Profero Thumbs/Up – Radiohead Nude/Remix

radiohead-tickets-jpg-870x570_q70_crop-smart_upscaleBrand: Radiohead
Initiative: Nude Re-Mix
Markets: Global

Radiohead are an English alternative rock band from Oxfordshire whose international fame didn’t arrive until the launch of their third album in 1997, ‘OK Computer’, which has been acclaimed as a landmark record of the 1990’s. After a major fall-out with one of the biggest record labels worldwide, EMI, in 2007 Radiohead independently released their seventh album, In Rainbows, originally as a digital download for which each customer could set their own price, later in stores, to critical and chart success. Radiohead have sold approximately 30 million albums as of 2008.


After a groundbreaking marketing initiative with the ‘pay-as-much-as-you-want’ album launch, what could Radiohead do to once again connect with their fans but at the same time promote their music in a new creative way

To promote the new single NUDE far from any promotion involving their already acclaimed album, Radiohead decided to give their fans a platform to re-mix the new song and create a new ‘entertainment-movement’ around sharing and creation of original music content

The Idea

  • Users could download from iTunes all the stems from the single NUDE, including bass, voice, guitar, strings/fx and drums for $5.99
  • Once downloaded, you could mix them in any way you liked, either by adding your own beats and instrumentation, or just remixing the original parts.
  • Although the Apple Garageband software was not required to remix the songs, if you purchased all five ’stems’ from iTunes during the first week they were available, you’d be sent an access code to a GarageBand file ready to open in GarageBand or Logic. (Smart partnership here to demo the programs)
  • Once mixes were completed, they could be uploaded within the new RadioheadRemix website dedicated to the initiative – where the public could listen and vote for their favorite remix
  • Also, users could create a widget allowing votes from their own website, Facebook or MySpace page to be counted as ‘mix votes’ back

The Results

  • Overall the website received 6,193,776 unique visitors
  • 2,252 was the number of mixes submitted
  • 461,090 votes were casted
  • 1,745,304 was the final number of tracks listened by the end of the campaign
  • The single was sold incredibly well that “Nude” was Radiohead’s first entry in the Billboard Hot 100 in twelve years.
  • The initiative was so well received that the English band is ‘doing it again’.With only $0.99 cents to buy all 6 of the stems, they have started a second remix contest, this time for their song “Reckoner”

The Learnings

  • Cut down the barriers  / Initiatives like this where content creation is solely up to the consumer, barriers to entry must be particularly low. Make it as simple, appealing and rewarding as possible and your consumers will give it a go.
  • Don’t leave me out! / Establishing a solid relationship with your core audience is always a must and your initiatives may sometimes only include this group. However, when barriers to entry are pretty low and the campaign is talking to a broader audience you may potentially reach new acquisitions from users who may have never been interested in your service or product (in this case your music)
  • Stay truthful to your objectives / If we analyze the results, ‘only’ 0.04% entered remixes and 28% listened to the song. Although this may sound low 0.04% isn’t so insignificant when it’s 2,252 mixes. Because the ultimate objective was to solely bring attention to their single outside of the context of their already previously promoted album ‘In Rainbows’, the success is in the 6 million people who engaged with the song in any way, and that enough people interacted with the site in some way to influence their networks and generate a viral growth for the site.
  • Create timelines and ‘Virability’ / You should always structure your campaign/competition so that you give a set time for usership to build and grow – set deadlines, sharable tools  and different phases to a concept are going to give enough time for people to bond with the idea and for words to spread ‘virally’.