Is there a band working today that owns the online space like Radiohead?

In my opinion, no. But this isn't a new journey for the band I consider to be the best working today. The band has been on the forefront of digital promotion and distribution of it's music for the better part of two decades.

Radiohead's list of digital experimentation has essentially become a blueprint for releases from other artists such as Beyonce and Drake. What Radiohead pioneered has now become standard operating procedure in what's left of the music business. Even the pay-what-you-want format that accompanied 2007's stellar In Rainbows album was a brash experiment that proved bands could control their music and accompanying promotion without the assistance of a label AND make money at it. 

This week, the band proved that it continues to own the digital space as news slowly trickled out that Radiohead's new album would drop on May 8. 

Fan speculation had been high that the secretive band was in the process of recording a new album for quite some time. Cryptic online messages and photos hinted as much even without any confirmations or new snippets of music.

Suddenly, excitement hit fever pitch when the band began wiping their own digital footprint away. Not in a sudden, we're gone kind of way, either. In a way that showed the band's website slowly fading away to nothing. All social media posts were gone in the same manner, leaving only a blank slate.

On May 3 - after mysterious images began showing up on Radiohead's official online channels - the single “Burn the Witch” with its accompanying video hit the web. Still, there was no official announcement of any kind, kindling further speculation on what was following and when.

On May 6, the band released yet another single and video for “Daydreaming” with the short announcement that the band's new album would be hitting — you guessed it — digital outlets in a mere two days with a physical release coming in June.

From a marketing perspective there are a lot of lessons to learn from Radiohead. Rather than treating online marketing as a side note, the band has embraced it fully and incorporated it into an overall scheme to raise awareness for its products. Granted, as marketing professionals, we're not all lucky enough to work for brands that can experiment as wildly as Radiohead does. 

However, we can all take away pieces and parts from the band's efforts to facilitate the development of a seamless marketing plan for our clients.

FURTHER READING
The New Yorker

Forbes