Radiohead In Rainbow Changing the Music Industry But With Poor Online Execution

I love seeing people using the Internet to change entire industries. Radiohead is geared up to do so by releasing their latest album, In Rainbow, as a download for as little or as much as the fan wants to pay. They are taking a gamble that people won’t download it for free, or they figure those people will find a way to get it for free anyway.

I love the idea and hope the best for Radiohead as this will make a big impact in the music industry, but was a little disappointed after I visited the site. From a search engine and usability standpoint, Radiohead made some major mistakes that might come back to haunt them. Let me list out some of the mistakes and explain the possible implications.

Radiohead In Rainbow Site mistakes:

  • 302 redirected their existing site homepage ( to new site:, but…
  • 302 redirects to
  • The more logical site domain, (no “s”, which matches the album title) wasn’t registered, purchased or used. Instead a domain parker will receive lots of traffic.
  • Title tag for In Rainbow site mainpage is “Radiohead”
  • Site mainpage only has images with no search engine readable text
  • 2nd page only has images no search engine readable text and same title tag
  • 3rd page only has images no search engine readable text and same title tag
  • Home links go to the 3rd page
  • Shopping cart very awkward & buggy (keeps losing track of my order)
  • Grammar mistakes confusing
  • Amounts only shown in British Pounds
  • Question mark help icon doesn’t provide any help or explanation
  • There is actually a 1 GBP minimum, that’s $2.04 more than free
  • There is actually a 99 GBP limit. Want to be an extreme fan and buy it for $1,000? Too bad.

Radiohead In Rainbow Site Mistake Implications:

  • With the 302 mistakes, not only are they begging for a search spammer to hijack their site traffic, but they are linking to a page that they will probably change URLs over time.
  • With all the search engine & readability mistakes, they will essentially allow standard retailers and online stores to steal away their direct payment opportunities by allowing them to rank higher for their own album and even site.
  • The usability issues will also turn people back to iTunes or other dealers.
  • Their main site may suffer rank decreases and traffic losses for a long time.
  • The download for free concept won’t be given an honest shot, which may deter other artists like Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam, REM, Metallica and other likely candidates from trying a similar experiment.
  • Regardless of the mistakes I list, this will be an effort worth watching for those in the music industry, movie industry or any other industry where self-distribution online could be a big opportunity.

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