Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chasing In Rainbows: Radiohead accounts

About-a-year-on, Warner Chappell, the publishers for Radiohead's catalogue, have revealed some of the sales figures for In Rainbows.

Tellingly, they still don't confirm what the average amount paid per download was, but the company confirms that three million tracked copies of the album were sold - across the box set, various official download sites and the pay-what-you-want site. As the Music Ally blog points out, this compares with six-figure sales for the last three albums from the band; it's also despite there being far more copies harvested online in the traditional (i.e. without paying) fashion.

Yes, it's Radiohead and it doesn't mean that Frank from the pub would sell millions if he adopted the model, but even so - Radiohead did much, much better financially than they would have done if they'd just shipped a load of CDs to HMV and skidded on the iTunes. What the figures can't show is what the effect would have been had In Rainbows been one of dozens of albums from dozens of bands being released in a similar fashion - how much the boost came from the flexible payment scheme, and how far it was down to the publicity around the idea.