A band’s management usually has the group’s best interests at heart, right? Or something like that. Before Radiohead revolutionized how albums are sold with its name-your-price plan for the digital download of 2007’s "In Rainbows," the band’s management suggested the guys should break up.
Radiohead, break up?! Wouldn’t it also be in the management’s best interests for the band to stay together? I mean, Radiohead seems like it’s just a teeny bit successful and somewhat established. Seems like the band could really make it in the industry.
In a recent story in the Irish Times, Brian Message, the Director of Courtyard Management, which manages Radiohead, revealed that he and two of his partners advised the band to split up.
Thom Yorke and co. had completed its contract with EMI in 2005 but hadn’t recorded another album since 2003’s Hail to the Thief. Although new songs were written, Radiohead just couldn’t seem to make it work and achieve the perfect sound in the studio.
Rather than telling the band to keep at it until the ultimate Radiohead-approved sound was achieved, Courtyard said maybe the guys should just give it a rest.
“I’ve been lucky to work with some great artists and Radiohead are a once in a generation act,” Message told the Irish Times. “But you have to be honest if it’s not working. You have to have passion about what you do. I’m an accountant but I love music and I’m passionate about the artists I work with.”
It doesn’t get more passionate than telling your most successful band to break up. That’s true commitment.
But of course Radiohead didn’t break up – and even stayed with the management that advised the guys to call it a day.
Radiohead came through with In Rainbows and Courtyard Management cooked up the scheme to release the album online and let the fans pay what they thought the self-financed release was worth.
“We realized that, by using the Internet for the delivery of the album, we could reach 173 countries and it would cost us less than three cents a copy for distribution,” Message told the Irish Times.
“Two of my partners in the management company came up with the idea of pay what you like. Both the band and us were really excited about doing something brave and a bit whacky.”
Although some critics have questioned whether the move was a success as fans still illegally downloaded the album, Message said “It was the best thing for that band at that time.”
Radiohead is performing at this year’s Leeds Festival Aug. 29 at Bramham Park in Leeds, U.K., and Reading Festival at Richfield Avenue in Reading, U.K., Aug. 30.
Are you counting your lucky stars Radiohead didn’t listen to its management? What bands do you think should break up?
Read the Irish Times article here.