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Radiohead go digital … at last!

But no surprises as Apple's iTunes let down by Radiohead

While the world has been anxiously awaiting The Beatles back catalogue to be available as digital downloads, it's often forgotten that two other massive UK bands are also still purchasable only via the ancient medium of compact disc.

Led Zeppelin and Radiohead have apparently held out because they want the public to buy their whole albums and not ignore the crappier songs that occasionally make it past the producer.

Led Zep – who are reuniting for a one-off two-hour gig in London in November – at least never released singles in their 12 year history. Radiohead, on the other hand, have always released singles – so their sudden aversion to non-album purchases is less understandable.

Weirder still, Radiohead appear to be a very digital, modern band: they blog while touring and recording, have their own online TV thing going on, call their masterpiece album (or CD as we have still been able to call it) 'OK Computer', and have released at least two albums of electronic bleepy blop music. Fairport Convention they are not...

Singer Thom Yorke is also fond of shouting about global warming – and yet has stuck with the planet-sapping CD format instead of the practically carbon-neutral download.

Now they have decided that releasing only CDs is silly and are to go digital – although they're holding out to their nonsensical demands of no individual track downloads. And that means 'Sorry, but no' to the daddy of all digital download services, Apple's iTunes.

The band's record label EMI has an exclusive UK deal with little-known digital retailer 7digital, which will issue the songs as bundled DRM (Digital Rights Management)-free MP3s (which will play on the iPod).

Albums are only available as "complete bundles", preventing tracks from being bought individually – er, unless they're singles. Go figure.

BTW, don't expect The Beatles catalogue to go download before they've been digitally remastered - apparently underway right now under the watchful gaze of Giles Martin (son of Sir George, 5th Beatle, etc).

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