Radiohead, their album and Bittorrent

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 20, 2007
Updated • May 17, 2014
File Sharing, Music and Video

There is a lot of coverage going on at the moment on various sites that all report that the new Radiohead album In Rainbows that is exclusively available on an official In Rainbows website is spreading like any other major music album on Bittorrent.

The main issue that the reporting sites have is that listeners may pay the price they like to purchase the album on the In Rainbows website which can be anything from $0 to hundreds of Dollars for the album plus a small service charge.

The Music Industry will most likely spring on the bandwagon and announce that even if they would offer the music for free it would be pirated. To an extent that is likely true. But this case is different. Some technical problems during the first days made it impossible for many users to download the music at all.

I know some who would have liked to listen to the music before purchasing it which is not possible on the Radiohead website. Many turned to Bittorrent to grab the In Rainbows album from there because of the load on the Radiohead website.

Several users went through the registration process on the In Rainbows website only to find out that the download would fail.

The problem here was that it was not possible to reuse the download link, all that they could do was to contact support who probably got so many calls and emails the first day that users who actually paid for the album decided to get the album from Bittorrent alternatively.

Listeners without a Credit Card or Paypal account have no means of acquiring the album legally at the moment. Everyone who does not know about the website In Rainbows probably wonders why the album is not in stores but on Torrent sites.

I don't want to excuse sharing this album though. This band deserves the support and users should grab it from the official website if possible. I especially can't say that it helped Radiohead when users downloaded the album from Bittorrent instead of the Radiohead website.

First, if you download the album from Bittorrent you also spread it there which means that you helped spreading the album to thousands of users. Second, the calculation surely has a chapter for upselling stuff to users that registered on the official website. It can be anything from news of new albums, tours, merchandise and maybe even free stuff.

Radiohead should learn from the launch issues and at least offer options to listen to the album before making the purchase, create a user friendly checkout process, use download links that are valid for 24 hours, offer different Kbits and formats and other payment options as well.

I can't see that this is going to be a model for all the big bands out there. Imagine you have to register to each band's website in order to download and buy the latest album. There has to be some major platform in the future that offers those downloads and functionality that was missing in this case.


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  1. Taomyn said on September 4, 2013 at 9:46 am

    And for those looking for a decent alternative that’s free and free from ads plus other crap (though I would recommend donating), then try qBittorrent:

  2. zondron said on September 4, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Why not use the portable version of uTorrent?

    Just downlad the .exe from official website into a folder, create a text file in the same folder, rename the .txt file to settings.dat and start uTorrent. You can move the folder anywhere.

    1. Coyote said on September 4, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      ^Exactly…. in fact I would recommend avoiding all versions over 2.0, the torrent portion of the program hardly changed, it’s all the ads, ratings, and possible tracking features that require all the additional installs.

      And this is why I never updated in a nutshell;

      More Ads (hit decline offer)
      Even more ads (hit decline)”

      Nope. I donated $25 several years ago to the utorrent crew.. possibly a decade… so I refuse to accept their reasoning for selling out so much.

      1. zondonr said on September 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm

        You can turn off the ads.

  3. Paul said on September 4, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    qBittorrent FTW!

  4. anon said on September 4, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Qbittorrent your way out of this piece of crap.

  5. Dukislav said on September 4, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    +1 for Qbittorrent

  6. Blue.bsod said on September 4, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I’m a long long time user of Bitcomet now and forever. Never any ads, no offers, nothing to decline, no sell out… little used due to the complex nature they still scare people away with, but their new install is a simple one click solution that discovers all settings on its own except firewalls.

    They follow a simple idea…’share’… if you share you can possibly go faster than those who don’t share. You can even see connections* connected to you and of them who is sharing and who isn’t… then you can boot them / ban them or ignore them selectively ‘mwahahaha…’. We can set how much we share, with who, and how fast we share.

    *in my personal experience over 95% of Azures and uTorrent users do not share, I boot them.

    So those who believe Bitcomet is hard to understand, they haven’t been that since version 1.09a (current public release 1.35). Also Bitcomet installs a Firefox add-on to capture media from the temp directory. You can easily unload it using Firefox’s Add-on Options page.

    Bottomline, Bitcomet is faster and easier to install/use. Signing up as a registered user will allow you to join the ranks as a sharing user. The more you share, the faster you can possibly go.

  7. suc said on July 19, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    utorrent installs itself in appdata folder so it can inject malware without the UAC consent. Don’t use utorrent because it’s unsafe!

  8. uTP said on December 8, 2015 at 10:47 am

    The best last version of utorrent is 2.2.1 build 25534

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