Radiohead Open Sources a Music Video

by Ostatic Staff - Jul. 17, 2008

I'm always interested in the offbeat ways that the benefits of the open source model--lots of eyeballs, community efforts--can be applied to new types of ideas. We posted about several non-software focused efforts in this area recently.  Now, as The Guardian is reporting, the band Radiohead has a new spin on this concept. Its new single "House of Cards" has a video that was created using advanced visualization techniques and various computer-rendered models. The band has teamed up with Google to release the data for the promo as open source using a Creative Commons license. Take a gander at how it looks here--better than a lot of music videos in my opinion.

Radiohead, as you may recall, made waves not long ago when it released an entire album and invited the downloading community to pay whatever it saw fit--including nothing in some cases--for the album. The average downloader who did pay ended up paying about $6 for the album, according to ComScore. That's quite something when you consider that recording artists usually get about $1 per CD sold when they release their music through labels and the grip of the RIAA.

Here are some of the advanced techniques that were used to create House of Cards, from the Google Code site: "No cameras or lights were used. Instead two technologies were used to capture 3D images: Geometric Informatics and Velodyne LIDAR. Geometric Informatics scanning systems produce structured light to capture 3D images at close proximity, while a Velodyne Lidar system that uses multiple lasers is used to capture large environments such as landscapes. In this video, 64 lasers rotating and shooting in a 360 degree radius 900 times per minute produced all the exterior scenes."

If you want to create a visualization variant of the Radiohead video, the band will view entries at this YouTube page. Being a musician myself, I like to see this kind of variant of the open source model applied in this way. I have also appreciated similar efforts from the band Nine Inch Nails. It has solicited actual musical parts and remixes--such as recorded guitar solos--from its audience on the Internet, and then incorporated the best ones in its songs, with credits for the contributors. Hey, what works works.