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Yorke cutting out the middle man

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has released a surprise new album, bypassing record labels and download stores to sell it directly to fans.

He announced the immediate release of the eight-track album Tomorrow's Modern Boxes with a message online explaining he was to sell it using the BitTorrent distribution network.

The album is being sold for £3.68, less than half the £7.99 cost of many new albums in online stores such as iTunes.

Yorke has previously pioneered innovative sales techniques, famously releasing the Radiohead In Rainbows album with a "pay what you want" approach which led to many people obtaining the album for next to nothing.

He has been a critic of the online streaming service Spotify because of the financial returns for artists.

In a statement Yorke and his producer Nigel Godrich said using BitTorrent - which for many years was seen as a way of obtaining pirated music and films - was "an experiment".

"If it works well it could be an effective way of handing some control of internet commerce back to people who are creating the work. Enabling those people who make either music, video or any other kind of digital content to sell it themselves. Bypassing the self elected gate-keepers," they said.

The release - Yorke's first solo album since 2006 - comes a fortnight after U2 gave away their new album Songs Of Innocence to around 500 million iTunes customers around the world.

Yorke is also using a more traditional method of selling the album with a vinyl copy with fancy packaging, which also comes with a digital copy of the album, for £30.

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