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Black Sky Thinking

F.O. Computer, By Ian Rankin: Why Radiohead Are Radiodead To Me
Ian Rankin , June 8th, 2011 06:01

Music lover and bestselling author Ian Rankin seems to be just one of many Radiohead fans who have yet to receive their deluxe edition of King Of Limbs. Here he explains why a Kafkaesque palava has left him disillusioned with the band.

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This is the story of two global corporations, one of which happens to be a rock band.

Back in February Radiohead seemed to catch the music industry - and their own fans - by surprise. They announced the imminent online release of their latest album The King of Limbs. I rushed to the band’s website and was offered various purchase choices, including a deluxe vinyl edition. Being a vinyl junkie, I opted for this, paying thirty pounds for the privilege - I’d done the same thing when their previous album In Rainbows was released. Very soon afterwards, the download became available and reviews began to be published. A few weeks later, a CD version appeared in the shops. Thom Yorke came out to play, dispensing copies of a promotional newspaper on the streets of London: all providing great PR for the band. Meantime, those of us waiting for our orders received an e-mail letting us know that the special edition of King Of Limbs would be shipped to us on or around April 28th. Good news. But by mid-May, I began to feel that something was amiss. Vinyl copies were in the shops, and secondhand copies of the deluxe edition were on sale on eBay. I knew from the online community that packages had been dropping into letterboxes around the world, but where was mine?

I went to the King of Limbs website to check. There were several options I could click, one being non-delivery. The automated response was that the item had shipped and must be lost in the post. Another copy would be sent. Two more weeks passed. I went back to the website, but there was no way to do anything other than click on that same box - no e-mail address; no phone line; no possibility of human contact. And when I clicked on the box to say my album hadn’t arrived, the only response from the machine was: ‘matter pending’. Pending what?

I began to use Twitter to ask if anyone else had experienced problems. Some people had received their copies on time. Others were still waiting. Some had experienced delivery problems but had prevailed. I still felt lost. There was just me, the non-delivery, and an automated website that was proving useless. I tried both the Radiohead and King of Limbs Twitter pages, leaving messages, but no-one got back to me. Frustrated, I joined the official Radiohead online ‘fan club’, meaning I could send an actual e-mail to someone voicing my complaint. Again, silence was all.

Fortunately, I know a few people in the music world. I asked The Quietus if they could shed any light. They managed to talk to an Actual Human Being somewhere in the Radiohead Corporate Universe. The album had been delivered, I was told. The courier had tried on April 28th, but with no success. They’d tried again on May 9th and someone had signed for the package.

Curiouser and curiouser. April 28th happens to be my birthday. I knew I’d been at home that day, mainly because my youngest son is disabled and had been off school. Someone was with him throughout the day and evening - me or his mum or his carer. I live in a detached house rather than a block of flats. Odd that we hadn’t heard or seen anyone trying to make a delivery. Odd that they hadn’t left a card. Odd also that they had then waited eleven days before trying again, when in my experience a reputable delivery company will wait no longer than forty-eight hours.

May 9th, as it happens, was another day I was stuck at home. I was feeling a bit under the weather, so was on the sofa, listening to music and reading. The package was signed for at 3.05pm. Well, not by me it wasn’t. Was this why I hadn’t been sent a replacement copy? As far as anyone at Radiohead International Holdings was concerned, I’d had my King of Limbs and was chancing it in the hope of securing a freebie, maybe to resell on eBay.

One of my contacts on Twitter told me DHL had been charged with delivering the albums. But the tracking number I had from the Radiohead website did not match any DHL tracking number. I found this out when I tried calling DHL. DHL are the other global player in this story. DHL are owned by Deutsche Post, and DHL themselves do not handle UK-to-UK deliveries, instead using third party firms. All of this I would eventually learn. The number in my phone directory for DHL was out of date. The new number referred only to international services. The third number met with a measure of success. By this time I had asked my contact at The Quietus to ask his contact at Radiohead Global Megabeast Inc if they could send me the actual DHL tracking number. This was what I brandished when I spoke to the human being at DHL. ‘You need to speak to Yodel,’ I was told. ‘Yodel?’ ‘Yodel is the company we subcontract to.’ Cleverly, Yodel is short for Your Delivery. So I called another number, went through an almost-identical list of ‘press button now’ options as before, and found myself chatting to another human being. He was very pleasant but said there was nothing he could do. The package had been delivered and signed for. ‘Do you have a name?’ I asked, ‘of the person who signed for it?’ The answer came eventually: the mysterious Mr, Mrs or Ms Macrury.
Macrury.
Macrury.
MacRury maybe?

No Macrurys or MacRurys in this house. No Macrurys or MacRurys in this street. When I sought Macrury, Macrury wasn’t there. But at 3.05pm on May 9th, he or she had signed for my package and taken delivery of The King of Limbs. That was the story. ‘What can I do?’ I asked the nice man from Yodel or YoDel. ‘You need to contact the supplier and get them to initiate a search.’
‘I can’t. It’s just an automated system on a website.’
‘No e-mail or phone number?’
‘No.’
‘No postal address?’
‘No.’
‘Well, you need to contact them.’
‘That’s not proving possible. You seem to be almost the only human out there. Is there really nothing else you can do?’ He thought for a moment. Maybe he had decided to put aside his copy of Kafka for the day. ‘Give me your post code,’ he offered. ‘I’ll see who the local delivery courier would have been.’ Not DHL then. And not Yodel or YoDel, but someone else entirely.
‘All I have is a mobile number,’ he eventually told me.
‘I’ll take it.’
And I did, dear reader. I thanked the kindly soul and punched in that number. And listened to it ring.
And ring.
And ring... without answer.
So as things stand, I’m a little further forward but not much. I may keep trying that number, or I might just sell the idea to Paul Auster for a novel. Another King of Limbs buyer (also resident in Edinburgh) tells me he encountered the self-same problem. Eventually he did get to speak to someone and his parcel - the one he had apparently signed for a few days before - suddenly turned up. Others are still waiting, unable to make any headway with the intransigent King of Limbs website. At least one, a respected music critic, is in the process of asking for a refund, while many are venting their frustration online.

Annoying, because Radiohead aren’t supposed to be like this. They are the band who chart feelings of alienation, but this is surely taking things a stage too far. We lovers of modern music don’t like to think of ourselves as mere consumers. When we buy washing-powder we don’t pore over the packaging, and discuss with each other the merits of this latest box and its contents, but we do with our Radiohead albums - we scrutinise the artwork, we listen with dedication to every track, we embark on debates (online; in each others’ homes; on the phone) about certain tracks, themes, lyrics. We are not consumers; we are fans - music fans. And when we are treated with indifference, it can start to hurt, and to colour our perception of a band, a brand, an album, an industry.

Radiohead have tried to subvert the traditional system, to set themselves up as a cottage industry paid for by the fans and in tune with those fans. However, at a point in history when it has never seemed so important for b(r)ands to stay on friendly terms with their fanbase (noticed how many of them will stay behind after gigs to sign stuff you’ve brought, or who’re happy to sell signed merch from their websites?) Radiohead have turned the other way, courtesy of their own website’s uncomprehending and faceless blankness.

A remix version of The King of Limbs will be appearing soon. Trust me, I’ll be last in the queue. Radiohead are Radiodead to me now, while the search for Macrury continues.

Oh, and guess what? Having told The Quietus (and my Twitter allies) that I would be writing about this whole episode today, I’ve just received an e-mail. It tells me a copy of The King of Limbs will be with me tomorrow.

Thanks, Radiohead. Feel free to close the stable door. And go fetch a lasso while you’re at it.

The Quietus would like to hear from anyone who has yet to receive their deluxe edition King Of Limbs We will pass on your details to the relevant parties, and perhaps, like Ian, you will be lucky enough to enjoy a swift change of fortune

Coke Baby
Jun 8, 2011 10:25am

Actually, Ian only touches on the thing that really rankled me the most. Having coughed up a large amount of money for the deluxe set, it can't have been more than a couple of weeks before XL's standard CD hit the streets, a fact that was completely unannounced when we were initially invited to order the album. I don't need a smelly newspaper, I don't need it on CD and 10", and I don't need the tiny pieces of artwork which I will never look at again. I just wanted a physical copy and I didn't want to wait. Instead I waited 3 and a half months, paid way more, and felt shafted by the band in the process. I still love the music, but I am considerably less enamoured with the band, who this time come across as disorganised, arrogant and greedy. This time round they've proven themselves as revolutionary as Citizen Smith. "Freedom for Tooting" indeed...

