New online delivery variations from NIN and Coldplay

Following PSN-e's coverage late last year of efforts by Radiohead and The Charlatans to circumvent traditional methods of music delivery (read here), Nine Inch Nails and Coldplay have become the latest major name acts to unveil new material online with little or no advance warning, writes David Davies.
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Following PSN-e's coverage late last year of efforts by Radiohead and The Charlatans to circumvent traditional methods of music delivery (read here), Nine Inch Nails and Coldplay have become the latest major name acts to unveil new material online with little or no advance warning, writes David Davies.

The final days of April saw Coldplay offer Violet Hill - the first single from the band's forthcoming album, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends - as a free download from its website. More than two million people were reported to have taken up the offer during the one-week download period. The band, which has worked with Brian Eno on its latest material, has since offered another, non-album track as a free download.

Nine Inch Nails has gone one stage further by providing a free download of its entire new album, The Slip. The ten-track set has been made available in several formats, including MP3 and FLAC, with a conventional CD/vinyl release set to follow in July. The band has also made the album's multi-tracks available for reconstruction from the NIN fan remix site,

Elsewhere, the trend towards the distribution of new studio albums and compilations as giveaways with Sunday newspapers is also continuing, with Paul McCartney set to follow in the footsteps of Prince and Ray Davies by gifting his latest studio album, Memory Almost Full, with copies of the UK Mail on Sunday on May 18th. The development emerges in the wake of reports that day-to-day management of the label on which the album was originally released last year, Starbucks' imprint Hear Music - to which McCartney defected after more than 40 years with EMI - is to be handed over to partner organisation the Concord Music Group.

Intriguingly, the act widely credited with having kickstarted the latest phase of the online music revolution - Radiohead - has made it clear that it will not be repeating the 'name your own price' exercise that accompanied the launch of In Rainbows last autumn. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, band member Thom Yorke described the honesty box concept as a "one-off response to a particular situation".

While no specific figures regarding the income accrued from the initial online distribution of In Rainbows have emerged, the subsequent physical release of the album in late December yielded strong sales and number one chart placings on both sides of the Atlantic - despite suggestions by some commentators that the online experiment would inhibit the album's long-term commercial potential.

Meanwhile, there are suggestions that some major music labels could soon allow free legal downloads after ad-funded file-sharing service Qtrax confirmed an agreement with the world's largest record company, Universal, earlier this month. The announcement follows a deal by Peter Gabriel-backed online music service We7 in March to stream Sony BMG's catalogue of more than 250,000 tracks.



Conventional recording sector reeling from fresh body-blows

WORLD: Radiohead and The Charlatans have become the latest artists to circumvent traditional methods of music delivery by announcing the online launch of respective new albums. In Rainbows – Radiohead's first album for four years – is presently available only through a dedicated site that invites prospective listeners to pay the fee of their choice, while The Charlatans' as-yet untitled long-player is to be issued for free via the website of commercial radio network Xfm early next year, writes David Davies.

New content for online music archive

US: Music site Wolfgang's Vault has been boosted by 300 new concerts, writes David Davies. The latest content to be added enhances an already substantial collection of live recordings and vintage memorabilia that has its origins in the personal archive of late concert promoter Bill Graham, a legendary figure on the US live music scene who was perhaps most closely identified with the Fillmore East and West venues. The site is named after Graham's given name of Wolfgang Grajonca.

New online tutorial service debuts

UK: Sonic Academy Online is the name of a new web-based music production video tutorial resource from Music Production and DJ Academy Sonic Academy. Providing video-based training from _3.49 per tutorial, the new service - which went live last week - is targeted at those involved or interested in DJ-ing and music production at all levels, writes David Davies.

New web resource from MPG

UK: The Music Producers Guild (MPG) has launched a new website, writes David Davies. Designed to make it easier for artists, artist managers and record company A&R personnel to identify the right producer or engineer for a given project, the site includes a versatile search facility, an audio player for showcasing work, and a blog section (dubbed 'The Vocal Booth') that enables members to air their concerns about pressing technical, business or industry issues.

Protape seeks a 'greener future' with new electrically-powered van

UK: Following PSN-e 57's coverage of ecologically-minded new measures by software company McDSP (read more), this week brings news that Soho-based professional media supplier Protape has been working on ways to make its business more environmentally sound. The first fruit of the Sony and Avastor authorised distributor's new approach is a _11,000 electrically-powered vehicle for deliveries in Inner London, reports PSN-e.

Acoustical analysis from Auralex

US: Auralex Acoustics is offering free acoustical analysis to customers dealing with larger spaces, writes David Davies. Following the model of its earlier Personalized Room Analysis Form, the Large Room Analysis Form enables customers to supply project data and receive information covering product recommendations and placement for venues such as churches and gymnasiums. unveils a "global soundstage" for new musicians

UK: A new music community website offering a free platform for emerging, unsigned artists to promote their material locally, nationally and internationally made its debut recently. Supporting genres from R&B to classical, - registration for which is free - aims to position performers, fans, venues and record companies on the same level playing field, writes David Davies.

TL Audio to host master class at new Digital Village store

UK: Music producer Curtis Lynch Jnr - whose credits include work with Gorillaz, Alicia Keys and Shola Ama - has been lined up to appear at special masterclass organised by TL Audio to mark the unveiling of the new Digital Village Clapham Store in Central London. The event - taking place this Thursday (November 15th) - will also provide a showcase for TL Audio's recently unveiled Fat Track Tube Production Suite (pictured), billed as "a complete solution for tracking, summing and monitoring," writes David Davies.