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Was Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’ Web Experiment a Success?


A full year after its industry-busting, pay-what-you-want online release last October, details regarding the sales for Radiohead’s In Rainbows have finally been released. The verdict? Most Radiohead heads are cheap. Really cheap. But a little publicity goes a long way.

According to, “most” fans chose to pay nothing for the album. Even so, Rainbows still raked in more cash than the band’s previous album, 2003’s Hail to the Thief. Chock Rainbows‘ sales up to the newsworthy online experiment, which more than likely attracted new audiences. Rainbows was taken off the web at the end of 2007 and physically released in January before topping the charts in both the U.S. and U.K.

Warner Chappell, the publishing company behind the release of In Rainbows, has refused to reveal the average price paid for the album. But the company’s Jane Dyball said that Warner Chappell and Radiohead’s management were constantly monitoring the average price, and was considering canceling the pay-what-you-want download if the price became too low. Dyball said the online experiment was a financial success.

We’re cheap, too, so let’s just hope Radiohead plan to release their next album the same way!