Radiohead’s Numbers Are in and Yes the Experiment Worked

Remember Radiohead’s experiment in which they let people choosehow much they wanted to pay for their latest album In Rainbows? Call it a publicity stunt or an innovative business model but the initial numbers show that the experiment was a success. Now the final numbers are in. In short In Rainbows sold better than their last album selling 1.75 million copies of the physical CD 100.000 box sets and 30 000 units on iTunes in the US in the first week of availability. The album was number 1 in both the UK and US for the first three months; it was played 17 million times on Last.FM and even to this day it’s in the top 200 UK & US as far as sales of the physical CD go. Yes they’re a big band. Yes their audience is not the same as say Shakira’s. Yes this was one of the first such experiments and it caused a great deal of attention regardless of the music. But with these numbers it’s impossible not to call it a huge success. Essentially Radiohead has shown that - in some cases at least - it’s possible to completely cut out the middleman (read: the record label) and still have a very successful record. Furthermore they’ve proven that alternative business models are possible and that fans aren’t all mindless zombies who are only looking to get as much as they can for as little money as possible. Now it’s time for the record labels to start changing their business models - or perish. radiohead