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Melatonin
Jun 8, 2011 10:38am

I think Radiohead Inc may have overstretched themselves trying to organise such a massive distribution operation.
They should of put it on Amazon and been done with it rather than messing around with other peoples/fans money and time.

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John
Jun 8, 2011 10:54am

still waiting......

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Wes
Jun 8, 2011 10:59am

Clearly something has gone wrong with the distribution here and the band appear to have overreached themselves. But this is a bit of an overreaction, no? I’ve heard of a few fans who didn’t receive their newspaper albums. They contacted W.A.S.T.E. and got a replacement immediately. Mine came on time (early, in fact).

Obviously something extra-weird has happened in this case but honestly, if this wasn’t written by Famous Authot Ian Rankin, would The Quietus *really* dedicate an entire blog to a distribution hiccup?

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Luke Turner
Jun 8, 2011 11:03am

In reply to Wes:

Yes we would, it's shoddy treatment of fans (and a lot of fans, not just famous writer fans). Obviously Ian writing it means that more people will read the piece, and hopefully this will mean that the other (and there are a lot of them) disappointed Radiohead fans will get their records, and the same situation won't arise in the future. We're hoping to get word from Radiohead's management and press people later today or tomorrow on what's going to be done to sort it out.

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Aly Barr
Jun 8, 2011 11:04am

It's a real shame this has happened; I've been a fan of Radiohead for years and I get the impression that two things have happened:
1. They became massive under the EMI umbrella, read Naomi Klein and didn't renew their contract, choosing instead to plough their own furrow. This was a potentially risky (and interesting) thing to do, but I get the feeling that their back office-which obviously doesn't have the corporate EMI machine behind it any more-is creaking.
2. The lack of contact started out as stylistic thing. The artwork, t-shirts, posters etc from OK Computer onwards seemed to reflect the band's disillusionment with modern life-the image of tiny pencil drawn figures against huge corporate landscapes is re-current image. The various incarnations of the website started out with this style; a kind of anti-website mentality, that still remains to this day. Unfortunately, what was a stylistic/artistic direction now looks increasingly like the thing it set out to parody i.e. there's no way in for anyone who needs to talk to someone.

To be fair to WASTE (the sales arm of Radiohead) I've had the odd problem myself in the past and they've been really helpful, but it's a tough gig being a Radiohead fan these days. You have to be so on the ball with things like tickets etc; it's really quite stressful.

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Huw
Jun 8, 2011 11:13am

Ahhh so it's not just me. Similar story......

Never got my copy, had to wait until a specific date before it could be reported lost (that's all cool and fair enough)....The date arrived and then the fun started...

They agreed "had been lost in the Post" on their system and said new copy would be sent. I gave them a week and then the site said something about "order modification" I decided I'd had enough and sent an email and requested a refund.

Then for the first time a human being responded with an email saying they would be shipping replacement copies the following week or did i still want a refund? I said yes to a refund.

That was two weeks ago. I've sent over 7 emails since asking "where my refund is", "why is nobody responding to emails?" etc etc and still not a single response to any email in over 14 days!

I can accept the lost in the post, the delays in a refund, what i can't accept is the complete disregard Radiohead have shown their customers.

They can refund me in full and also send me the newspaper too and I'll happily go and sell the album on Ebay as a Charity Auction with 100% Donated to Marie Curie.

Huw

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Huw
Jun 8, 2011 11:17am

In reply to Huw :

Ohhhh and should add big thanks to The Quietus for making this public. Radiohead are happy to use the PR Machine when it suits, so thanks to The Quietus for letting Radiohead Customers get some much need use of the PR machine.

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Chris
Jun 8, 2011 11:17am

DHL are, like many companies, comprised of many smaller companies the head company has purchased over the years. At the place where I work, we regularly have 3 or 4 different DHL drivers turn up to give us deliveries on the same day, often, right after one another. For a firm meant to be into logistics, this seems strange to me. And, as Mr Rankin has found out, when you try to contact the correct department in DHL, you are entered into an elaborate maze. When I've needed to try and speak to someone, it's been made extremely difficult.

I also suffered a similar thing from Royal Mail. A package I was waiting for from Ebay never arrived. When I chased it up with Royal Mail the delivery (recorded) had been signed for, but the signature did not match ANYONE's in the block of flats (6) where I lived. What good is a signed for service if ANYONE can sign for it??

I wonder where both Mr Rankin's and my original parcel went...I wonder if there is a criminal mastermind sitting on a pile of other people's parcels...

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Lala
Jun 8, 2011 11:25am

It took a long time for some people to get the In Rainbows edition as well. I thought my TKOL edition was missed and contacted WASTE and they sent a replacement. Sorry that some didn't get it yet but a LOT of fans all around the world (I am not in UK or US) already got theirs. Shit happens.

And to Coke Baby, it was aways clear that the album would get a physical release - aside the deluxe set - what are you talking about? It was on the site, with date an all. No one forced you to buy a better (and amazing) edition.

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professor_balthazar
Jun 8, 2011 11:39am

I'm waiting on some shoes to arrive, it's been ages, do you think I can use my links with The Quietus to air this publicly and perhaps expedite their delivery?

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Donna Friday
Jun 8, 2011 11:42am

Ian, don't worry, it's a shite record anyway.

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Coke Baby
Jun 8, 2011 11:45am

In reply to Lala:

Was it really clear? I got the news from The Quietus, which made no mention of it.(http://thequietus.com/articles/05687-radiohead-king-of-limbs)
I ordered it from their website's order page, which still makes no mention of it. (http://www.thekingoflimbs.com/DIGBP.htm)
I obviously expected it to get a standard release eventually because, despite the loud cheers for their revolutionary distribution method, they still made In Rainbows available through a normal record label (XL), rather reducing the revolutionary nature of their actions. I had, however, expected them to favour the fans who care most about them, the ones who are prepared to splurge £30 on 8 tracks, by letting us get the music fast. And don't point out that we got it first, as we got the downloads. The whole reason people like me order physical copies of records is because we don't care for downloads. I was exercising my loyalty for the band. I don't feel like they exercised a great deal of loyalty toward me. I'll continue to watch every move they make in the future, and no doubt love their music as much as I always have. But I may not trust them so much now...

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Lala
Jun 8, 2011 12:24pm

In reply to Coke Baby:

It was announced very briefly after the downloads started that a physical edition would be for sale, with dates and all. And, BTW, it was said on the moment of the presale (in february) that the deluxe package would be shipped in may and june (it IS on the website for God's sake!). People who got it knew they would have the download but would have to wait months for the newspaper album to arrive, so I don't see any misinformation about that bit.

Yes, it sucks for some people that they had problems with the delivery company, but anyone who buys online can experience the same problem ( I still wait for some books I bought from AMAZON some weeks ago and still nothing). Like I said, shit happens and can happen with anyone, fans or non-fans, and if the problems with delivery comes from DHL, so the band's management should be very careful to choose the same company to provide the delivery the next time, or manage some alternative way to get their products to arrive safely and on time for ALL their customers.

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Rob Strong
Jun 8, 2011 12:37pm

I can't stand Radiohead, but there is another interesting layer to all this.

Ian noted that DHL is owned by Deutsche Post. I sent a parcel using Royal Mail's 'International Signed For' service to a friend in Germany in late March. Deutsche Post have lost that too (we know it reached Frankfurt airport and then disappeared), and have proved utterly useless when we've attempted to contact them.

My friend did a quick web search and has found a huge volume of complaints about the service being offered by Deutsche Post and their seemingly limitless ability to lose items of mail.
So maybe there's a systemic problem in their delivery services both in Germany and in the UK (and therefore elsewhere too?)

