B-sides, live tracks and other non-LP songs featured on Radiohead‘s reissued albums, spanning from 1993’s Pablo Honey to 2003’s Hail to the Thief, have been withdrawn from the major streaming services as part of a transfer of the rights of the band’s pre-In Rainbows catalog.
Eagle-eyed fans on Reddit were the first to notice the shift in the band’s streaming catalog, noting that not only had all the B-sides and other extras from the 2009 reissues been removed, but now each pre-In Rainbows studio LP album was stamped with a 2016 XL Recordings copyright. On Apple Music, In Rainbows remains tied to the band’s Xurbia Xendless LLC, while The King of Limbs is under Radiohead’s Ticker Tape Ltd.
“As a result of the transfer of Radiohead’s catalogue from Warner Music to Beggars Group [XL Recording’s parent company], the band’s catalogue on Spotify has been streamlined, meaning that a small number of products are no longer available,” a Spotify spokesman said in a statement. “However, the band’s core album catalogue remains available to their millions of fans on Spotify as before.”
A spokesperson for XL Recordings said in a statement, “This is the first step in the transfer of Radiohead’s back catalogue from Parlophone to XL. The main albums are being made available in their original form as a start, before non-LP material is reconfigured. In 2006, XL Recordings released Thom Yorke’s debut album, The Eraser. In 2007 the label released Radiohead’s In Rainbows album worldwide excluding North America, and in 2011 Radiohead’s The King Of Limbs album worldwide excluding North America. In 2013, XL released Atoms For Peace’s Amok album worldwide.”
A source close to the situation confirmed to Rolling Stone that Radiohead’s catalog was on its way to XL Recordings as part of the “divestment process” that will see Parlaphone artists’ catalogs eventually transferred to independent labels; Radiohead, perhaps the biggest name still tied to the Parlophone roster – the Beatles’ catalog was shipped to Universal as part of the EMI deal – also happened to be the first artist whose rights have changed hands in the divestment process.
Despite rumors of an impending Radiohead album and XL’s prior association with the band, the source adds that the band’s upcoming plans in no way necessitated the XL acquisition; it was coincidence that the divestment process concluded just weeks after Radiohead announced they were ending their long hiatus with a summer tour (and potentially the follow-up to The King of Limbs). While the source did not know what XL’s immediate plans for Radiohead’s catalog are, they added that it’s within their right now to reissue the albums if they choose. “It gives the band the opportunity to start fresh with a new home,” the source said.
Radiohead’s initial record contract was with the EMI subsidiary Parlophone and acrimoniously expired following the release of Hail to the Thief. Following private equity firm Terra Firma’s ill-fated purchase of EMI, the record company’s holdings were divvied up and sold to the existing major labels in 2011; while Universal purchased EMI itself, Parlophone property was bought by Warner Music, who held Radiohead’s rights until the catalog was scooped by Beggars Group.
“We are making good progress with the voluntary divestment process that Impala/Merlin and WMG agreed as part of our acquisition of Parlophone Label Group,” Warner Music said in a statement. “Numerous independent labels are involved in these negotiations and we are not commenting on individual deals at this stage.”