Some people believe the internet is bad for music because of the illegal downloading options it provides to listeners but for immediacy, the World Wide Web cannot be beaten. This has been emphasised recently with two of the biggest acts in music making brief statements that their new material would be made available in a matter of days. In days gone by, there would be a lengthy promotional campaign to hype a new release but Lady Gaga and Radiohead have shown that it is sometimes better to get new material to fans as quickly as possible.
Lady Gaga wasted no time in making her new single ‘Born This Way’ available on iTunes and it seemed that the whole world was talking about her again in an instant. The release of the single was perfectly timed to coincide with her appearance at the Grammy Awards where she arrived in her usual understated and quiet manner. Okay, that is not quite true as she turned up in an egg but it goes to show that Gaga knows all about the publicity machine.
Radiohead waste no time at all
The quick release obviously works for a single but Radiohead moved to show that it can also be done for albums. An announcement on Monday that the new album ‘The King of Limbs’ would be available from Saturday was the first sign that the band had anything new ready for release. It was known that the group were in the studio working on material but things had gone rather quiet on the Radiohead front but this news was warmly received by the group’s fans.
The indie band has previous in working in this manner with ‘In Rainbows’ being released with fans able to set their own price. That is not happening this time with £6 being the fee for downloading the album but those who want a physical copy of the album will be able to get one at a later date, with a special edition of the album in the pipeline.
There is no longer the need for lag time for a new release
The fact that new material can be pushed onto the market at very short notice is continuing the relationship that many acts have with their fans and is similar to the way that social media has transformed the promotion of acts. Twitter and Facebook ensures that news of a new release can go to the fans in an instant with there being less need of a build-up period for the marketing teams behind a release.
Anything that gets more music out there at a faster rate should be seen as a big thing but it is probably something that only the major artists can get away with. A new or up and coming act needs time to promote their song and let as many people hear it as possible before releasing it to the general public. In this sense, quick releases may not be ideal for all artists but for established artists, it could see a big change to the gestation periods that music is released. It will be interesting to note the early sales figures for both the Gaga single and the Radiohead album and then compare them with previous releases to see if there is any noticeable difference.