62% of fans paid nothing for Radiohead's web album


— 3:36 PM on November 6, 2007

As record labels are slowly lured into releasing music without any digital rights management protection, Radiohead has drawn quite a lot of attention with the release of its seventh album, In Rainbows. The album became available last month on the band's website with no content protection and on a "pay what you want" basis, allowing users to pay anything between £0 and £99.99 ($208) for the music.

After over a month of sales, the results are in, and the Associated Press suggests they don't look too good. According to the AP, which quotes numbers from a study by comScore, a staggering 62% of users who downloaded In Rainbows chose to pay nothing at all, while the remainder paid an average of $6. comScore's numbers say 40% of U.S. residents paid for the album, and that their contribution was an average of $8.05. Outside the United States, only 36% paid, and their payments averaged just $4.64.

That's an average of $2.28 for all downloads—not too encouraging compared to the price of a full CD. However, since the band didn't go through a record label and pocketed all the money itself, it's hard to say exactly how the "pay what you want" model actually compared to traditional CD sales.

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