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.
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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: wikipedia.org
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.“