Why Radiohead set up a new company each time they release an album

It’s not unlike Radiohead to seek out innovative ways of distributing their music

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The Independent Online

Radiohead have set up a new company, fuelling rumours that a new album could be on the cards.  

Dawn Chorus was actually set up in October 2015, but only came to light last week. Fans are excited because Radiohead have a history of setting up a company in the months before an album is released.

Before the King of Limbs was released in 2011, Radiohead set up Ticker Tape Limited (originally called Make Bread Limited). Even earlier, there was Xurbia Xendless Limited, which was incorporated in July 2007, before the release of In Rainbows.

Nigel Godrich, Radiohead's "sixth member" and long-time producer, has also posted a cryptic gif on TwitterThe Independent has contacted Radiohead for comment. 

Chris Panayi, an accountant whose clients have included Disclosure, Emile Sande and Foals, said that it is not unusual for a band to form a new company for each project, just as it’s not usual for corporations to do the same.

“By doing so, that particular project is ring-fenced both in terms of its financial and business activity.

“It also makes for a more identifiable and independent project especially if there are other businesses that are simultaneously being operated by that band/corporation,” Panayi said.

In other words, a limited company like the ones Radiohead set up protects the investor by shielding them from the fallout from any other activities the artist is involved in. 

It also protects Radiohead if they album is a flop, by stopping investors from going after their gains from other projects.

Dawn Chorus is actually a limited liability partnership, which means that if one member of the band disappears half way through the project, the other members aren’t financially liable.

It’s not unlike Radiohead to seek out innovative ways of distributing their work. Some thought Radiohead had “confirmed the death of the music business” when the band decided to let people pay whatever they wanted for its seventh album In Rainbows.

Thom told Wired magazine that the pay-what-you-want model made the band more money than they had for any other album.

That’s not to say it was necessarily the highest grossing album, just that the band got to keep the proceeds from digital sales – which, according to Thom, wasn’t the case during their six-album deal with EMI.

As for the company name: a song called Dawn Chorus was first mentioned by Thom Yorke in an interview with Chilean TV network TVN way back in 2009.

When asked what his favourite Radiohead song was, Thom replied: “Whatever… I’m finishing at the moment. Um, there’s one called “Dawn Chorus” I’m trying to finish at the moment: that’s really great… I think.”

If Thom’s to be believed, we could be about to hear his favourite Radiohead song yet.