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Coke Baby
Jun 8, 2011 12:37pm

In reply to Lala:

As you say, Lala, "It was announced very briefly after the downloads started that a physical edition would be for sale".
1) clearly it was announced so "briefly" that I missed it. I don't normally spend hours looking for information that I've been ripped off until I discover that it's already happened, especially not when I trust someone. And that's how I feel: my trust has been betrayed.
2) it was announced "after the downloads started". Yep. AFTER THE DOWNLOADS STARTED.
Thanks, Radiohead. Masters of communication you are not.
It's no wonder you're laughing your arses off in the photo above, though.

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Steve Skelton
Jun 8, 2011 1:04pm

I had a similar problem with an Amazon delivery. My parcel of Christmas gifts had allegedly been delivered and signed for by an unknown person. As it was from Amazon it was a bit easier to track downthe details but the end situation was the same. It turns out my parcel had been delivered to 39 X Street instead of 39 Y street. 39 X street was a business address who signed for it with a bundle of items. A couple of days later they passed it on to me. I fear your original copy was deliveredto someone less honest.

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Lala
Jun 8, 2011 1:11pm

In reply to Coke Baby:

You know, I can understand why people get pissed with all the trouble to get an item, I had problems but luckily I contacted WASTE and got the package on a fair time (I live in South America, it wasn't DHL who delivered it to me here, so maybe that is the answer), so I get the anger of the author of the article (although to say that is "Radiohead's" fault is a bit too much), but I don't get your anger as you bought something from their website and on the presale notes everything was very well explained. If you didn't like the newspaper album it is easy, get it to E-bay and you will sell it and stay only with the CDs! To me the newspaper album has an immense artistic value and I knew it would take time to get here and I was fine with it. The In Rainbows deluxe package took a long time to arrive as well, I had the digital archives to enjoy the music, so the deluxe edition had sentimental value, as well as being a collectible item. So, for real, to be bitter for not having the item is understandable, but being bitter for having it, when you even have the option to sell it? Get a grip.

damned if you do damned if you don't eh?

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Unhappy Camper
Jun 8, 2011 1:22pm

A very similar thing happened to me last year: after securing a ticket for Green May, I decided to treat myself to a new tent. I was up against the calender with the festival mere days away, so I took advantage of Millets.com's next day delivery service. But yep, you guessed it, it wasn't delivered the next day, was it?

What followed was a rather time-consuming three-way battle between Millets, DHL and myself with my tent only arriving on the day I was due to depart for Brecon Beacons.

A very frustrating experience, and I was most upset by the customer service of the two firms involved. Would The Quietus like me to write a piece on the matter, detailing the poor servicing of my tent? It is related to music, honest, for I wouldn't have ordered the tent had Green Man not tempted me with its stellar musical line up and beautiful setting.

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Coke Baby
Jun 8, 2011 1:35pm

In reply to Lala:

Show me the place where it was clear that a standard physical release was imminent and I'd be more than willing to stop griping. But it came as a shock to me, and I think it came as a shock to a few others too. Still, as I am willing to concede, that's not what Ian's article is about. I just think it's part of the evidence that a band (or, to be fair, the people that represent them) who have been acclaimed for their ability to communicate with their fans have become a little duplicitous, greedy and - as Ian points out - poor at communication. The music remains great, and I won't abandon the band, especially if you can show how it's an optician I need to visit rather than a comments forum. But I still feel I've been stung, despite your impressive defence of the band so far. And I have no desire to become effectively a scalper by selling the record for profit. I want the band to have the money. They earned it. It's just that their 'Pay What You Want' model seems to have been replaced by a 'Pay What We Tell You To Pay And Oooops Sorry You Didn't Have to Pay That Much After All' model.

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Nick
Jun 8, 2011 1:38pm

"Radiodead", LOL @ that. Received my copy earlier than I had anticipated. It is available to download and you can probably do so illegally if you are so desperate. I guess vinyl dorks are more sensitive though...

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Tom
Jun 8, 2011 2:12pm

I can understand people's frustration with this process, but it seems to me to be three different complaints in one. There's the primary complaint - that the newspaper album hasn't been delivered. The secondary complaint is that Radiohead didn't prewarn people that the CD/LP would be getting a release shortly. Thirdly it seems that people, and this seems to be confined to the comments rather than the article.

With regards for the delivery times, this does seem like a valid complaint, I'm lucky in that my newspaper has been successfully delivered, but I don't feel that it's fair to blame Radiohead for the failure of this. I know that Radiohead (meaning the 5 guys in the band) are surrounded by Managers etc, but it's not that they are sitting in a warehouse putting stickers on boxes and driving the vans. As far as I know they employed Sandbag, a large music company that specialises in the distribution of items of this type to do this. Now I've heard rumours of Sandbags shortcomings in the past, but I don't think that Radiohead are to blame for this. Surely they passed over responsibility to Sandbag? As for being quiet on that front, it could be that they put a help number up, but at the end of the day if someone else is distributing then there's not a lot the guys at WASTE can do. I have seen on blogs that people have got onto some kind of IM help desk and been able to correspond with them. The phrase 'don't shoot the messenger' comes to mind, except of course in this case it's the opposite. If you write a letter to someone, post it, and it doesn't get there is it your fault?

As for the order of releases, well here I feel a little more blame is at the hands of Radiohead, or at least their management. I remember seeing the post on deadairspace and ordering a newspaper no questions asked, but I did that because based on what I knew about Radiohead I felt that this was a worthwhile gamble. When you ordered the newspaper you obviously felt that getting the physical copy in May was a justifiable time, and if you've got the music then I don't see the problem with it coming out in the meantime. I don't like downloads, and wherever possible will buy the CDs, but if the CDs on the way then I'm happy to listen to the mp3s in the meantime; the whole audiophile 'I can hear the difference, mp3s aren't as good as CDs' argument is a big redundant here too since the WAV files were readily available too, albeit for 3 quid more.
I do remember seeing that there would be forthcoming physical releases on the day that King Of Limbs was announced, admittedly it wasn't on the Radiohead website, but word was out.

As for the music, it seems to me that there's no right answer; to me the album is not as good as some of (most of) their others, but that's not to say it's not a good album. I couldn't help but be a disappointed when waiting for it to download knowing that there were only 8 tracks, and I think that the limited number releases such as Supercolider/The Butcher and the coming remixes is a bit frustrating, it seems unfair to deny genuine fans the chance to get hold of these things because of where they live.

All in all I think that the release of The King Of Limbs was quite exciting, I liked the speculation and mystery that went with it, but it's starting to go a bit stale now. I know I'm not the only one who would be interested to read an interview about the recording process/influences etc, and the prospect of remixes are a bit of a damp squid after the initial speculation of an 'Amnesiac' to KOL's 'Kid A'.

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Lala
Jun 8, 2011 2:35pm

In reply to Coke Baby:

Just to clarify, I have nothing against you, I understand people pissed for not getting their newspapers albums on time, although I had no problems in contacting WASTE and, NO, I have no contact with any PR, manager, TheQuietus, journalists or whatever, I am simply a fan, a customer, and had solution for my problem as a lot of other people had without using any "privileged intermediary". As I said before, shit happens, and probably that is what happened with Ian, and someone, maybe not even a fan, has his item now and is well happy with it or already put it on E-Bay.

My grip with your claim is that you say you didn't knew the album would get a physical release. If I am not wrong by february 16, on the same week of the download, there was the announce of the physical release date. And if IR had, why wouldn't the same happen with TKOL? It was clear since moment one that it would happen and you could choose only to buy the digital songs at first, you didn't need to pre-order the deluxe edition at all. After the initial download all the songs were on the web anyway, and that's how things work nowadays, only real fans will actually pay for it, and they do, choosing only the songs or the artistic package (an item that will probably be untouched on their shelves - like mine is right now).

