Forget about your house of cards
And I'll deal mine.
So sings Radiohead in its excellent "House of Cards" off the In Rainbows album, and so declares Radiohead with the open sourcing of the data behind its "House of Cards" video. How many bands do you know that have their own spot on Google's open-source code site? Radiohead does.
As The Guardian notes, the experiment is not without some difficulty (a bit like other open-source projects, ironically):
Google has also provided a handy visualiser to help you play around with the code, although, theoretically at least, you should be able to mashup the data on a range of video editing applications, including QuickTime Pro and the open-source VirtualDub. You should be able to use iMovie on the iPhone as well....
Early reports from the group, which launched on Monday, indicate that the data visualisation is tricky. Several users reported that the visualisation failed to work or was distorted. The less technically inclined can make do with a nifty desktop application that allows you to play around with a visualisation of Thom Yorke's head.
Yet another example of Radiohead pushing the mainstream music industry toward alternative ways to distribute and create music, and the media around it. The video's director, James Frost, captures this well:
In a weird way [the project] is a direct reflection of where we are in society. Everything is [computer] data. Everything around us is data-driven in some shape or form. We are so reliant on it that it seems like our lives are digital.
Radiohead's music is supernal. Its grasp of how to promote and extend that music may even be better. Radiohead has found that 100-percent free is probably not the right model, but it is unshackling its "code" in ways that take us closer to that ideal.