Alright, I’ll admit it: despite the headline above, a downloadable library card may be the least exciting part of the “Radiohead Public Library,” a new online collection of the band’s material. But the clever touch emphasizes how much the Radiohead Public Library (henceforth RPL) does feel like browsing a particularly chaotic research archive. And just like a library, it can point you toward some of the band’s lesser-known work — including its debut album Drill.
The archive launched today, and in a brief introduction, the band describes it as “an online resource containing videos, music, artwork, websites, merchandise, and assorted ephemera.” It’s very loosely arranged by album, and as NME notes, you can find links to work that’s been historically tough to find online. The four–track Drill was just added to the band’s YouTube channel. TKOL RMX 8, an addendum to the 2011 remix album TKOL RMX 1234567, is back online after its original digital stream went down.
You can register for a library account to place merchandise orders, but the card itself is just a downloadable image file — ideally, you should probably print it out, crop an awkwardly shot passport photo onto it, and laminate it for future use.
RPL also contains scanned newsletters, album art, and a store where you can order dozens of old Radiohead t-shirt designs — they’ll start shipping February 3rd. NME writes that band members Colin and Jonny Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, Philip Selway, and Thom Yorke will each serve as a “librarian” for one day from now until January 24th — Colin Greenwood posted a curated playlist this morning with some commentary and a picture of his library card.
Radiohead has expressed ambivalence of major streaming services, but the band has also made swaths of its catalog available for free in the past — including the pay-what-you-want album In Rainbows. It also released 18 hours of previously unheard OK Computer studio sessions last year, following a blackmail threat by a hacker.