Ooooo sneaky, sneaky Radiohead. Not last week but the week before, we brought you the news that the forward thinking Oxfordshire band had released their latest single, “Nude”, for you to download and remix.
And that’s exactly what they did, splitting the track into its five component stems for people to play with, but here’s where it gets a little sticky. Because each stem was a separate download from iTunes, it meant that each one counted towards Nude’s chart position as well as the sales of the complete single itself. So, in a way, Nude has appeared to be five times more popular than it actually has been and as a result has charted in the Billboard Hot 100 as a “hotshot” at No.37, around 60 places higher than it should have. Naughty.
According to Billboard though, that’s just the way their long-standing, tried and tested remix policy goes. Allow Hot 100 director Silvio Pietroluongo to explain:
“For the purpose of our airplay, Hot 100 and Hot Digital Songs charts, Billboard merges remixes with the original version as long as the music and/or lyrics of the remix remain true to the original.”
That seems a little odd to me. As far as I’m concerned, a remix is a different song. Why bother making it if it’s so similar as to be considered the same and what if the remix is by a different artist, what then? Should we expect all the Nude remixes, as released by amateur music producers, to boost Radiohead’s chart position? Small wonder the band plan to offer the winning entries up for sale in the iTunes store.
You may accuse me of being cynical – go on, you can it’s ok, I’ve got broad shoulders – but if this wasn’t part of the Radiohead plan in the first place, then why didn’t they just release all the stems in one download bundle? Firstly, no one giving the competition a serious shot is going to bother with just one or two stems and secondly, they’d have made more money charging US$4.95 for the bundle of five anyway.
I’m not really sure how premeditated this has all been but, between Radiohead and Billboard, something’s not right here and I really don’t like the smell of it.