WSJ: Radiohead Says No More Albums

By Marisa Taylor

Radiohead said in a magazine interview that it wouldn’t release any more full-length albums, instead focusing on downloadable singles like its recently released “Harry Patch (In Memory Of)” and shorter EPs.

“None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again. Not straight off,” said Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, in an interview with the Believer. “I mean, it’s just become a real drag. It worked with ‘In Rainbows’ because we had a real fixed idea about where we were going. But we’ve all said that we can’t possibly dive into that again. It’ll kill us.”

‘In Rainbows,’ which Radiohead offered online on a pay-what-you-wish basis, was successful, he added. “It worked on two or three different levels. The first level is just sort of getting a point across that we wanted to get across about music being valuable. It also worked as a way of using the Internet to promote your record, without having to use iTunes or Google or whatever…and it also worked financially.”

The news that the band won’t do another studio album came days after it released “Harry Patch,” a tribute to the British World War I veteran who was buried last week. The song, which features the sweeping arpeggios of a string orchestra behind the vocals of Mr. Yorke, is available as a digital download for £1, or about $1.68, and the proceeds will go to the British Legion.

Though Radiohead previously scoffed at the iTunes model of selling individual digital tracks and preferred to sell albums in their entirety, its new download-only mantra may be the way of the future. According to Nielsen SoundScan, sales of albums were down by 14% in 2008, but individual tracks broke a sales record, surging 27% to break 1 billion units sold.

Posted by Ted • Wednesday, August 12, 2009 .