Always New Mistakes

November 7, 2007

Some numbers on the Radiohead album

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , — Alex Barrera @ 3:01 pm

Yesterday, Comscore made a press release with some numbers on the Radiohead album experiment. The data is from the first 29 days of the experiment and is based on a sample of 2 million people. The percentage of people that payed for the album was 38% (worldwide), while the percentage of free downloads rose to 62%. This numbers leave behind the ones I posted on the bagels experiment, 62% of free downloads versus a 87% of free bagels. As I’ve said before, could this be due to Internet’s anonymous nature? I am beginning to think it has to do with a feeling of pre-visualization. People download the album for free, they play it for some days and if they like it, they buy it. So, it’s more of a quality-reward scheme. For me it’s like the shopping experience. You take several t-shirts, you first put them on, see how cute you are in them, and only if you look good, you’ll buy them.

Nevertheless I think Comscore’s numbers might be a little flawed. Most people I know have downloaded the album first, and after a while they’ve bought it. Because the sample only registers the first 29 days, it’s quite probable that some of the people’s downloads that are eventually counted in as free, would later become payed ones. This is specially true for the first period of any experiment, specially if there has been a great deal of fuzz around it. Right now I think the current rate of free downloads might be a little lower.

By the way, if you like the blog you can subscribe to it here.

UPDATE: As Mathew notes, Radiohead made a press release stating that comScore’s numbers are way innacuarate. Although they haven’t said what the real numbers are. I expect higher percentages of payed albums.
Image credit:

UPDATE2: As I suspected,  Thom Yorke said very recently: “In terms of digital income, we’ve made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together, forever.



  1. I really think Comscore’s people didn’t consider that case… the people that we first download the album, and when we like it, then we go and pay for it (that’s what I did).

    I don’t remember if they force you to download the album when the payment was done… If they don’t… then Comscore numbers may not be wrong…

    Comment by Ajo — November 7, 2007 @ 8:35 pm

  2. I just updated the post with some new information. It seems we where right about comScore’s numbers. Still waiting for some real data.

    Comment by alexbarrera — November 15, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: