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November 07, 2007

62% of Radiohead Fans Downloaded for Free

Last month, Radiohead released their newest album, In Rainbows, on their website and invited fans to decide for themselves how much they want to pay to download. An "internet monitoring" company has a sample of the results:

Some 62 percent of the people who downloaded "In Rainbows" in a four- week period last month opted not to pay the British alt-rockers a cent. But the remaining 38 percent voluntarily paid an average of $6, according to the study by comScore Inc.

American fans were most generous (those who paid at all), paying on average $8.05 for the album. Fans outside the U.S. who paid spent an average of $4.64.

The success of this experiment depends on whether Radiohead had to earn back an advance from their label. I suspect that Radiohead is big enough that they didn't have to take an advance from the label and could afford the recording and distribution costs themselves.

Which means that even if only 40% of downloading fans paid an average of $6, they may still have come out well ahead of their usual take for a new album.

Radiohead plans to release the album on CD at some point. I'd be interested to know how how much the online distribution cuts into those sales.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 11:21 AM

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