Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Radiohead: 2 out of 5 Ain't Bad

Comscore has released a study that suggests that two out of every five downloaders of Radiohead's In Rainbows release were willing to pay something. From the press release:

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. The study showed that 38 percent of global downloaders of the album willingly paid to do so, with the remaining 62 percent choosing to pay nothing. The percent downloading for free in the U.S. (60 percent) is only marginally lower than in the rest of the world (64 percent)

Comscore has a 'panel' of 2mm users that allow Comscore to track their internet use. The full press release makes for interesting reading but we don't know how many actually downloaded the album other than a 'significant' percentage. In my back of the envelop calculation, if only 10% of downloaders paid the average $6 then Radiohead nets about $275K. If 25% of downloaders paid the amount would be approximately $650K. If Radiohead receive approximately $1.50 per CD (avg retail $12.95) this would mean they would need to sell 450,000 CDs (in the month) to generate $650K in royalty. My numbers may be fuzzy but if they did sell to 25% of downloaders I don't think those numbers may not be bad at all.

On note that is confusing to me is that the comscore numbers are all in dollars and with the weak US dollar it is surprising that the average paid by non-US residents is lower than the US price. In the UK the typical CD sells for £10-12 (which is $20 - 24). Since their average price paid is lower than the US price that means the typical European has a much lower view of the value of music than the absolute numbers might suggest.

(Tip of the hat to Lorraine Shanley at Market Partners).

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