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Radiohead fans didn’t pay pipers

62% of 'Rainbows' listeners opt to pay nothing

The pot at the end of Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” is not necessarily filled with gold, though the band would beg to differ.

ComScore, which measures Internet usage, determined last week that most fans did not pay a single shilling for the digital version of “In Rainbows” that the band offered on its website in early October.

Radiohead allowed consumers to set their own price, but 62% opted to pay nothing, 17% paid up to $4 and only 4% paid the going rate of a CD, $12 or more. About 1.2 million people downloaded the album in October, which puts the number of people who paid at about 450,000. Intriguingly, the largest percentage of those paying (52%) did not take the cheap way out and paid between $8 and $12.

FMQB, a radio industry news website, was the lone news source to report that Radiohead disputed the findings, saying the report did not “reflect market intelligence” and that outside orgs would have no knowledge of accurate sales figures.

For some sort of handle on how well Radiohead can still sell, the world will have to wait until the second week of January. The band has announced a Dec. 31 CD release of “In Rainbows”; an ATO subsidiary will handle the disc in the U.S. and XL Recordings will handle the rest of the world. When ATO submits its sales figures, it will certainly be allowed to include the Oct. 10-Jan. 6 sales as well unless Billboard changes its rules again — as it did this past week, allowing the Eagles’ “Long Road to Eden” to qualify as the No. 1 album in the country.

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