Radiohead Fans: You Didn’t Actually Expect Us To <i>Pay</i> For <i>In Rainbows</i>, Did You?


Remember last month, in the wake of Radiohead’s pay-what-you-will announcement, when every news outlet and blog was polling its readership as to how much they would be willing to plunk down on In Rainbows? And remember when all those Radiohead fans claimed they would be supporting their favorite band in its paradigm-busting endeavor by paying a reasonable amount? Well, it looks like some of them were fibbing.

ComScore, “a leader in measuring the digital world,” has apparently kept an eye on just who was paying for In Rainbows and how much they were forking over. The answer? As little as could be squeezed out:

During the first 29 days of October, 1.2 million people worldwide visited the “In Rainbows” site, with a significant percentage of visitors ultimately downloading the album. The study showed that 38 percent of global downloaders of the album willingly paid to do so, with the remaining 62 percent choosing to pay nothing. The percent downloading for free in the U.S. (60 percent) is only marginally lower than in the rest of the world (64 percent).

Everyone who foresaw this development can now give themselves a gold star. Of course, no one has obtained any firm numbers directly from the band or its management just yet–a rainbow-colored grain of salt for the time being–but even if this data pans out and Radiohead’s point has been somewhat undermined by their “freeloading” fans, as ComScore’s Gian Fulgoni told the Chicago Tribune:

He noted that an e-commerce Web site typically converts about 5 percent of its traffic into sales in a given month. The conversion rate for the Radiohead album will be “substantially higher,” he said. “You can see this getting up into the millions of dollars.”

See, not a total failure. Champagne for everyone, then.

For Radiohead Fans, Does “Free” + “Download” = “Freeload”? [ComScore]