Elisa Bray: Caught in the Net

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The Independent Culture

To cap the year's digital music revolution that they led, Radiohead have made their stamp on 2008 by bringing in the new year with a webcast of In Rainbows from Radiohead.tv. No, the band did not sacrifice their New Year's Eve: the broadcast was pre-recorded. It was also aired on Al Gore's television station Current TV. On the band's website, Dead Air Space, Thom Yorke (right) announced: "This is a wee celebration of the release of the physical manifestation of In Rainbows."

Following Radiohead's selling their album online without a label, and similar to Etopia music.com, which allows unknown bands to sell tracks alongside big stars (and Alldigdown.com, for signed acts), a new website has opened up the forum to unsigned bands only. Amazingtunes.com, with its slogan of "Music you're about to love", has a "fair trade" policy and gives unsigned bands and musicians the platform to take charge of their own sales and sell tracks online, bypassing record labels and so giving them the chance to earn a name without losing money to the big bosses.

Touted as "iTunes unsigned", Amazing Tunes' stated aim is to make the music industry fairer acts get a 70 per cent share of the royalties. It also gives better prices to the music buyer, and, as with blog sites, it picks out favourite tunes and artists to browse through and fans of new music can share recommendations.

Managing director Simon King says: "We wanted to create a home for fans of new music to visit and discover the music they're about to love. The content comes direct from the artist, straight to the fan, no middle man, so we can guarantee the music at amazingtunes.com is the very latest music around the world today."

Some of the bands tipped to do well this year are doing interesting things online. New York band MGMT (aka The Management), who have released their debut album, Oracular Spectacular first on iTunes before its CD release this month, have a colourful interactive video for their single "Electric Feel" on www. whoismgmt.com. Try it you'll feel like a VJ.

One of David Bowie's favourite new bands, Fanfarlo, are giving away their new demo Sand & Ice as a free download on http://rcrdlbl .com/artists/Fanfarlo/tracks. It's another sun-splashed lush pop gem from the London based six piece in the vein of Arcade Fire.

Lastly, the French/Swedish indie pop band Envelopes release their second album, Here Comes the Wind, in February on Brille, but they have released it early to fans from their website and MySpace on a desktop widget format. Download a little player on to your desktop and listen to the album in full.

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