Radiohead’s tight lips have opened up (gross) to finally tell the world about their pay-as-you-like experiment for selling their latest album, ‘In Rainbows’. Despite CNN’s calling it one of the dumbest moments in business last year (they were looking forward to the follow-up album, ‘In Debt’), the English rockers have earned a well deserved “we told you so” moment.
Earning a considerable amount more than they did on their previous album with nearly 1.75 million physical albums sold and 3 million copies sold total, Radiohead has earned the right to mark this down as a rousing success. It should also be noted that they made more money off of the digital distribution of ‘In Rainbows’ than they did on their previous album, ‘Hail To the Thief’ which only sold somewhere in the low hundred thousands.
Admittedly this isn’t a formula that will work every single time, some credit should be given to the fact that Radiohead is the first high profile band to have done this. But, that doesn’t mean that recognition shouldn’t be given where it’s due. Innovation in an industry such as music is something that’s rare, and it’s always welcome to see bands take moves towards getting their music into people’s ears rather than getting money into their pockets (though, this time it’s a win-win).
Radiohead, keep up the good work. Music industry, take notice.
• After being made available for free for 3 months the album was no.1 in the UK and in the US • 1st Radiohead album on iTunes – no.1 album selling 30,000 units in the US in the first week • The physical CD has sold 1.75 million to date and is still top 200 UK & US • Sold 100k boxsets via W.A.S.T.E. • Surpassed 17 million plays on last.fm • 1.2 million fans will see the tour • The digital income from the experiment made a material difference to WCM’s UK digital revenue this year