Nicky Wire is angry. Angry, angry, angry, with Thom Yorke, who is conspiring to kill music:
"Music used to be a market, now it's all gone digital. It's worrying and it seems to be the way of the world at the moment. Sales are doing well everywhere else. Cinema is doing well, video games are doing well but music isn’t. The free download phenomenon is ruining the industry."
It's interesting that Wire thinks sales in music are doing poorly compared to films and video games because of "free downloads", rather than the other possibility that perhaps people are happier to pay for video games than music. That maybe - given the choice between having the family round the telly flying off to Saturn with Mario Galaxies on the WII, and the Manics last bloated album, packed with Davroesque impressions of their younger selves, the music will always struggle.
We never had Wire pegged as a company man, but the band have been with Sony a very long time, and clearly he's comfortable with the industry. That's the only explanation for the RIAA-tinged view of In Rainbows as being part of the problem rather than an interesting attempt to find a solution. It's obvious that - in years to come - historians of music aren't going to see an experimental pay-what-you-like download in 2007 as the point where the music industry imploded; that happened years ago.
And since when was "music a market", Wire? Do you really think that in the 70s and 80s there was something organic about pop music, that we would nip down to Woolworths, choose from thousands of albums and haggle a price? If anything, the old pre-digital world was more like a petrol station shop than a market; a limited range of mostly inedible sludge offered at artificially high prices. The digital world allows the people who make the music to deal more-or-less direct with the people who consume it - it's potentially a farmer's market of the music world. It may be a world where large consumer electronic companies cease to subsidise old bands to make disappointing albums simply to ensure the band keeps the lucrative back catalogue with the label, but why would that worry you, Nicky?
Hang about though: actually, it's not Radiohead who are killing music. It's TV:
Up to a point, you'd have to agree with him. But he's also moaning that nobody buys records - and yet they're buying Leona Lewis in shedloads. Isn't that what he wants? If he fetishises markets so much these days, doesn't the market speak and say 'we sort of like this stuff, and will at least buy it in fairly large quantities...'?