Radiohead and The Art of Creating Questions



Like most record-player-owning-Instagram-users, I have Instagrammed a few pictures of my record player playing a record. Like most people’s posts of this sort, mine have represented little more than “Ooh, isn’t it interesting that I’m listening to an Aretha Franklin record while I’m doing my dishes?!” However, when people associated with a mysterious megaband post pictures like this, the resulting reaction is much bigger than the 4-7 “likes” I usually receive.

Radiohead front man, Thom Yorke, and Radiohead producer, Nigel Godrich, both recently posted a cryptic record player photo to social media. The photo features an unidentified white record spinning on a record player that sits on a dirty table, along with a power strip and a small stack of black-and-white art prints.

In response, Radiohead fans and music fans in general have started asking questions and offering speculative answers about what the photo is supposed to mean. New Radiohead album? New Thom Yorke album? Thom Yorke is listening to an Aretha Franklin record while he’s doing the dishes?

If Radiohead really is releasing a new album sometime in the near future, they could have simply put out a press release saying so. Instead, they’ve chummed the fanatical waters with the mere possibility of a new album, and have caused a wildfire of conversation about it.

The same mysterious process can’t necessarily be applied to all marketing plans, but the concept of whetting appetites by creating questions is somewhat universal. As a business (or band), you want to encourage the growth of curiosity about your product and develop that into legitimate interest and ultimately sales. You want to give prospective customers something to chew on and consider, not just a fact or facts that might just be forgotten.

What sort of questions do you want people to ask about your business?

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