In the mid 90’s Radiohead were one of the first bands to build a website and as singer Thom Yorke explains , since then the band have, “Actively tried to create a community outside of seriously f***** lame-arse websites that major record companies would build.”
Their website has undergone many iterations since then and now at radiohead.com you can visit the Radiohead Public Library where the many versions are brought back to life covering every era of the band. The library’s creation has been a labour of love for the band’s long time web designer Max Kolombos who was worried that online searches about the band produced a rather disjointed set of results. He says,
“What came back was a soup of remarkably disconnected content that was reverse chronological, algorithmically picked by popularity, or just wildly inaccurate. This bothered me, but as I tried to find all the missing material, I ended up crafting some extremely byzantine search queries and frequently coming up empty-handed. It all felt very wrong.”
Realising that just because stuff is put on line it doesn’t stay around forever he concluded that this old digital material needed to be organised and archived.
“Old websites had to be found and coaxed into running on modern servers, ancient T-shirt designs digitally restored so they could be reprinted on demand, and management tirelessly worked to secure all the needed footage,” he says.
One thing missing from the library is the social media platform that never was, as Thom Yorke explains,
“We came up with this idea to create something we called a ziggurat. Each person would have a room, and you could leave your own shit there, your opinions on stuff, bits of music, what you’re up to. And then you move into different rooms, message each other. Like a weird, twisted version of Facebook.”
So although they narrowly missed inventing social media the band have been as innovative on line as they have musically.
Of course they are also one of the first bands to have their own radio station! You can hear music from every era of their existence on