Radiohead deal with ATO confirmed
Although it has been widely expected for weeks, an official from Dave Matthews-Coran Capshaw-owned ATO Records confirmed to Billboard this morning that the English rock band signed a deal with TBD Records, a subsidiary of ATO (yes, ATO has a subsidiary), to release the band's newest album, In Rainbows, on Wednesday, January 2.
The U.K. rock group is by far the biggest fish in the short history of ATO, whose current lineup boasts the likes of David Gray, My Morning Jacket, Gov't Mule, and Ben Kweller.
Why has Radiohead decided to opt for the little ol' indie label instead of a bigger record company like its previous label, EMI? Perhaps because ATO is no longer the little ol' indie label Charlottesvillians remember. In addition to its Downtown Mall office, the company's main office is now on Wall Street in New York.
Moreover, the label has a distribution deal with Dave Matthews Band's label, RCA, and has some big industry names steering the ship, former Columbia Records chair Will Botwin as well as former Capitol Records senior VP of promotion and marketing, Phil Costello, whose presence reportedly helped sway the Oxfordites' decision.
ATO will be navigating uncharted territory for the record industry. Radiohead made In Rainbows available through its own website on October 10 and asked fans to pay whatever they believed was a fair price (including $0) for the album. According to comScore.com, a website that measures digital commerce, only two out of five fans actually forked over any money, making for an average payout of $2.26 per download. While that's a pittance compared to what fans have had to pay for a Radiohead CD in a record store, it's still a huge payday for the band, which has reaped an estimated $2.7 million from the 1.2 million downloads.
Calls to various ATO officials were not immediately returned at the time of this post.