I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again — the polarization of media consumption keeps on escalating. The day after Borders went out of business I find myself reading on Grub Street about how a set of $625 cookbooks are rapidly selling out. I’ve long found it fascinating how mega-brands like Newsweek struggle to turn a profit while over on Mercer Street, the folks at Visionaire have been churning out deluxe magazines typically costing at least a couple hundred dollars since 1991 without a hitch. Apples and oranges in terms of content, perhaps, but the point is that in the realm of media publishing, as things get more crap and diluted overall with the majority of product becoming either free or extremely affordable, there’s a simultaneous growth in demand for a truly luxury experience.
Radiohead’s controversial experiment with their release of In Rainbows back in 2007 was truly a harbinger of post-consumption consumption. Their release of their digital album for free in conjunction with a super-slick and pricey LP offering basically reflected today’s consumer landscape to a T. Some people just don’t want to pay for anything or don’t care enough to pay for something, while others will sell their internal organs for a piece of something they love. The band is back this week with an announcement that they’ll be releasing a new album, The King of Limbs, digitally (not free but on the cheap) via their website on February 19. What they are calling their deluxe ‘Newspaper Album,’ which consists of two clear 10″ vinyl records in a purpose-built record sleeve, a CD and ‘”many large sheets of artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-colour piece of oxo-degradeable plastic to hold it all together,” will be shipped out in March for fans who pre-order for the obviously worth it price of $48. Around the same as a face-value ticket to see LCD Soundsystem for their farewell show at MSG! That is, if you are an evil scalper bot who was actually able to procure a ticket at the price. (Another example of astounding consumer demand in this era of Free! but I digress…)
Anyway, as usual my train of thought seems to have been hijacked by Thom Yorke. I believe what I was originally trying to say is, dude, check out these luxury books in a custom Goyard trunk I saw in a bookshop window in Montreal!