According to ‘a source’ near to Radiohead ‘In Rainbows’ ‘sold’ 1.2 million copies. However the band have also officially stated that they have “decided not to give out any figures”. Which begs the question why not issue official numbers yet at the same time ‘leak’ the 1.2 million number? Could this be maneuvering to ensure they get a good distribution deal? Could the 1.2 million be overstating things?
The numbers certainly seem to be at odds with Comscore’s numbers which also talk about 1.2 million, except in this case that figure refers to their estimate of the total number of visitors to www.inrainbows.com . They go on to claim that ‘significantly more’ than 5 percent of visitors downloaded the album, of whom less than half paid. So let’s be generous and assume that 15 percent paid, that would put sales at 180,000 and the total number of downloads at 474,000, somewhat short of the 1.2 million. It also puts downloaders at less than half of all visitors for a site which is exclusively set up for downloading the album.
Of course, the latter numbers use a sample based methodology so are not ‘actuals’, just in the same way that the leaked numbers are not either. So the truth probably lies somewhere in between.
So let’s say the total sales were at 250,000 at approx 4 euros each that nets the band 1 million euros, which is of course nearly all margin for them. If 100,000 or more of those were in the UK (and if the OCC recognize their sales) they might have earned themselves a Gold Disc Award, though that falls short of the 300,000 plus Platinum Award they got for their last album ‘Hail to Thief’ (which also sold 300,000 in the first week of release alone in the US). We are of course only a month into sales and additional physical distribution should push those numbers up.
So a success? Well all of the above is of course little more then educated guesswork based upon the information available, but if they are at least directionally accurate then the conclusions would have to be:
• Highly successful marketing
• Great revenue source for the band as they don’t have to cede the majority of income to a label
• But not as successful (yet) as ‘Hail to Thief’ in terms of actual sales