As a fan of the band that "Pay What We Tell You To Pay And Oooops Sorry You Didn't Have to Pay That Much After All' model" bit you said bothers me because they never forced anyone to pay more, if you wanted you could pay just for the download or nothing at all, as the songs were all around the web a few hours after the legal downloads started (and the own fans did that and the band knew that would happen and they know and accept they can do nothing about it). Yes, for IR we could pay nothing for the download, but we paid US$ 80 for the deluxe boxset, and the deluxe TKOL set cost way less (and is better IMO). I am not in any PR team, I am just a fan, I had a problem with the parcel and the problem was solved, and that is why I felt the urge to post here, and I understand how much it sucks when something like that happens, as it happened to Ian and he has the right to complain, but his situation is an exception, and it can happen with any parcel, of any product, much more if we think in big scale sales all around the world, with a company depending of other companies who depend of other smaller companies in an endless loop.

Radiohead's management now have to deal themselves with these problems and, as any young company, will have to find solutions to each of them and improve their methods in the future. But I would never accuse the band in itself for not giving enough attention to their fans and yadda yadda... it is clear something like that is beyond them and in the end an article like that ends up exploring their fragility as a band playing without the intermediary of a label and not reaching the real 'villains' of the story, who should be blamed for not only these 'Radiohead' delivery problems, but for many other problems relating to their responsibilities (or lack of).

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Merie
Jun 8, 2011 2:44pm

In reply to Rob Strong:

DHL has the same problems everywhere (I live in The Netherlands). I ordered an Itunes giftcard for my brother for Xmas (4 days before). Specified a time I would be home, and guess what? DHL made first delivery when I was still at work. I called and they would deliver it the next day at a certain time. My brfd waited and waited, but no delivery. So. I called again. their computer said a second delivery attempt had been made. Really? In the end they admitted there had been no second delivery due to delays caused by the snow. This time I asked them to deliver the card at my work address the next day, but again, no show. So I called once again. They were very sorry, but there were more delays and I should consider the weather circumstances, blah blah... If they'd mailed it to me I would have had the card already! Would they be able to deliver the next day? No, they couldn't give me any guarantees. Could I pick up the card at their depot? No, that wasn't allowed. This is when I told them they could stick the card where the sun doesn't shine and called Apple to cancel my order and bought my brother a different present.
Apple weren't very helpful either. I got a refund (about a month later), but they wouldn't talk to DHL as this was only a 'small value order'.
Talk about the arrogance of big companies...

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Mr Macrury
Jun 8, 2011 2:55pm

Sorry, was that your package I picked up? I'd ordered "The Very Best of Dokken" and thought this came by mistake.

I dunno........postal companies, eh?

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mr_x
Jun 8, 2011 2:58pm

this sort of thing happens a lot it seems when bands try to start selling their music themselves. i remember many occasions last decade and even at the start of this one when prince kept offering fans special deals and packages only to piss a lot of them off when the goods wouldnt turn up and getting some sort of resolution was near impossible (or the 'special' fan-only music like the crystal ball set ended up being sold in shops anyway).

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Fucking H Man
Jun 8, 2011 3:04pm

Settle down, Ian. It's not like Thom Yorke is personally bringing the LPs by on his bike, now, is it?

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2ozsofplastic
Jun 8, 2011 3:47pm

I also think this is an example of just because artists can and want to go direct commercially speaking to the consumer they shouldn't but still need to work with retailers/shops/the industry. Record labels are also doing the same by selling direct to the consumer/listener and by-passing the retailer. DC comics is also doing just this. There is an obvious need and benefit for change and making the most of new potential of the digital world but you still need people and people who know what they are doing.

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Airbag
Jun 8, 2011 4:51pm

Ian, you of all people should know Radiohead are about the music, not the delivery system. With Radiohead you should have bought the cd when out, and gone about dealing with the delivery crisis in he way you did, un-peeling the layers.. until you got satisfaction, without the press. You paid after all. To start calling them Radiodead is simply pathetic, and one would have expected more from you. Your loss. Next time a bookstore is out of stock who do we call...

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Reality Check
Jun 8, 2011 4:54pm

I too have had exactly the same problem with DHL falsely claiming to have delivered TKOL. However, for me, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how much Radiohead fans have been duped over the last few years. Let’s look at some examples. Radiohead brand themselves (and make no mistake, Thom Yorke and the band know exactly what their management are doing) as environmentally friendly, caring about their fans etc, but it’s all a very well thought out marketing ploy. For example, they play massive venues and site the reason as efficiency (by playing fewer gigs for more people). Anyone who attended the unbearable Victoria Park shows can tell you that the fans enjoyment was not the primary concern at all. They packed that venue over capacity and there was NO transport put in place to help the common man avoid the 2 hour wait to get down to the underground system.
Environmentally friendly? I don’t think so. You don’t see Thom worry about the environment whilst he jet sets off to LA for a one off show or DJ set! Fans may say, “but look at their environmentally friendly merchandise, It’s made from rainbows and dewdrop cotton etc”...Unfortunately the truth of the matter is that, their environmentally friendly shirts are so poorly manufactured that they fall apart within the first few washes. If you were to purchase a £1 100% cotton top from Oxfam, chances are it would last you far longer, thus benefiting the environment to a greater degree.
Radiohead want you to buy their brand whatever the cost, which is why they sell NO LOGO t-shirts in their shop. Hmm…weird, it’s from the Radiohead Website, but it doesn’t have a logo. The only reason why someone would buy this t-shirt is so that they can say they bought it on the Radiohead website. Therefore, it’s branded. Cheeky.
Another example is how they would like their fans to use reusable water bottles. With Radiohead’s brand printed on it of course.
As for fans disappointment with the brevity of TKOL don’t worry, they have just announced (lucky us) that they are going to release everything all over again, bit by bit as a remix…So we can pay for it all over again, individually.
But back to the main issue people are clearly angry about, not receiving their newspaper album. Radiohead decided to sell the records directly through their website, not for any frustration within the industry, but with an eye directly on the margin. Therefore, if they want to cut out the middleman to make the profit, they need to be held fully accountable for this utter cock-up. It’s no good blaming the third party YOU hired. After all the public didn’t have any sympathy for Tony Haywood (BP), after they tried to blame Transocean for the large oil spill. Fans may have bought into your shenanigans before, but the jigs up.

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Huw
Jun 8, 2011 4:59pm

Some interesting comments from people. Further to my earlier posts, i think this is pretty simple, it's about customer service. I purchased "goods" from WASTE/ Radiohead and thus forget the fact they have used DHL or for that matter any other 3rd parties in the Sale/Production/Distribution of this product, it is WASTE who are the retailer and I'm their customer. Therefore I simply do no accept that WASTE/Radiohead can ignore emails from a customer for 14 Days without a response? I'd at the very least expect a reply within a couple of days, even if it was a just a caring "we're sorry there is huge demand, we have had some problems, bear with us etc etc". Customer Service is the easiest thing in the world to get right and you do that through communication and that's where at the moment WASTE have got it all wrong. Foolishly i thought this article might mean I'd actually get a response from them today. Fingers crossed its Day 15 tomorrow that will bring some joy.

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Mark
Jun 8, 2011 6:14pm

In reply to Reality Check:

Is it you, NME writter/Radiohead hater, Hamish MacBain? Exactly the same thing you wrote on that shameless article months ago! What a coincidence and how wrong it is your view of the band! Go suck a lemon!

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Mark
Jun 8, 2011 6:17pm

In reply to Reality Check:

and Thom didn't flew to LA for a one off show or DJ set, you stupid! get your facts straight!

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Mrs. Rankin MacRury
Jun 8, 2011 6:33pm

I agree with Coke Baby - as big fans we went to the website as soon as we could to order the super deluxe edition. That's what big fans do. What was not readily clear was the timing of the retail release. Nowhere on the TKOL site did it clearly say "we're releasing regular versions of everything in the shops in a few weeks."

The regular version In Rainbows came out in shops almost two MONTHS after the big fans ordered and received the amazing deluxe edition. A fair enough window. The timing on TKOL was definitley misleading. (Was it because the front cover art work looks like a Limp Bizkit record?)

This article/rant speaks to more than Radiohead's organization being less than professional. There's something about the delivery and website and everything surrounding this release that feels off. They've cheapened their music a bit by publicly becoming business men.

