The first concrete analysis of Radiohead’s innovative pay-what-you-like plan for latest album In Rainbows shows thirty-eight percent of those who downloaded the title indeed chose to pay something, while 62 percent kept their change in their pocket. ComScore (NSDQ: SCOR) data (via release) shows 1.2 million people visited the site in the first 29 days of October (it was launched at the start of the month).
The average price paid was $6 (£2.88) on a globalised basis but Americans were more generous, coughing up $8.05 (£3.87) – factor in the freeloaders, however, and it’s more like an average $2.26 (£1.08) on a worldwide basis and $3.23 (£1.55) from Americans. The most common amount offered was below $4 (£1.92), but 12 percent were willing to pay between $8 (£3.84) and $12 (£5.77), around the typical cost of an album from iTunes.
What this doesn’t tell us is how many “copies” of In Rainbows have been sold (in the middle of October, Gigwise quoted an unattributed source as saying 1.2 million albums had been shifted – and joined the dots to a poll in which a majority of consumers said they paid £4 to suggest Radiohead pulled in £4.8 million in around a week). Nor does it account for copies of the album circulating via Bit Torrent and file-sharing networks. P2P music tracker Big Champagne has previously estimated such transmissions had greatly outnumbered downloads via the official channel. Nevertheless, having let their EMI deal expire without resigning a label deal, Radiohead will get to keep more of the income.