On Tuesday afternoon, the line outside of Amoeba Music on Sunset Boulevard snaked around the corner, blocked the parking garage on Cahuenga Boulevard and continued to De Longpre Avenue. The music enthusiasts weren’t waiting for a free show or a vinyl sale. They were in line for The Universal Sigh, a 12-page broadsheet newspaper.
In alternative rock band Radiohead’s newest marketing ploy (other albums have arrived with a clothbound book or a stencil), it sent representatives to distribute newspapers around the world in conjunction with the release of The King of Limbs, its eighth studio album. It also distributed the literary paper, which included columns and short stories, at locations in Silver Lake and Santa Monica.
Many customers bought the vinyl album before lining up for the newspaper. The album was digitally released online on Feb. 18, but some fans wanted also to own the physical version of The King of Limbs, along with any swag that went with it.
“You wait so long for an album, and any connection to it you want to get,” said Michaela Cowley, who lives in Downtown L.A.
Cowley arrived at 9:30 a.m. and was first in line. By 12:50 p.m., Amoeba employees were walking down the line, telling fans that copies of newspapers were limited to one per person.
“It’s only today," said Mark Babbitt, who came early to the music store with his friend Ramero Castro. "It’s a real sort of collector’s item.”
Castro intended to give the newspaper as a birthday gift to a friend.
Radiohead representatives shot photos of fans posing with their new newspaper for the band's website, and a videographer captured their reactions. The line dissipated in 20 minutes, and the representatives still held stacks of the newspaper in canvas bags. One young man went into Amoeba and emerged with dozens more. Fans returned for a second or third copy of the free publication.
Edgar Monsanto, a tourist from Guatemala, was happy that his trip coincided with The King of Limbs release. He said that he never expected a big line for the newspaper.
“The name is very Radiohead,” he said of the publication's title.
The broadsheet is a preview of Radiohead’s next King of Limbs project, a newspaper album with full color art and album notes, scheduled for release May 9.