Newest Review: ... so it can appear quite convoluted. It's a newshound's worst nightmare - many many times information has been released on radio... more
A look inside the minds of the greatest band in the world
Member Name: kenigma
Date: 21/05/01, updated on 21/05/01 (255 review reads)
Advantages: *Lots* of material, Exclusives
Disadvantages: Can be hard to navigate
Radiohead.com has won many awards for best official band site and all sorts of other categories. To be honest I don't think they really care. Their website is not there to promote themselves - it's more of a living entity.
The site is maintained mostly by Stanley Donwood who is Radiohead's "official artist". Thom Yorke knows Donwood from back in their college years, and he has been responsible for all the artwork from OK Computer onwards.
The current frontpage of Radiohead.com is an image of the limited edition "old book" version of Amnesiac, and there is a choice of two destinations: the radiohead website itself and an informational website about Friends of the Earth and promoting environmental awareness.
Next page in and you're given another choice of destinations - radiohead.com or Indymedia.com - a site providing "independent media" - free from the bias of governmental pressure etc.
It's almost as if they don't want you to look at the site itself...
Finally you get into what passes for a main menu which provides you with a host of destinations. There's always news about upcoming events and so on, but often it's extremely hard to find and also to distinguish between new and old. It's not done pretentiously - as I said before, it's like a living entity and like anyone's mind it jumps around in a stream of consciousness way, so it can appear quite convoluted.
It's a newshound's worst nightmare - many many times information has been released on radiohead.com to the fans before it is to the media, but it is done in such a way as to confound most journalists who don't use the site on a regular basis. The announcements are usually made completely impromptu by a member of the band or by Stanley himself on the Radiohead Message Board.
Now when you think of a message board for a website you think of a slow-moving thread of messag
es that people log on and leave to return a few hours later to see if anyone replies. Forget that picture. The board consists of 15 pages of messages and there is on average a shift of about a page every 10-15 minutes.
Whenever a "blue" - a band member etc. comes on the board, a page turns over about every 2 minutes at most, so anything you post tends to get lost in the fray and ends up rapidly moving towards page 15.
The message board is a real community - it has its members that everyone knows, its outcasts, its troublemakers. It is a veritable ant-farm that one can simply sit back and observe, or get closer and participate. Romances and friendships are formed and broken on it.
The message board can be reached from one of the links within the main menu, but I'll leave you to find it - it's more fun that way.
There are a bewildering array of different links that you can follow, often leading on, sometimes leading back, and it would be very hard to say with confidence that you had seen every page. Some pages contain ramblings, some contain lyrics of unreleased songs, etc etc.
There are also 5 pages that are basically homepages for the band members. Thom keeps his very regularly updated with links to sites whose spotlight shines on World Trade Organisation transgressions, and the harm that capitalism does in some areas. Ed used to update his diary quite a lot, and Jonny has used his page to show digital camera shots of places they go on tour. Phil and Colin have sadly not updated their pages in ages.
There are links to external sites with relevance to radiohead itself - waste.uk.com is the official fan site and merchandise store. They often hold back tickets to the gigs for fans to buy after they've officially sold out. There are a plethora of fansites which provide more information that most of the official music magazines ever can. In fact it has often been suspected that NME.com copies most of
its "exclusives" from the fansites.
If you're going to visit the site, much like an art gallery, take your time and look around. Browse, look for hidden things and think of it more *as* a gallery than a website.
I hope you take the time to check it out.