Colin Greenwood says bands and labels should "embrace" the technology...

Radiohead have become the first British band to speak out against the decision to shut down Napster, saying bands and labels should “embrace” the technology.

Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood was interviewed on the BBC news programme Newsnight last night (July 27) about the implications for the music industry of a California Court ruling in favour of the Recording Industry Association Of America – effectively forcing Napster to remove all copyrighted MP3 files by midnight tonight.

Speaking as part of a debate, Greenwood remained in favour of the controversial file-sharing technology, accusing major record companies of having their “head in the sand”. He said: “I wouldn’t want to defend people who are making money out of our music but at the same time the important thing is to embrace this technology and not put your head in the sand like so many record companies have done because it is not going away.

“For us as a group it has given us a new lease of life because it has enabled us to do various things like perform live concerts, webcasts from our studio, shoot videos ourselves which cost a fraction of video budgets normally.”

Greenwood also cited the example of the band’s recent European tour – within hours most of their shows were available in full on Napster. He continued: “We have just finished a tour, we played in Barcelona, the next day the entire performance was up on Napster and three weeks later when we got to play in Israel the audience knew the words to all the new songs and it was wonderful.

“Digital music is just one of many things that contribute to an artist getting their message across and of course it is going to change record companies are going to have to embrace it and change with it and find different ways of getting revenue, maybe using Napster as a business model for their own on-line thing.”