Radiohead cross media case study 1

Jul. 18, 2013

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Radiohead cross media case study 1

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  2. + Early years Radiohead are an English rock band who first formed in 1985 whilst attending Abingdon school. The band began to record demos and performed live around Oxford at various venues. As their live performances started to increase producers and record labels started to become interested in their work and the band signed a six-album recording contract in late 1991with EMI. In 1992 Radiohead recorded their debut release ,drill, which did poorly in the charts. However, a year later the band released their single „creep‟ which was initially unsuccessful but several months after release it became a hit worldwide after they released their debut album Pablo honey in 1993. After the release of Radiohead‟s second album, The bends (1995), their popularity started to escalate in the UK and by the third album, ok computer(1997), greater fame internationally emerged. The popularity of this album was so great that the record was even considered a landmark record of the 1990‟s.
  3. + Radiohead‟s success  The 2000‟s appeared the be the height of Radiohead‟s fame with the release of Kid A(2000) and Amnesiac(2001) as Radiohead took a more experimental route with their musical style marking an evolution of their music. Radiohead incorporated experimental electronic music, post-punk, Jazz and Krautrock influences to produce something new and exciting for audiences. By 2003 Radiohead released their album hail to the thief which was the final album released via EMI and by 2007 had sold over 25 million copies.
  4. + Record label Parlophone is a subsidiary of EMI who are the fourth largest business group of record labels in the recording industry being one of the „big four.‟ After the Beatles had signed to parlophone it managed to make parlophone well known and successful. After EMI‟s major successes with artists such as pink Floyd and Duran Duran it meant that their subsidiary, parlophone, has a great deal of money thus Radiohead have plenty of money to produce the songs they want and don‟t have to worry about financial costs. The influence of the company could be the explanation as to why Radiohead have little interest in money and since the company is so big it would explain why they left EMI when inviting fans to „pay what they want‟ for their In rainbows album as this isn‟t appealing for a large money making company.
  5. + Current record label After the 6 year contract with parlophone Radiohead currently have no record label or distribution partner to cut the costs with. This is due to Thom Yorke believing “ the mainstream music industry in dying.” which is valid considering Emi may be getting bought out. With the success of in rainbows and it‟s unique selling point it has proved Radiohead doesn‟t need a mainstream record company to help this distribute their music and the sales for their album they released independently were great. In recent news Thom York has announced that Radiohead's music will no longer be available on twitter as he believes this isn‟t the way forward and this was a way to protest at their paltry royalty payments. The band stated streaming sites cannot work as a way of supporting new artists‟ work.
  6. + The website Band name dominates the home page and works as a logo for the band drawing their attention to the band rather than their image. Alternating background, switches from black and white, connotes newspapers which suggests their fame as musicians and shows how their music isn‟t gender specific. Designed to look like thorns, works in sync with green banner to give the latest album a „forest‟ theme. Icons placed at the bottom and are a smaller scale suggesting the band themselves are the most important aspect of the website. Newest album the second attraction through bold font.
  7. + Website pages Contradicts with the overall image of the band as there goal appears to be producing music they are passionate about but by having a store portrays how they are still interested in making money and selling themselves as a mainstream band. Fans can become members, allows them to engage with the band and opens up the band to younger social media using audience. Posts from the band allows the band to speak directly to their fans and keep them constantly updated on their lives and music. Promotion of latest album so fans are aware and have all the necessary information
  8. + Other online pages Online pages for Radiohead include a Facebook page, in which fans can post opinions and get into contact with the band and twitter which is used for the same purpose. These social media sites appeal to the younger audience as this is their most accessible form of information. These sites also work as a way for the band to stay in contact with fans as they allow them to post recent activity and keep fans updated. Other online pages include online music pages where fans can listen to music online for free.
  9. + Album artwork All album covers feature creative designs rather than your stereotypical cover which will feature an image of the band which gives an impression of their music being creative and unique. They also appear to be very experimental and artistic which could also be a reflection on the style of music they create. The band appear to be shying away from the limelight and show no interest in selling their image or using it as the main selling point.
  10. + Album promotion The release strategy of Radiohead's in rainbow album took a unique approach which allowed fans to pay whatever they wanted for the digital copy of the album. This generated a massive buzz due to the fact the audience had full control of the pricing. To follow this Radiohead also hosted a contest, alongside aniboom, to allow fans to create the music videos for the tracks on the album. 4 winners were chosen by Radiohead themselves for the following tracks: transmutation, 15 step, reckoner and 16 tracks. This portrays how the band lacks interest in the money making aspect of music and care only for what they produce which is clear through there other action also such as allowing the pyramid song to be used for commercial purposes for only $1.
  11. + Music video analysis The music video opens with a dolly shot going across a pool of water which appears pixelated making the viewer feel slightly delusional as they wonder what they are seeing. The camera finally reveals a form of man made island which gives a sense of isolation and being away from reality An abnormal person made out of geometric shapes then walks into the frame. He is captured at a low angle, placing the audience in the position of the water as if we are beckoning him to join us. This low angle makes the character appear superior and almost threatening to the audience as he is unidentifiable.
  12. + As the character dives into the sea a white beam can be seen connected to him and the island he came from which resembles an umbilical cord and gives this sense of the ocean being a womb. Under the water appears to be a city which gives a sense of the audience entering a parallel universe alongside the man and provokes the audience to feel uncomfortable as it is against the normal place for a city. A point of view shot is used to place the audience in the position of the man allowing them to experience this under water land as well. This encourages the audience to examine the visuals and try to make sense of this location. This goes against the typical conventions of the rock genre as point of view shots are rarely used which portrays the video is narrative based.
  13. + A long shot of bones appears connoting death and makes the underwater place appear like a graveyard. A torch is then shone towards the camera, forming a white screen. This works in sync with the previous shot of the bones to connote death as it gives a sense of „going into the light‟ and reveal the character is likely to die. The character then returns to what appears to be his home and once sat in his chair the „umbilical cord‟ disconnects connoting a suicide as the character is an adult thus it cannot be a birth. However, this appears calming for the audience due to the calm visuals of the character in the chair and gentle music.
  14. + Goodwin analysis The overall style of the video goes against the general conventions of a music video from the rock genre as it features no live performances, being an animation, and has no typical rock instruments present such as electric guitars. Lacks typical demands from record labels such as close ups of the band to sell their image. It can also be said the video is intereferencing an animated short film through the video style. There is a clear relationship between the lyrics and the visuals as they work in sync to create a narrative. For example „ I jumped in the river‟ as the character dives into the water and also „ all the things I used to see‟ as we are shown everyday objects such as chairs and houses. The music works in sync with the visuals as the characters footsteps work alongside the piano cords which sound as he steps.
  15. + Conclusion The band appear to have a unique outlook on their music and how they wish to distribute and produce it. The fact they have decide not to continue their musical career with the support of a record company portrays how the band are independent and want to express their creative talent in new ways which wouldn‟t be adaptable with a strict mainstream record label who want money more than talent. This is clearly demonstrated through their „pay what you want‟ campaign for their album in rainbows. Although this would appear to be a bad move in the music industry and audiences may take this for granted and use it as an opportunity to get their music cheap the band know well enough that their true fans will not abuse this system and thus the technique proved to be successful and created massive buzz which allowed free publicity. From their attitude in interviews and their releasing of in rainbows it is clear to see the band lack interest in making money and create music purely for the pleasure and this is clear from there non-typical techniques displayed on their websites and in their music videos such as not selling their music on their appearances through lacking images on their website and close up shots in their videos.