Radiohead bragging rights- what does it all mean?

by Jason Gross

21 October 2008

 

Nasty Little Man, who manages Radiohead’s affairs, posted this info about sales from their last album.

* In Rainbows has sold three million copies thus far, a figure that includes downloads from Radiohead.com, physical CDs, a deluxe 2-CD/vinyl box set, as well as sales via iTunes and other digital retailers.

* The In Rainbows deluxe edition sold 100,000 copies via Radiohead fan service W.A.S.T.E.

* Radiohead made more money prior to In Rainbows’ January 2008 physical release than its total take on 2003’s Hail To the Thief.

* The physical release of In Rainbows entered both the US and UK charts at #1 in January, despite having been freely available since October 2007.

Pretty impressive, right?  Yes but… it would be interesting to hear who much of the 3 million sold were downloads and how many were CD’s as a measure how the two balanced against each other.  Nevertheless, in this digital age, you can’t scoff at sales like that- fewer and fewer acts are able to rake in multi-platinum sales.  Even more impressive is that they could have a number one record after offering it up for pay-what-you want.  The initial impact of this revolutionary release idea shook up the biz but these sales figures should cement how much of a success it was and why other big acts shouldn’t be scared to take chances like this.  No doubt that the pay-what-you-want model got them lots of publicity and sales but the fact that they made more money this time than when the just did a regular release through a major label should give artists some good for thought and make the majors start worrying even more about how uncreative and unprepared they still are to deal with an Internet-age audience.

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