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FEEL THE “BURN”: HERE COMES RADIOHEAD

Radiohead deleted the entire history of their online presence yesterday, suggesting the campaign for their hotly anticipated ninth album had begun, a move that has now been followed up by teaser videos on YouTube and new music today. The set is rumored to be dropping sometime in June through XL Recordings, and could mark the end of the band's battle with streaming services.

The first video doesn’t reveal much aside from, bizarrely, a claymation chirping bird, with the second featuring more clay characters performing some sort of ritual around a woman tied to a tree. They lead to the third, "Burn the Witch," which presents in full the lead track, thought to have been written in the early ’00s; it will be available on all streaming services tomorrow. 

In 2015, the band set up a company named Dawn Chorus; a move that’s been indicative of new releases from Radiohead in the past. 2016 tour dates were announced in March, alongside what is thought to be the album’s cover art.

Music manager Brian Message let the month slip during an onstage interview at a closed industry event in London last month. Courtyard Management, of which Message is a partner, distanced itself from the big reveal with an official statement playing down Message’s role in the band’s management team, which is led by Chris Hufford and Bryce Edge.

In the dawn of streaming exclusives, the release strategy for Radiohead's new music is one to keep a keen eye on. Frontman Thom Yorke has heavily criticized Spotify in the past—famously calling the platform "the last desperate fart of a dying corpse" in 2013. Radiohead’s eighth album, 2011’s The King of Limbs (XL), was available on MP3 or physical copy only. Its predecessor, 2007's In Rainbows (XL) —the band's first release after the end of their contract with the now defunct EMI—was available to fans in MP3 and physical, and employed a pay-what-you-want strategy. It was a pioneering move at the time, and hit #1 in both the U.K. and U.S.  

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