Capitol Records had a problem. The year was 2000, and one of the biggest bands on its roster was about to release the highly anticipated follow-up to its breakthrough album without a radio single or music video. The band members also declined most interview requests, and as far as the executives at Capitol were concerned, radio stations, MTV, and music magazines weren't just cogs in the record-industry hype machine - they were the only way to get your music heard by millions of people.
In time, the album in question, Kid A, would become one of the most popular and acclaimed releases by the era's most respected rock group, Radiohead. But in the weeks leading up to the record's release on October 3, 2000, Capitol faced a real dilemma: Sure, hard-core Radiohead fans might know about Kid A. But what about the rest of the world?
At least one Capitol executive, however, viewed Radiohead's promotional reticence as an opportunity. For Robin Sloan Bechtel, the label's head of new media, Kid...