Most Fans Paid $0 for Radiohead Album

Radiohead let its fans decide how much to pay for a digital copy of the band's latest release, “In Rainbows,” and more than half of those who downloaded the album chose to pay nothing, according to a study by a consumer research firm.

Some 62 percent of the people who downloaded “In Rainbows” in a four-week period last month opted not to pay the British alt-rockers a cent. But the remaining 38 percent voluntarily paid an average of $6, according to the study by comScore Inc.

Radiohead broke with its past practice of releasing its music in CD format and through a major record label when it released its seventh studio album online itself. The biggest wrinkle was the band's decision to let fans pay as much or as little as they wanted to download a copy.

The results of the study were drawn from data gathered from a few hundred people who are part of comScore's database of 2 million computer users worldwide. The firm, which has permission to monitor the computer users' online behavior, did not provide a margin of error for the study's results.

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. The research firm did not say how many people in its study actually bought the album.

Among U.S. residents, about 40 percent who downloaded the album paid to do so. Their average payment was $8.05, the firm said.

Some 36 percent of the fans outside the U.S. who downloaded the album opted to pay; on average, those fans paid $4.64, according to the study.

Radiohead's U.S.-based publicist said Tuesday the band had no commenton the study.

The online release sent shock waves through the recording industry, with some hailing it as a shrewd move at a time of declining CD sales industrywide and others writing it off as a publicity stunt that amounted to the band giving away its music.

The band, which also offered fans the option of buying a lavish box set for about $82, plans to release the album in CD format some time next year.

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