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Huckleberry
Jun 8, 2011 6:44pm

F.O Computer and Radiodead?

Or (From Ian Rankin's Twitter)

'Can I just say: The King of Limbs special edition *is* a beautiful thing....'

Mixed emotions eh?

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Astral Cars
Jun 8, 2011 6:49pm

In reply to Mrs. Rankin MacRury:

It is the price they chose to pay to become independent and free of a big label. If they choose a label, they are not as independent as they claim to be or want to be. If they sell it by themselves, they are cheapening themselves by doing their own business. At same time they need to get their work out there, they have bills to pay, they have tons of people working for them and they need to keep the (big) machine running. It is a damned if you do damned if you don't situation.

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Reality Check
Jun 8, 2011 6:53pm

In reply to Mark:

So what did he do to get there then? Swim? or presumably to you, he walked on water?
You missed the point entirely.

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Astral Cars
Jun 8, 2011 7:04pm

Let's just not forget something very important that is missed in the middle of this business talk: Radiohead are one of the very few artists out there today who actually manages to make every album an artistic statement of their vision and music at that specific moment. The King Of Limbs deluxe edition is a piece of ART, just art. You get it and you get good and different music, you get a concept, you get drawings, illustrations, you get stories, you get poetry and crazy Thom Yorke rants you won't find elsewhere. It is beautiful and worthy every cent.

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Reality Check
Jun 8, 2011 7:32pm

In reply to Astral Cars:

In this particular instance I am not disputing Radioheads music or artwork. I don't even care that they make loads of money. What I care about is they are earning money by claiming to be something they are clearly not. Radiohead are trying to go on this moral crusade when really, they should just admit it is a business.

Astral Cars- What do you mean "It is the price they chose to pay to become independent and free of a big label"...They chose to become free of EMI so that they could make all the money themselves and take the big record label out of the mix.

Please do not pretend for one instant that this is some new indie band that has only been around for 2 years and is spending every penny they have to make it. They have been around for 2 decades and have surely made enough to keep "the machine" going.

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Astral Cars
Jun 8, 2011 8:04pm

In reply to Reality Check:

I am not naive Reality Check, and it isnt new to any radiohead fan that they (or Thom specifically) always had problems with the way big record labels(or EMI, for that matter)work. I remember reading Thom babbling sh*t about those things on interviews at the time of The bends already (and lets not be fooled, if the band had not 'exploded' among some type of 'alternative almost mainstream' audience at The bends time and become massive with OK Computer, EMI would had dropped Thom and his childish loud mouth ways waaaay before the end of that contract). The band were kept under the EMI wings for so many years because they were under a six albums agreement. if not, I have no doubt that they would have gone free before that. yes, it is business and they have to make money, they never denied that, but they already said that the artist should have an alternative, should be able to make it by themselves if possible, and that is what they are doing. The money and the business wont come only by music and the band had that vision very early, they created W.A.S.T.E many years ago, they always had good merchandise to sell, they promoted their *brand*, they toured like crazy. I dont see that much contradiction in the way they act with what they are saying for years now. They cant be blamed because they saw the change in the market before others or because they were not afraid to go their own way.

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Apop
Jun 8, 2011 8:07pm

For the ever defenders of the band, after reading through the comments, I'm not seeing too many people who think Radiohead cooked up this whole mess with this end result in mind. However, regardless of who they are, how they want to present themselves, or how they wish they were presented, they are a business. You don't sell records for 20+ years as the same entity and not become a business. And they can play the "i don't know logistics, i'm just a musician" card all they want, no one's buying it after 20+ years selling records. I don't care who you are or what your story is, if you create something that is going to be consumed, it's up to you to make sure it is handled, delivered, expidited to your consumers with the same care you took to make it. Otherwise, what happens? Yep, doesn't matter the care you took to make it, your consumers are going to be moved by the process by which they had to take to obtain it.

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Mark
Jun 8, 2011 10:22pm

In reply to Apop:

They are "business" as well and never denied that. I don't see anyone here saying otherwise. The thing is that, with any type of business, problems can happen and they probably will take care of that, as it seems is happening already.

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Mark
Jun 8, 2011 10:42pm

In reply to Reality Check:

Dude, I didn't miss any point. Of course Thom and the rest of the band needs to fly around the world, and they do so in commercial flights, as any other people do. The enviromental aspect of the band comes from Thom. Any fan knows that not all the others share his beliefs or participate in his causes, and as a band, as a 'business' model, they need to work, they need to sell, they need to pay their employees, they need to tour and fly around the world, and if Thom just sits on his couch fearing that the polar bears might disappear by the end of the decade, the band and all the music he loves so much will be kaput! Yes, he knows that sometimes he is an hypocrite, he already said that. But he chose to continue doing music and have to pay the price for going against his own beliefs many times. And he wasn't in Los Angeles only to go Hollywood partying and djing, he was recording, he was working, so the way you talked about it had the sole intention of damaging his image, your intent - and misinformation - was clear enough.

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Stefan Holmes
Jun 8, 2011 10:45pm

Your experiences brings some comfort knowing I'm not the only one. W.A.S.T.E have always been good to me, they've always seemed 'the little company that could', an online cottage industry merchandise stool, but this release has been a shambles for me.

I too got the notification it was shipped on or around April 28th. When my order tracking status changed to display a DHL tracking link, I discovered that the package had been signed for by someone in Gateshead, where DHL have a depot of some sort. Obviously, I was pretty annoyed by this, given that WASTE/Sandbag are resident in Reading, and I live in Camden. If the package originated from Reading, then as far as I'm concerned, it was taken away from me and dumped inthe north. I registered a complaint by email with DHL - they never responded, but the next time I logged into thekingoflimbs.com, they knew my package had been lost, and I was given the option to have a new one shipped. 3 weeks later (and one phone call where I was informed there was a delay receiving 'the replacements' from the US) and I'm still none-the-wiser, as my thekingoflimbs.com account states it's 'pending modification'.

I'm really not sure I want it anymore after this (or I at least receive 2 for my troubles). Unfortunately, I always buy the standard and special editions of each Radiohead album, and I really don't want to break with tradition thanks to farcical incompetence.

Rant-tastic.

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Reality Check
Jun 9, 2011 8:55am

In reply to Mark:

You missed my point. So here it is AGAIN. I don't care how much money Radiohead make, or what they believe in and do, until it affects ME the customer personally.
I have been a fan of Radiohead since I was 15 years old. I am now nearly 30. I have seen them several times, in several locations throughout the world, and have bought all their albums. I think “Mark” you’re attempting to make it sound as if because I am complaining about their marketing schemes and their purely piss poor customer service, that I somehow HATE Radiohead. This is not the case. I just don’t like being lied to. (It’s called lying by omission)
Radiohead have really disappointed me. You're right Mark, Thom has said he is a hypocrite(well done), but that does not simply justify his actions. It doesn't matter how long he went to LA for, the point is, he flys all the time, which clearly is NOT good for the environment he cares so deeply about saving.
It doesn't matter WHO implemented the environmental aspect of Radiohead. The fact of the matter is that it's being used as a selling/branding tool and it has impacted their quality of goods and services (see Victoria Park, or their cheap dodgy t-shirts,) and has made them more of a profit. They have redistributed themselves as a new entity. Just like some very well known computer and phone brands, if you want that little bit more, annoyingly you always have to upgrade.
It seems as though you want to play the “How much do YOU know about Thom?” game. I happen to also know a fair amount having dedicated the last 14 years of my life to being a dedicated and loyal fan. Thom has cited one of his favourite books as being NO LOGO and not surprisingly that book just happens to be about branding. Could it be that after reading this book, the light bulbs and alarms went off in his head??? A bonne idée was born??? Radiohead have become to me (doesn't matter whose beliefs they are when they are implemented in purchases) a lifestyle brand. They want to appeal to those environmental, anti government types. That is their brand, and WE as fans bought into it.
This opinion, although obviously upsetting to some Radiohead fans, has been one that I adopted around 5 years ago. I have discussed this in Radiohead forums and on Radiohead’s website. So no, I’m not some guy from the NME. For me, my epic journey as a loyal fan has come to an end. Radiohead
Can no longer even provide the most fundamental and basic aspect of a business, good customer service. We as customers would not put up with that with anything else in our lives so why with music? This newspaper album cock-up was the last straw.

