Interview: Chris Hufford, Radiohead manager

Music Week 2/21/11

Radiohead co-manager Chris Hufford talked exclusively to Music Week about the plot surrounding the band’s new album The King Of Limbs, which was released digitally.

What was behind your move to make the Radiohead album available at such short notice and in three stages, starting with a digital-only release?

It’s great to create excitement. Music is supposed to be exciting and not just a business. It is a business, obviously, but surely there is more to it than it feeling manufactured. It is great feeling the excitement from people and that is what it should be all about. We are trying to keep it fun, keep it interesting, keep it different and keep everybody guessing.

Essentially [the release plan] is just a logical progression from what we did on In Rainbows; learning from the good things that happened and the things that didn’t happen quite as well as we hoped.

In terms of what didn’t work so well, is that why you haven’t provided a “pay what you think it is worth” mechanism this time?

We just felt that the culture has changed, everything is so much more web-based, it is just looking at where everything is at the moment and trying to make some rational decisions that will work for the band and for the release at this moment in time.

Was the move to make the album available at such short notice a move to minimise piracy?

One of the best things that happened with In Rainbows is that everyone heard it at the same time – the gatekeepers didn’t have preferential treatment. You can only do that by keeping it very quiet and keeping a tight little ship while trying not to allow piracy. But that will happen, that is a fact of life.

The initial download will only cost £6 [for an MP3]. That’s a competitive price tag.

It felt like the right price for our fanbase and that’s the most important thing; they are the people who we want to look after.

The album will be released in three stages including a multi-format “newspaper” version priced around £30. Why is it described as a newspaper album?

That is because all the artwork has been done in the style of a newspaper.

And you have partnered with XL again. Is that an album-by-album deal or ongoing relationship?

It is a cracking little label. But everything we do is album by album.

Retailers will not get the XL-released physical format until March 28. Are you not concerned that retail will not want to support it?

Our allegiances are to the band. We manage Radiohead, we don’t manage retail or labels, we just manage the band and are just trying to do the best possible thing to allow another brilliant record to be embraced by the fanbase.

One hopes that retail will sell it. Ultimately most of these decisions are just economic – they are businesses. Does retail care about one particular band? They just care about how many units they are going to shift, that’s the main thing. They are corporations and have to make their quarterly numbers.

But how about the diminishing number of independent outlets that are not corporations and have supported Radiohead releases for many years?

Obviously one tries to do one’s best for them along the way.

So will you be doing anything for Record Store Day?

We may be.

What can people expect from the album musically?

All I can say is it is fucking brilliant and they have outstanded me again. But the music will do the talking. Hopefully people will see what I see in it and love it.

Where was it recorded?

Essentially in their own studio, but it has been fragmented around all the other activities the band members have been doing.

Are there any live plans?

There’s nothing on the horizon

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4 Responses to “Interview: Chris Hufford, Radiohead manager”

  1. Tweets that mention Interview: Chris Hufford, Radiohead manager « LIVE@LEEDS -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by dRHop, Georgesss. Georgesss said: как я понял в конце сказано что Radiohead не собираются давать концертов в ближайшем будущем. http://goo.gl/mHbG5 […]

  2. qwerrie Says:

    ага, именно так: “There’s nothing on the horizon”. а еще не собираются давать интервью: “the music will do the talking. ” и еще: “the album is fucking brilliant”. ну еще бы. он же продавец. It is a business, obviously

  3. syrasable Says:

    agreed, with qwerrie.

    (aka fixmeup, Radiohead Hub)

  4. Entrevista Chris Hufford sobre “The King Of Limbs” – The Daily Mail: Noticias por Radiohead Perú Says:

    […] hace alrededor de una semana. La entrevista no está disponible libremente pero fue copiada a este blog, del cual procedemos a […]

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