Freeloaders Outnumber Paying Downloaders of Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’

November 6, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Retail & E-Commerce

The release of Radiohead‘s “In Rainbows” album has challenged the music industry’s traditional distribution and sales model by allowing consumers to determine the price they are willing to pay; a comScore study looks at downloads and online sales of “In Rainbows.”

During the first 29 days of October, 1.2 million people worldwide visited the “In Rainbows” site, with a significant percentage of visitors ultimately downloading the album, according to comScore.

Among the findings of comScore’s study:

  • Some 38% of global downloaders of the album willingly paid, with the remaining 62% choosing to pay nothing.
  • The proportion of those downloading for free in the US (60%) is only marginally lower than in the rest of the world (64%):


  • While freeloaders appear to be as prevalent in the US as elsewhere, US paying customers are willing to pay far more ($8.05 per download) than international counterparts ($4.64), possibly because US consumers generally have more disposable income but also because free file-sharing is more prevalent elsewhere:


  • Of those who were willing to pay, the largest percentage (17%) paid less than $4.
  • However, a significant percentage (12%) were willing to pay between $8-$12, or approximately the cost to download a typical album via iTunes – and those consumers accounted for more than half (52%) of all sales in dollars:

Consumers visiting the album site can also choose to purchase the Discbox, which includes a vinyl album, bonus CD, and assortment of other trinkets, at the site for a set price of approximately $80.

(For a discussion of the model adopted by Radiohead is likely to succeed, despite the prevalence of freeloaders, see the post at the comScore blog.)

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