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Jun 9, 2011 10:11am

I wouldn't worry. the album is their weakest in years. only one track - little by little - is worth a damn.

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Huw
Jun 9, 2011 10:59am

So I firstly have to thank Ian Rankin & Quietus. This morning I received a full apology from the Operations Manager at WASTE and confirmation that a refund is now being processed. Why it took them 15 Days to respond is anybodies guess. I hope everybody else in the same position has today also got a response and their issues will be resolved and more importantly Radiohead issue a public apology for what has been a customer service shambles.

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Bennyboy
Jun 9, 2011 12:32pm

Ian, you are not alone - nobody in the entire universe has received a copy of the deluxe limited edition newspaper thing. In fact, it's so limited it doesn't even exist - the band themselves haven't even seen it. Can I make a suggestion? Instead of ranting about it on here, why not write a new bestselling novel where your detective whatshisface goes mental hunting down arch criminal Thom Yorke and his gang of mercenary arty musicians? It could have all the makings of a Hollywood movie script too, so you'd be laughing all the way to the bank and could probably actually buy Radiohead one day and make them dance for you while you flicked peanuts at them in disgust.

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Mark
Jun 9, 2011 12:39pm

In reply to Reality Check:

I don't think a deeper discussion about this subject with you is worthy because, really, your conception about things is just over the top and misguided. We will have to agree on disagreeing. I am a fan for many years as well and don't see things that way. Plus, there are aspects of the band way more important that Thom and his polar bear worries, so anyone putting those details ahead of what really matters is not a fan in my view.

And about the customers problems, Waste might as well learn with it. Next time we will see how everything works out.

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Jun 9, 2011 1:00pm

Next time I'll only accept the package if Thom delivers it himself to me. NO WAY I'LL ACCEPT REGULAR MAIL! get me THOM OR I AM ASKING MY MONEY BACK! and I'LL NOT BE A FAN ANYMORE! you hear me?

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libelle
Jun 9, 2011 1:04pm

I guess the real weak link in the chain is that anyone can sign a slip of paper and be you. Registered post would have been better, I always use that when buying tickets. Shouldn't we be showing ID to pick up something that's fairly high value like this?

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Reality Check
Jun 9, 2011 1:16pm

In reply to Mark:

I honestly don't think it would matter what my opinion was, as long as it is negative about the band, you don't want to hear it. I gave other examples of where WASTE provided a shit product, it's not just this newspaper album being late, or their shitty customer service, It's their merchandise including t-shirts and other clothing as well. I guess that went straight over your head though just like their merchandise. SO yeah, this conversation is done.

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Doug
Jun 9, 2011 1:35pm

He needs to get Rebus on the case.... he will have them sorted out in a few chapters..... :)... still, shoddy delivery of service....bad radiohead....bad YoDEl.....

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MastermindXXX
Jun 9, 2011 1:36pm

Ian did things all wrong. He should have joined ATEASE sooner and someone there would help him contacting Sandbag/WASTE. Mortigi Tempo forums are useless.

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James Daly
Jun 9, 2011 2:27pm

Whilst I appreciate the frustration inevitably caused by this whole debacle, I do feel that whining on and on about it for an article in The Quietus just makes you seem like an overgrown baby throwing your toys out of the pram. You can't just write off a band's entire catalogue because you're having issues with a singular aspect that's gone wrong. Yes, you haven't received your copy of TKOL yet. Does that mean you're going to automatically hate everything else by them? The prog-rock influenced brilliance of OKC, the electronic landscapes of Kid A - do they suffer due to TKOL's downfall?
It cuts both way you know; if I ordered a book from you that you'd decided to self-release, and then I didn't receive a copy and couldn't track down the culprits, I wouldn't consider using your previous novels for firewood. Seriously, someone call the hyperbole police.

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Rankin Who!?
Jun 9, 2011 2:34pm

You guys need to chill out - Out of the what would be millions sent out, the law of the land says that some arent going to get to their final destination first time - Surely!?!? And it just so happens one was for a Ian Rankin!? SO WHAT!!!
Its not any fault of Radiohead is it!?
If you havent received it a replacement will be sent - Whats the big deal! Far more important things in the world - Get a grip!!

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Roberto G.
Jun 9, 2011 3:03pm

Almost same story here and no way to complain anywhere, I just hope my package will soon come... I'm a big fan and whant the disc I paid for...

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Bryan
Jun 9, 2011 3:18pm

I received by copy of the deluxe set pretty late, likely a result of their bizarre shipping scheme and the fact that it had to be forwarded to a new address I had moved to. And it was pretty annoying. But "Radiodead"? Taking things a little too far, fellas. They've clearly screwed up by partnering with the wrong distributors, and they've screwed up by not being more forthcoming about what was going on. So, yeah, pretty unfortunate. But this is really sensationalist journalism and it's pretty embarrassing.

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Louis
Jun 9, 2011 3:28pm

No one should ever order anything from any band's web site. Stick with Amazon or some other company that actually, you know, specializes in product distribution. It doesn't matter how big or small the band is; their web sites almost routinely suck at delivering their album or CD releases. But yes, it must be especially annoying to have to deal with this crap from a band like Radiohead that claims to be so fan friendly, forward thinking about distribution, and anti-corporate.

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Chris
Jun 9, 2011 6:55pm

Being disillusioned with the band makes absolutely no sense to me. Why would you proceed to blame the band when the distribution company is obviously at fault. Radiohead =/= Sandbag and DHL

I don't understand your argument against them. Although the cool thing to do is to find a reason to hate them :P

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brad
Jun 9, 2011 7:32pm

Wow. Thanks for the whiny rant. I guess it's radiohead's fault that someone took your package. We've all had things lost in transit and we have all felt dissapointment but don't you think you're being slightly dramatic?? I do. I'm not sure who commisioned this article but I would like to thank them for wasting my time and ask for my money back. AND as you said, " you are not a consumer, " (but you obviously are) so I don't see why you would stop listening to great music because you didn't receive a package. All in all - stop being a little biotch, please. It's not very becoming.

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Lucia
Jun 9, 2011 9:59pm

In reply to Louis:

I bought some books/CDs from Amazon and still waiting after more than a month. Got my newspaper album via Radiohead on the time set by their website. How do you explain that Einstein?

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Jason
Jun 10, 2011 12:45am

Clearly, Mr. Rankin's musical tastes are not dictated by what pleases him musically. If he can simply decide to not listen to a band because of a bureaucratic snafu, my feeling is that he was probably listening to Radiohead for the wrong reasons.

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libelle
Jun 10, 2011 12:46am

By the way, I got my Newspaper way quicker than I got my Discbox. I have ordered stuff about 5 times from waste and it's always been good. I have also ordered a shitload of stuff that Sandbag manages (nearly every indie band I like) and have always had a fantastic experience. Of course, the NA is a little bit more sought after than that, plus imagine the quantities they must be shipping in. Ian, if you were self releasing, how would you handle this?

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Ali
Jun 10, 2011 7:02am

The RH site is 'powered by Sandbag', a D2C firm in Reading area. RH's manager has a stake in this firm. They do some good stuff but are reknown for being a tad shoddy occasionally. Contact them directly, online.
The issue with Direct2Consumer is that no-one factors how much customer care is required to be a decent retailer. They don't know what retail IS, what the law demands, what a consumer/fan needs... One week running a market stall would be of great benefit to Mr Yorke n crew.

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Lalia Lalia
Jun 10, 2011 10:22am

I'm still waiting for two copies, that have both gone astray in spite of being under separate order codes. Annoyingly, I originally only wanted to order one, but something glitchy and electronic happened and two are supposed to be on the way. A friend agreed to take the other one off my hands, but now we're both waiting in vain. Any advice?

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Daniel
Jun 10, 2011 11:42am

Proof that the music press will publish even the most mundane of anecdotes as long as you say "Radiohead" enough times.

