Radiohead have a new single: it’s called Burn The Witch, and the place to listen to it is… YouTube? Yup, YouTube.
The band have just posted the official video for their comeback track, which will also be available “on all digital services” from 12.01am tomorrow.
New Radiohead material has been eagerly anticipated by fans, ahead of a round of European gigs that kicks off later this month.
For now, there is no news on when a full album may appear, or how it will be sold / streamed. The choice of YouTube as the lead platform for Burn The Witch is surprising, given Thom Yorke’s criticism of the service in December 2015.
In an interview, Yorke said he “definitely doesn’t use YouTube” and went on to deliver a stark critique of its business model, and the impact on musicians:
“People continue to say that this is an era where music is free, cinema is free. It’s not true. The creators of services make money – Google, YouTube. A huge amount of money, by trawling, like in the sea – they take everything there is. ‘Oh, sorry, was that yours? Now it’s ours. No, no, we’re joking – it’s still yours’. They’ve seized control of it – it’s like what the Nazis did during the second world war. Actually, it’s like what everyone was doing during the war, even the English – stealing the art of other countries. What difference is there?”
With Burn The Witch now on YouTube and Spotify, the latter may even get the new Radiohead album despite being famously dubbed “the last, desperate fart of a dying corpse” by Yorke in October 2013.
That said, given Radiohead and Yorke’s willingness to experiment with distribution in the past: In Rainbows’ pay-what-you-like download and Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes’ BitTorrent bundle, we wouldn’t be surprised to see something inventive and direct-to-fan for the band’s next album.