Radiohead have totally erased their entire presence online and across social media, adding fuel to the rumour-laden fire that an album release is imminent.
Their tweets and Facebook posts disappeared, their profile pictures went blank. Their own website gradually thinned and became sparse, until eventually, it became nothing but blank white emptiness. See for yourself.
Last week, a number of UK fans were surprised by threatening cryptic leaflets which they received in their mailboxes (actual physical mailboxes that is, not email inboxes), prompting intense speculation that new music was on its way. The flyers contained the words “BURN THE WITCH,” which is also the name of a Radiohead deep cut released around 2003 – 05.
Umm, I just got this in the post from Radiohead. Is the new album called Burn The Witch? pic.twitter.com/zv5QKnDeGh
— Niall Doherty (@NiallMDoherty) April 30, 2016
Following their world tour announcement and the cryptic purchasing of a company, which has traditionally heralded a new album, it’s obvious to see that a new release is imminent.
It’s entirely unsurprising too, given that the musical landscape of today hardly begs for those traditional notions like “an announcement” or “a pre-arranged release date which fans are aware of, can count on, and have been able to research and pre-order.” Radiohead aside, this year we’ve seen a (second) surprise drop preceded only by a couple of cryptic videos from Beyonce, over-the-top-and-unfinished-ongoing releases from Kanye, the delayed-then-announced-then-delayed-again-then-suddenly-released approach from Rihanna, and the flat out “Surprise!” method employed by Kendrick. In fact, one of the only normal major album releases we’ve seen all year has been Drake, and even that was marred by its Apple exclusivity.
Radiohead themselves have hardly stuck to typical album formats, having announced their last release King of Limbs only a few days ahead of time, and then dropping it a day early anyway. Whether their disappearance from the internet and physical mail-out indicates a release format or not, we will not know. It feels incredibly unlikely that they’ll do something like, say, release an album exclusively via hard copy CD. It’ll also be interesting to see if they release their album themselves (for free again?) and if they’ve worked something out regarding a release (or god help us, exclusivity) on iTunes vs Tidal vs Apple. Considering Thom Yorke’s extremely vocal and public hatred of streaming services, it’ll be interesting, and hopefully not to restrictive, to see where they go with this release.