The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Looks like Radiohead's back room tshirt sales team geek team got their proverbial finger out. Despite their server crash last week and my fears for a meltdown today, I managed to download a copy of 'In Rainbows' from their (t-shirt shop hosted) web server this a.m without any problems. And it was downloaded in a matter of seconds.

Radiohead In Rainbows DownloadI would not have been surprised if - after their website problems last week - Radiohead had used a specialist third party service to host their digital music files, but they appear to have kept it all in-house. The link they sent out for the download pointed to a new domain name the band has not previously used or announced ( is where the MP3 files are hosted, before now was used by the band but only for taking orders for the album) and a quick check on shows that this domain is also hosted by Radiohead's favourite tshirt shop Sandbag.

I am going to presume my download experience this a.m. is in line with that of others who stumped up for the download so - as far as I am concerned - it's hats off to the Radiohead team in making this happen without a technical hitch. Excellent work.

In the comments section of my previous blog entry about this release 'Carl' mentioned that he heard download links would  be sent out in the order in which they were ordered, which would have staggered the demand over a few hours. It doesn't look like they did that as I ordered my download 5 days after they started taking orders and my customised download arrived this a.m. at 7:21a.m GMT.

So while there's plenty of good news it's not all rosy this morning for fans expecting a download of excellent audio quality because (wait for it...) the MP3s are encoded at 160kbs. I repeat: 160 kbs. That really steals the cherry from the cake. 160kbs is a miserable bit rate (and you can hear it, especially on the cymbals). When I chose last Friday to stump up GBP 3.45 for this download I (wrongly) assumed that Radiohead would not dare dump anything less that 256kbs on their fans (they never announced what the bit rate would be, and now I know why). I wouldn't have paid what I did if I knew they were going to chance their arm with 160kbs MP3 files. Caveat Emptor and all that, I know. But I do feel cheated.

Back to the specifics of the event. And it is an event. I hope Radiohead release details of the technical arrangements they had in place (server spec, internet backbone connection arrangement, etc) to make this happen. Sharing that sort of info would be very helpful to other contract-free artists interested in doing something similar.

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Nuggets from our archive

2000 - 'Rock Criticism: Getting it Right', written by Mark Godfrey. A thought provoking reflection on the art of rock criticism.