It’s not new for Radiohead to do things uncharacteristic of artists. Little over a month ago, they posted their whole catalog of released music to YouTube. In June of 2019, 18 hours of unreleased demos from the 90s were stolen by a hacker and ransomed for $150,000. The group responded by releasing all 18 hours of music online as minidiscs for sale with proceeds going towards a notable cause. So it’s safe to say that Radiohead has a tendency to do the unusual. And that’s exactly what they’ve done with the brand new Radiohead Public Library.
With 35+ years of material, it’s difficult to track down everything Radiohead even for their most ardent fans. You had to go through fan sites, lost sources and archives to see if you found something you’d missed. Well, that ends today as the Radiohead Public Library is now live. The online library is a curated archive of the group’s music releases, compilations, merch (even on-demand prints from decades ago!), music videos, artwork, and live performances. It also includes TV appearances, behind-the-scenes photos, W.A.S.T.E newsletters dating back to the 90s, and playlists. The best part is that everything is sortable by “era” and albums.
Hell, you can even create your very own Radiohead library card and flaunt it. But I promise you, you won’t look anywhere near as cool as Colin does in his card:
In fact, each member of the group is going to take turns guiding fans and visitors through the Radiohead Public Library. They will present parts & selections of their choice from the online library via social media this entire week till the 24th of January.
Despite their YouTube dump last year, the group has been quite vocal about their disdain for Spotify. Thom Yorke even called the streaming platform “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse” a few years ago. But that stance has softened in recent times with most of Radiohead’s music slowly coming back to the platform. They’ve gone one step further now by releasing some rare gems on Spotify and other streaming services.
Is this everything?
No, the library isn’t totally complete (yet). There’s definitely a lot of live concert recordings, out-of-circulation merchandise, early “On a Friday” stuff, and more still absent from the library. Once fans start combing through the archive and realize that there’s still something missing, you’ll see a lot of very specific requests to the group on social media for them. Will they add them to the library? Can’t say.
But one thing’s for sure. The Radiohead Public Library is one of the best initiatives by a musical act to cement an already legendary status. Attendance will never be an issue for this library.