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Lasha
Jun 10, 2011 12:59pm

I've got my Newspaper Album but order tracking says that 'it has lost in post perhaps" or something like that.
I got it very late, 1st may or something like that. and before that I worried, when they said that it has lost in post. I'm outside of UK. there was no postal code, or shipping code or whatever it is, so when I went to post-office, they couldn't help me. but when I arrived at home after work, at midnight, the Newspaper Album was put in front of my door. I hadn't signed, just took it and walked in my house.

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Jonathan Hopkins
Jun 10, 2011 2:22pm

Didn't know this problem was quite so prevalent. I moved house before my order arrived and trying to get my address changed on the TKOL site was an absolute nightmare. Having officially changed, it I received an email shortly after saying the vinyl had been delivered to my new address and was signed for, by me! Unless I have a clone I don't know about this isn't true. Still trying to get my vinyl. Have spoken to Sandbag (http://www.sandbag.uk.com/contact.php), the distribution company, who informed me that they'd had quite a few people with similar problems and that a new batch of vinyl was sent out around 5 days ago and I should call again if there's still nothing. This is piss poor.

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Jonathan Hopkins
Jun 10, 2011 2:42pm

In reply to Jonathan Hopkins:

I'm quite good at writing. No idea what happened to my proofreading ability.

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ADCR
Jun 10, 2011 2:51pm

In reply to Jonathan Hopkins:

Interestingly, today's mailout from the lovely Norman Records includes the following: "We've had a nightmare getting deliveries from Yodel this week who've just been ramped up to worse company in the world. If you know anyone who works for them slap them on the face from me...Well rubbish!"

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Mr Majika
Jun 10, 2011 4:24pm

Dry your fucking eyes!

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Mr Majika
Jun 10, 2011 4:26pm

In reply to Lasha:

Wow, what an opus. Thrilling story from start to end.

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airbon
Jun 10, 2011 4:57pm

wah wah wah Rankin. shut the fuck up you over entitled prick. no one cares. next time just buy the cd from the store, that way you'll be guaranteed the post wont fuck you over and you'll have difficulty communicating with the website. every time i order something via mail, i understand i run a risk of my shit getting lost somewhere or something else unusual happening.

and it's not radiohead's fault. you got your stupid fucking 30 dollar newspaper after all.

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dylan m
Jun 10, 2011 5:50pm

i actually think the delays and communication errors and basically ALL of the complaints launched above and below this post are more indicative of Radiohead/WASTE *NOT*being a cold corporate machine but actually possessing a more independent spirit that, quite frankly, makes for a slightly more ramshackle DIY operation. They have character and idiosyncrasies and are more human than a corporation. (But of course who wants to write about THAT when you can write about how "Dude, Radiohead used to be so anti- but now, man, they’re just part of the establishment.." Faff Off.)
DISCLAIMER: I've never had a delay issue, quite the opposite, WASTE has always gone ABOVE and BEYOND to be communicative and interactive. (Note: in the cases of people not getting their orders in the amount of time they want them to come: WASTE just sends a new one out, no questions asked. I mean...you think cold corporate machines do that. Really?)
Back in the 90s when WASTE was starting up and reaching out to the fans, and also sending out massively cool missives (for FREE mind you), sometimes they would come and sometimes they wouldn't or they'd come late or you'd have to follow up and Mel (at first and then others) would patiently respond to your queries and e-mails, it truly did feel like you had access. And it built a community.
What has changed is Radiohead's reach and scope and the demand from the ever-burgeoning legion of “fans.” Just as a mass assortment of people complained viciously about how TKOL was not "free" like IR was and what a huge rip-off that was, or complained that TKOL has “only” eight songs, or whatever else those iditions think they’re entitled to. The same assortment is going to pin delivery issues on Radiohead/WASTE and whine and cry over something TOTALLY beyond Radiohead’s control. When bands get bigger and more popular, they attract a more diverse set of fans, and quite frankly, once you start attracting the masses, you attract the masses of spoiled entitled twaddle that are the source of endless annoyance at concerts, on message boards, and some of them even write articles on really well-respected music websites about how they want to take their toys and go home and write ridiculum like "Radiohead are Radiodead to me now."
Fine. Leave them for the rest of us who care, and are patient, participating members in their community, and have amply and diversely been rewarded for that. That’s what a real relationship is after all: Give and Take. Which is just about the most anti-corporate sentiment of all and what it really means to be a human, participating in society and understanding that it's not always about you.

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Dave Martini
Jun 10, 2011 6:03pm

Same story with me apparently i signed for something i've never received. To be honest i'm pissed off. I've sent 8 emails and the same computerised shit comes back. The whole of OK Computer is about these bizarre consumerist exchanges with faceless companies, machines and computers, and here we go, radiohead are doing just that. The whole experience has really changed my opinion about radiohead.. yeah they're music's good, but it turns out they're full of shit when it comes to making money.

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David Cooper
Jun 10, 2011 11:01pm

Still waiting on my copy to arrive, however today received an email from Radiohead Headquarters stating that they would send another one to an alternative address. Hoping that it will turn up eventually!

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dave
Jun 11, 2011 3:17pm

In reply to airbon:

calm down you tit.

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Jordan Russell-Hall
Jun 11, 2011 11:44pm

I dont know if this will help (or if you will read this) but I also live in edinburgh and have recieved my copy. However I spoke to the courier as he asked what it was that he had 'over 20 more of to deliver by 6 o'clock' (it was 5.20). He obviously was not as keen as I was when I told him what it was to be and might have even grunted. Regardless, just wait for the tour.

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AndrewK
Jun 12, 2011 6:46pm

Oh FFS Radiohead Fans! Their handling of this is just completely naive and amateurish. This is not how a competent small business deals with their loyal customers. It all just feeds into the cynical view that Radiohead is all brand and no authenticity. This doesn't make their music or song-writing bad. It just means that maybe it's time to stop assuming their business entity has improved much now that EMI has left the picture.

I have dealt directly with many other bands, small labels, and small businesses. I have never had to fight to get what I ordered delivered to me. The few problems I had were solved with a single email.

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ohreally
Jun 12, 2011 8:01pm

a band is dead to you, not because of the music, oh no, its never about the music. surely the ability of radiohead to deliver products makes or breaks them as a band, just as the ability to dance naked makes or breaks artists like lady gaga and britney spears. You're totally right

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john
Jun 12, 2011 8:17pm

i dont really think its radiohead's fault. its the delivery companies responsibilty and the drivers responsibility. All Radiohead is responsible for is when they accept your payment, to make sure that they send out a copy of the album. Their responsibility ends there. I doubt there is someone at Radiohead HQ who monitors if and when people actually recieve their merch. they do however monitor when they send off the merch and it gets picked up by FED EX or some other service.

It seems silly to me you'd blame radiohead for any of this. yes, i think they should be offering you a free item or offering to send you a new vinyl free, but thom or the gang was never going to drive a FED EX truck and race off and drop merch off at your house or anyone elses. It was the failure of the driver of the Postal service vehicle, for either lying about dropping off the merch at your house, or for failing to do proper inspections and make sure the person they did drop the vinyl copy to was indeed you.

Put it in a different context. If you were buying chocolates from a fancy company and had them shipped to your state and your home, You bought straight from the companies website, and then you never got any package. and then you heard that they had dropped the package off at another persons house, and that you had never gotten the package, even though they said they had visited your house. I'd be mad at the FED EX and postal service not the chocolate company

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AndrewK
Jun 12, 2011 9:04pm

In reply to john:

john said: "All Radiohead is responsible for is when they accept your payment, to make sure that they send out a copy of the album. Their responsibility ends there."

That's, to put it mildly, ridiculous. Their responsibility doesn't end until you receive the package. This is what we expect when we order parts for our computer, or books from Amazon. If the package doesn't make it to the recipient on time it is the seller's responsibility to deal with. If the package is lost or destroyed it is the seller's responsibility to collect on the insurance and replace the item. NO business gets away with telling you that you're SOL once the package is picked up by the delivery company.

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Comodesi
Jun 13, 2011 4:06am

Maybe what the band is tryin' to tell you is that you, "lover of modern music" (ugh!) is a mere consumer! Welcome to the cruel world!

