Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jeffrey Bennett - Chair

Second Advisor

Ted Friedman

Third Advisor

Kathryn Fuller-Seeley


In 2007, Radiohead released a downloadable album, In Rainbows, allowing consumers to pay what they thought the album was worth. The band responded to a moment of change in the music industry. Since then, other bands, like Nine Inch Nails and Coldplay, have made similar moves. Radiohead's capability to release an album and let the fans decide its worth relied on the image they built, which foregrounded their commodification. The historic move redefined the boundaries between art and commodity, a well know tension in popular music studies. The thesis focuses on popular music as communication in the changing industry. Using Radiohead’s album as a case study, it looks at the changing boundaries in the tension between art and commodity. The thesis examines Radiohead's performance, its mediation by the press, and what the album’s distribution method meant to the fans.


Included in

Communication Commons