Radiohead “Rainbows” Download Details


Three million copies
(digital + physical) and counting.


By Fred Mills


Just over a year ago, on Oct. 10, everyone’s fave musical
mavericks Radiohead – who make that other maverick, John McSame, look like
Howdy Doody by comparison [Er, wot’s that
got to do with anything? And you used the Howdy Doody schtick yesterday. – Ed.
– made their album In Rainbows available for download on a pay-what-you-like basis. Since then the band has
declined to reveal exactly how many downloads took place or what the average
price people forked over was; it’s been assumed that most fans entered “zero”
as their download price.


Now it turns out that assumption was erroneous. The UK media
is reporting today that while exact statistics haven’t yet been revealed – it’s
expected that later today Warner Chappell, which administers the publishing for
In Rainbows, will go into detail at
the “You Are In Control” media conference in Iceland – the download made more
money before [the album] was physically released” on December 31 than the total
that In Rainbows‘ predecessor, 2003’s
Hail to the Thief, had taken in to


Read an in-depth report on this and related matters HERE.


Writes, “According to [Warner Chappell] there
were a total of three million album purchases including the box sets, CDs and
all downloads including iTunes and pay-what-you-like downloads via their
official site…. Their previous three albums sold in the low hundreds of thousands.”


One fascinating behind-the-scenes tidbit: “The band and
their management never announced a timeline for the pay-what-you-like
experiment and were watching the average price daily with a view to potentially
withdrawing it any moment should it drop too low. The average price went down
after the download moved from uberfans to less committed fans.”




  • Three
    million albums sold in digital and physical form.
  • During
    the period it was theoretically available for free it went to #1 in the UK and in the US.
  • As the
    first Radiohead album to be offered for sale digitally at iTunes it became
    the #1 album there, selling 30,000 units in the US in the first week.
  • The
    physical CD has sold 1.75 million to date.
  • 100,000
    copies of the limited edition box set were sold.



Sounds like a successful experiment by musical mavericks to







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