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DHL Victim
Jun 13, 2011 10:07am

EXACTLY the same thing happened to me too, expect it was signed for by someone called 'Steve'. Basically identical to Huws story.

I did get a 'courtesy' yesterday offering to resend the record so maybe they are trying to sort this out. But still very shit.

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tom forster
Jun 13, 2011 2:55pm

It is surprisingly comforting to read so many people have struggled with this aswell! So many emails I sent with nothing in reply, and im still waiting for the replacement I ordered back in April!
Still waiting, please pass my details on and hopefully it will kick them into gear!!

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Fake Plastic Tunes
Jun 13, 2011 9:32pm

Big time Radiohead fan here. I have to say I love The King of Limbs music but as far as the whole The World's First Newspaper Album goes I have to say I was bummed out once I recieved it. Nothing really that great as far as packaging goes. I honestly opened it up once I recieved it and put it on the shelf right after and haven't touched it since. I continue to listen to the music which I ended up buying on vinyl and CD before I even got my newspaper album anyways. I guess I am just a sucker for Radiohead

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Chris Brown
Jun 17, 2011 10:00am

Funnily enough I live in Edinburgh and not too far away from Ian. Surprisingly enough MacRury also signed for my Newspaper album, so they must be rubbing their hands together with all the copies of TKOL the have on a variety of media. I've registered on the website for a redelivery so here's hoping mine turns up soon.

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Oliver Primus
Jun 19, 2011 9:32pm

I bought a radiohead t-shirt around the same time as pre-ordering the album when it got put up months ago. After numerous emails, they finally got back to me regarding the t-shirt saying it was returned undelivered and asked me to reconfirm my address. Two months later, still nothing. The response I got the album was putting the blame on me and saying I should check with DHL.

It's a shame because this is something that has changed my outlook on the band. How can they get it so wrong, with so many people. You get a order, you put the item in an envelope, go to the post office, put some stamps on it and send. Voila. I'm not suggesting the band are doing the mail orders but they need to get it fixed.

What annoys me the most is that if they have fucked up, just tell us. If they emailed me to say, "look, theres gonna be a delay with your record, please bear with us" I would have been a bit disappointed but I certainly wouldn't be angry. Instead they seem to be putting the blame on other people to buy themselves more time.

Will I ever buy anything from WASTE again? Not a chance. Not only that but I'll make sure people I know know about it too. Word of mouth is a powerful thing.

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John A.
Jun 21, 2011 10:21am

In reply to Oliver Primus:

Ian, any chance you could stop worrying about Radiohead and finish another Malcolm Fox novel?

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Matt S
Jun 21, 2011 4:59pm

I've also had a total nightmare getting my TKOL deluxe. It’s a very long story, but essentially DHL got my address wrong and claim to have delivered it to my neighbour who has no knowledge of signing for anything. I've contacted DHL directly to ask them why they've done that and where they got the address from, but they've just pointed me towards the retailer. I've sent a number of emails to them (first one sent mid-May), but I'm still yet to hear back from them a month later...Pretty frustrated and annoyed with the level of service from them, and it really bites considering this is a Radiohead product. To be honest, I now really don't want the product. The magic has well and truly gone from this purchase. It’s made all the more frustrating as my colleagues who also bought it on the same day as me received theirs in early May. I do wonder if I’ll ever hear back from them...

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Jiminy Cricket
Jun 23, 2011 4:45pm

My deluxe TKOL album was also 'lost' by the courier. I marked it as 'not received in my order area'. Heard nothing back. I then contacted WASTE customer services (I think the address is tkol@waste.uk.com)and received a courtesy email from them after a few days. My TKOL box set arrived a week later.

Overall the customer service level was not too bad, a bit on the slow side, but hey, imagine the amount of the orders they must be dealing with...

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Josh Nicol
Jul 1, 2011 1:38pm

I find it extremely odd when a writer considers a band to be "dead" when there has been a mishap with the delivery process of an album. I mean... please, it's really not an issue worth condemning them about.

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Alex
Jul 5, 2011 8:07am

There's some comfort in knowing I'm not alone in this. I eventually started getting replies to my emails and in the end got a phone number for Sandbag (http://www.sandbag.uk.com/) who are doing the fulfillment for this release. I too was told that they'd tried to deliver to my house, despite the fact I'd not received any card through my door. I did get to speak to DHL, but they said it was too late to get it redelivered and my order had been sent back. That was two months ago.

Having spoken to Sandbag, they've told me that they're sending out a new copy via Royal Mail as they say DHL have caused them problems. The thing is, there is no new copy, I've not received it, and they now say they're waiting on another print run. Helpful as the nice chap on the phone is, at the end of the day I've paid for something, been left completely in the dark, and still have no idea when it is going to arrive.

As you say, this is very poor service and I'm genuinely surprised that, given the number of complaints I'm finding online, there's been no comment or effort to get this resolved from the band or their management. It's a fucking shambles. When Radiohead decided to start releasing their own records they became a record company and a record retailer, no longer just a band. They have a responsibility to uphold standards of customer service that the likes of Amazon, ASOS and even Alex's Camera's (an eBay vintage camera dealer who got me my Fed2 camera over from the Ukraine in less than a week) have been doing for years and year and years. I too and on the verge of just asking for my money back. It's a shame, but I have my limits and I feel someone is just taking the piss now.

Next time guys, get someone in who knows what they're doing.

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Alex
Jul 5, 2011 8:09am

In reply to Jiminy Cricket:

it is if they've got £30 of my money...

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Dominc Browne
Jul 17, 2011 2:46pm

Having just read your article thought I would write to you to say that I am still waiting for copy of the newspaper section of the Radiohead album King of Limbs and Just like the above having had no reply to to several correspondence sent from their website am still no closer to finding out what has happened. It seems to me in the current age absolutely impossible for something like this to happen to a band like this who have their fans to thank for lifting them to grandeur from playing the small clubs and pubs of Oxford all those years ago .Phenomenal!!!!

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jim
Jul 18, 2011 7:38am

You are actually wrong about dhl's UK parcel network, they were owned by deutsche post however, the UK parcel network was sold to Shop Direct in 2010, the company who own the rival courier company HDNL and are in the process of merging the 2 to make YODEL. It frustrated me when people quote facts that have not been researched properly..Terrible

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Richard Flynn
Sep 1, 2011 12:06pm

Is anybody out there still waiting for their copy, I have been quite busy this summer so I have only managed to email the waste website 4 or 5 times but still nothing!? This is the first time i actually checekd if anyone else was having trouble, can this really be a scam on such a big website!? Anyone have Thom Yorkes number?

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alex bailey
Sep 6, 2011 1:28pm

I'm still Waiting!! Many emails increasingly frustrated by automated responses with no human follow up or contact details.... I'm amazed at the seeming hypocrisy of Radiohead's 'be aware of the faceless corporate giants' stance when they allow this to happen under their brand. I love the band but this situation is leaving a bad taste and they've got my money. Just tried Tel: +44 (0)118 950 5812 (sandbag as recommended by previous contributor) and spoke to a real life person (or very clever answering machine) who took my order number and phone number and will, 'get back to me'...... Hmmmmmmm

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Darcy Brandel
Sep 12, 2011 6:47pm

I am still waiting on my copy...have emailed WASTE three different times with inquiries and never a response has been sent back to me. Please help...if you have suggestions for what else I can do.
Thanks,
dlb in Detroit

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Hamad
Nov 9, 2011 6:49pm

In reply to alex bailey:

Sadly no luck with my order till now. Quite a contrast with my experience with the In Rainbows order.
As mentioned above, I've only received an automated response. Thanks to all for posting the phone number. Alex, if you're still following this site, have you had any response after your phone call?

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Stewart
Dec 8, 2011 8:04pm

...and the whole shambles seems to be happening all over again with their DVD.

Trying to get a refund now instead, without success.

I'd say Radiohead are worse than any corporation I've had to deal with.

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Aug 1, 2013 3:24pm

Tbf Ian, you were lucky, the album was a dead duck

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