XL recordings has taken the first step in the transfer of Radiohead’s catalogue from Parlophone to the Beggars imprint, a spokesperson for the label has confirmed.
Speculation surrounding the group’s catalogue activity started on Monday, when fans noticed that a number of Radiohead B-sides and rarities had disappeared from streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. In addition, all albums up to and including Hail to the Thief listed on streaming sites are attributed to XL Recordings. According to XL, the “main albums” are being made available in their original form to begin with, “before non-LP material is reconfigured.”
“As a result of a change in rights ownership of Radiohead’s catalogue, the band’s catalogue on Spotify has been streamlined, meaning that a small number of products are no longer available,” Spotify told the Guardian. “However, the band’s core album catalogue remains available to their millions of fans on Spotify as before.”
While this suggests that plans for their ninth album are taking shape – the move may also suggest that the much talked about divestment by Warner Music Group of certain assets following its acquisition of Parlophone in 2013 has started.
The group have a longstanding relationship with the Beggars group label: Thom Yorke’s 2006 solo album the Eraser was released through XL, while physical editions of In Rainbows, The King of Limbs and its remix versions TKOL RMX 1234567 were released through XL imprint labels worldwide except in North America. In 2013, XL released Amok, by Thom Yorke’s Atoms For Peace side-project, worldwide.
Radiohead’s revolutionary pay-what-you-like download of In Rainbows was self-released in October 2007, a move that saw the band regain control over their output. While the band were completing the album, private equity firm Terra Firma had taken over their label EMI, which they had been signed to on a six-album deal since 1991, and through which they had released Pablo Honey, The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief.
For now, XL’s statement still raises questions about the band’s archive, and leaves fans in the dark about the format in which the next Radiohead album will be released. Recently, eagle-eyed observers on the Radiohead forum At Ease discovered that the group had founded a new company called Dawn Chorus LLP – whose five officers are the five members of the band. This move echoed that of their last two records, for which the band set up companies shortly before they were released.