How Super-Fans Made a Radiohead Concert Film

Changes in YouTube policy and support from bands have created a thriving world of video bootlegs

December 20, 2012
Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs at Roseland Ballroom in New York City.
Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs at Roseland Ballroom in New York City.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Hours after Radiohead stepped offstage at New York's Roseland Ballroom in September 2011, shaky clips began popping up on YouTube. But the fans on Radiohub – a website devoted to trading high-quality Radiohead bootlegs – had much bigger plans. As they've done for a handful of other recent shows, Radiohub users pieced together a high-quality film of the entire Roseland show using footage submitted by their fellow fans. A Washington-state member who goes by the name Murmurs spent well over 1,000 hours editing the footage. "I watched each second of the video hundreds of times," she says. The project got a big boost when another fan persuaded Radiohead's management to donate soundboard audio of the show, under the condition that it be used to raise money for charity.

The Radiohead project was made possible by YouTube's decision two years ago to do away with a 15-minute maximum length for videos – leading to a flood of full concerts on the site by acts from Arcade Fire to Jay-Z. While some bands frown on this, most seem to be all for it. "It's a new world out there," says the Black Keys' manager, John Peets. "The idea that fans would engage in a process that would lead to a creative output, it's intriguing."

This story is from the December 20th, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone. 

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