Remember that “Nude” remix contest we posted about last week? Holy Fuck was winning at the time. Now we have a different holy fuck. Part of the remix plans involved purchasing “stems” or song components (e.g. voice, guitar, strings, drums) separately to, in the words of the Radiohead camp, “make remixing easy.” Well, it also made getting to 37 on the Billboard Hot 100 a bit easier, too.
Rich Bradley: The Blog explains:
…Radiohead has their first Top 40 hit single since “Creep,” and that’s without getting any mainstream radio airplay or face time on MTV. There they are, just a few spots under the Jonas Brothers and a few above Taylor Swift. Congratulations to the Oxford boys and all, but seriously, what the fuck happened?
Clearly the main culprit is iTunes, which is now the biggest music retailer in the US and pretty much the only truly significant distributor of singles these days. But a bunch of web geeks all buying the “Nude” single on iTunes, months after the whole of In Rainbows was made available for free download by the band itself? Seems pretty unlikely, right?
A quick check of iTMS’ current top songs confirms my suspicion: Madonna, Mariah, Jordin Sparks, Chris Brown, et al. Four Taylor Siwft songs in the top 100, in fact, but no “Nude” — no Radiohead at all.
To figure out this puzzle you have to do a search on Radiohead. Bring up the page displaying all their available music on iTunes, and you’ll see In Rainbows, Nude (Single), Nude (Bass Stem) – Single, Nude (Drum Stem) – Single, Nude (String FX Etc. Stem) – Single, Nude (Guitar Stem) – Single, and Nude (Voice Stem) – Single. Under “Top Songs,” iTunes shows the five most popular downloads, and as you might have guessed it looks like a goddamn nudist colony.
Earlier this month, Radiohead’s label announced a contest in which you could remix “Nude” and post your track to radioheadremix.com (the prize: fleeting internet fame). You could purchase each of the “stems,” or individual instument tracks, from iTunes — for the full single price of a buck apiece. Now, there couldn’t possibly be enough people remixing Nude to account for a Top 40 hit, right? But what if each stem counts as a download for the single? That would explain why “Nude” doesn’t show up in iTMS’ chart — it’s not the quantity of people buying the song, it’s that each person who does is buying it five times. Then tack on however many downloads of the full track itself, and you’ve got yourself a hit!
In an update, Bradley notes that when he’s talking about Radiohead showing up in iTunes’ “Top Songs,” he’s “referring specifically to the Top Radiohead Songs on the artist page. The fact that all the stems dominate here shows that there is a level of popularity for each, but not enough to push them into the Top 100 songs on iTunes overall.” Gots it? While you ponder all of this zaniness, why not get in the spirit and listen to a couple Head remixes that we’ve been digging this week? First is hip hop crew Young Deuce’s “Weird Fishez,” then past Sun Kil Moon/Okkervil River violinist Alan Molina’s stunning “Nude (Strings Remix).” Hey, Alan, you helped get Radiohead where they are today! They owe you one.