In Rainbows has been completed and would be released Oct. 10 online.
When pre-ordering the album through the website, the checkout screen returns the message: "It's up to you."
A subsequent message adds: "No really, it's up to you."
A physical version of the band's seventh album — a special edition featuring two discs as well as lyrics and artwork — will follow in December.
The critically acclaimed band fulfilled its contract with record label EMI with its previous album, 2003's Hail to the Thief.
In the past, despite being leaked onto the internet before their official release dates, Radiohead albums have still shot to the top of music charts.
Radiohead and its frontman, Thom Yorke, are among those in the recording industry who have questioned the traditional music model and the dominance of record labels.
Prince, for instance, has regularly given his music away for free in the past few years, with the U.S. pop, rock and funk icon employing unconventional distribution techniques like releasing tracks on his website first and handing out free copies of new albums to those attending his concerts.
Most recently, the American singer, composer and musician gave away thousands of his latest album Planet Earth through aBritish newspaper. While the move angered the record industry, his subsequent 21-day concert series in London attracted packed, enthusiastic audiences.