Another Radiohead Retrospective

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

It has been just over month since U.K.’s greatest export since the Beatles placed their 8th full-length album online. Their pay-as-you-see-fit worldwide experiment left the industry shaking in their boots, scratching their heads and might have revolutionized a form of business. Many are asking, what’s the real effect of Radiohead’s release of In Rainbows?

It has been just over month since U.K.’s greatest export since the Beatles placed their 8th full-length album online. Their pay-as-you-see-fit worldwide experiment left the industry shaking in their boots, scratching their heads and might have revolutionized a form of business. Many are asking, what’s the real effect of Radiohead’s release of In Rainbows?

Based on statistics from the Internet Research Group, ComScore, the results weren’t very promising. Of the 1.2 million fans who visited the band’s site in the first 30 days of the release (the vast majority to download the album) 38 percent paid $6.00, where as the other 62 percent paid nothing. In addition, ComScore found that Americans paid more than other country’s who purchased In Rainbows .

On the other hand, according to Nielsen SoundScan, it was discovered that Radiohead’s seven other albums rose in sales by 35.8 percent in the four weeks following their latest release. Sales of OK Computer increased by 21 percent in the monthly period. The legendary groundbreakers now sit comfortably at No. 3 on Billboard’s Buzz 100 Chart.

In regards to the ComScore findings, the band was quick to reply in their statement that the statistics found were “wholly inaccurate” and “in no way reflect definitive market intelligence or, indeed, the true success of the project.”

The statement concluded “the groups representatives would like to remind people that, as the album could only be downloaded from the band’s Web site, it is impossible for outside organizations to have accurate figures on sales.”

In Rainbows will be released January 14 on Vinyl and CD. XL is set to handle all physical distribution outside of the U.S. Details for physical release in the U.S. are still being finalized at this point in time.

Radiohead’s former label, EMI-Parlophone, is readying the release of a box set containing their six releases (and a live album) with the label. The box set will compete against the release of In Rainbows this winter, and is being released without the full consent of the band.

Not unlike their music, the events surrounding Radiohead as of late have left us with a sense of wonder. Their effect on the industry has been undeniable yet the impact of In Rainbows will only fully reveal itself with time.


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