Radiohead's 'free' album a money spinner

Sales figures released after band's online licensing experiment

Radiohead have always been celebrated as being experimental, but even their decision to give away their last album was deemed by many to be a bit, well, strange.

Well, they didn't exactly give it away, more let the public decide the price of In Rainbows in downloadable form. Which in the era of BitTorrents usually means 'free'.

But the figures for the album that have finally been announced reveal that the online experiment was a veritable money spinner.

Money spinner

Website Music has revealed that music publishers Warner Chappell, at the 'You Are in Control' conference in Iceland, have let slip the figures for In Rainbows.

According to Warner Chappell, so far the album has hit three million purchases. This figure includes CDs, boxsets, and all downloads, which incorporates those who 'bought' from Radiohead's website and from other online music stores.

Interestingly, it is also revealed that the band made more money from In Rainbows' downloads – before the album was released on CD – than it did in total for their previous album Hail To The Thief.

This was enough money to make what Warner Chappell calls a "material difference" to its UK digital income.


Content Team Lead

Marc (Twitter, Google+) is the content team lead for Future Technology, where he is in charge of a 14-strong team of journalists who write many of the wonderful stories that end up on TechRadar, and T3 magazine. Prior to this he was deputy editor of TechRadar, had a 10-month stint editing a weekly iPad magazine, written film reviews for a whole host of publications and has been an integral part of many magazines that are no longer with us.