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Thanks for the Free Album, Radiohead!

11/6/2007 6:10 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

radioheadMore than six out of 10 people who downloaded the new Radiohead album, "In Rainbows," did so for free after the band gave users the freedom to pay whatever they wanted. How does "nothing" sound?

Of the people that did fork over some cash, the average price paid was about $6. Nearly 1.2 million people downloaded the album -- do the math; that's a total of $2.736 mil.

That's not nearly as much as they would have made selling the album normally, but then again, they don't have to pay a record label any dues. Radiohead, stickin' it to the man!


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gracias radiohead

2486 days ago


What a bunch of cheap people!!! I paid $20 because of the idea and the manner in which it shoots cash to the artists....Way to go morons...Bet this doesn't happen again...

2486 days ago


In Rainbows is quite a good album. In fact, I even bought the box set. Good work Radiohead.

2486 days ago


oh come ON tmz!!!!
dont any of you know math??
a simple look at the NUMBERS (shock) tell a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORY.

they aren't releasing how many actually purchased, or downloaded the radiohead album. but really, they did release some statistics, and using those it doesn't matter what numbers you plug in, it all looks rosy for radiohead.

"Between Oct. 1 and Oct. 29, about 1.2 million people visited the Web site the band set up for fans to download the album, comScore said Monday. " "Among U.S. residents, about 40 percent who downloaded the album paid to do so. Their average payment was $8.05, the firm said. "

then lets use those numbers. really, the overall NUMBER of people who dl'd the album from radiohead doesn't matter. no matter how many that was, it comes out good for radiohead. let's take a look:

the typical take for an artist on a cd sale from a major label is right around $1.50 . that's right, when you go plunk down 17 dollars for a cd, a fraction of that actually goes to the artist. so:
1,200,000 times 1.50 = $1.8 million which is what they would have received if a major label had released the album.
doing it radioheads way?
1,200,000 times 40% = 480,000 people who actually paid for it. times the average price, 8.05, you get this: $3,864,000.00

whoa... wait a minute... all those articles make it seem like radiohead got the shaft, had a dumb idea, and got ripped off by most people! but that's completely FALSE, they got at least 3 TIMES what they would have received the old fashioned way (some are estimating they actually got 6-10 million). These articles SHOULD be saying "Only 40% of people pay for album, but radiohead still comes out WAY ahead"

they would have received FAR LESS had they done it the old fashioned way, you're last line there is completely wrong! these guys made out like bandits and it's all good, nothing going to corporate fatcats!
-- Valis

2486 days ago

papa bear    

GREAT analysis, Valis. It's true. Radiohead made out like BANDITS. They made far more than they normally would.
Most media outlets painting it as them getting the shaft, are also, coincidentally, owned my media conglomerates that own a stake in record companies.
No major artist with any kind of name recognition should ever consider releasing an album on a major label ever again.
I'm not even a big Radiohead fan but I plunked down some cash to DL their album to support what I hope becomes a new way of putting music out there.

2486 days ago

Lola La Pistola    

I was thinking what #4 said. Brilliant, Radiohead. YOU made the record. YOU, and you alone, deserve to profit from it.

Love you, Radiohead.

2486 days ago


TMZ is just plain wrong. Artists of Radiohead's caliber might command $2 per unit PLUS have to reimburse their record company for promoting the album. This way, they kept the $8 and spent zero on promotion. Also, just because "1.2 million visited the site and 40% of people paid for the CD", those figures DON'T say how many people actually visited but didn't purchase. Website "hits" and "visitors" are meaningless, subjective statistics that no one has a handle on. Lastly, this "free" album streamed at only 128 bit and was poor quality for most Radiohead fan standards. Once the actual CD is available and this little gimmick is over, tons of fans will clamor for CD quality sound and they'll get massive more sales. And note that next year they're going on their first World Tour in a long, long time because they hate touring. There's only one reason to world tour, and that's MONEY and lots of it.

2486 days ago


I love the idea and I love Radiohead. I am enjoying it tremendously, and for that reason I paid 5 pounds (maybe $12; I wasn't sure about the conversion rate!) My point is that payment is the best way to show them I appreciate the music and their artistry. I'm not sending some fan letter; I am putting my money where my mouth is! I do think it's bad karma to download it without paying for it; after all, I would not leave a brick and mortor store without paying for my purchase.

2486 days ago


"More than six out of ten who downloaded the new album did so for free"
I think part of that is because people who weren't fans downloaded the album to see what it was like. for example I downloaded the album and if I liked I was going to download it again and pay $10 but I didn't like it so I never paid. Did that make sense?

2486 days ago


they blow!

2486 days ago


"that's a total of 2.736 mil"...yeah in BRITISH POUNDS....which is around 4 or 5 million dollars...get it right TMZ!!!

they made out well.

2486 days ago


It's too early to know what exactly they will make , but I would rather make nothing to make a statement on what I believe is fair. And I believe they're going to make a ton load with concerts to promo the album. Don't forget , they will have it in stores in cd in January .But to reflect back on the download purchase, I waited a few days so I wouldn't be waiting from the huge flux of downloads. And there was a server clog from what I hear and read. If that doesn't say enough ! Believe not what your hearing, but whats your seeing. That is the truth. Now if you want to compare...wait till it hits the shelf in January and look at the whole picture.

2486 days ago


People who like Radiohead are usually broke losers of the kind who hang out smoking at independent coffee shops and ranting about politics (to anyone who will pretend to listen) and generally failing to become successful themselves. Trust me, I've dated half of them.

But the Radiohead boys aren't quite as dumb as their fans, and they did something rather intelligent. Thanks to #4 for saving me the effort of putting my math degree to good use and cleaning up the calculations in this post.

2486 days ago

Honky D    

I hope Radiohead demonstrates that this can be a successful model. Independence from corporate-dominated media is essential for culture to thrive. Bands like Radiohead and and internet stations like are paving the way, showing the rest how it can be done.

2486 days ago


So #11 dates dumb, broke losers. Where were you when I was single?

2486 days ago
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