Hey, so there was this band, they put an album out on the intertubes? You might remember it: they’d send you the album through the tubes, and then you’d take the album out of the little truck and put in as much money as you wanted and send it back to them through the return tube. It was a lot of fun. But that was months ago. So, nine days ago, Radiohead’s In Rainbows materialized in actual stores on actual CDs (and vinyl!) and there was some question over how it would sell, seeing as how the kids have had unfettered access to 160kbps mp3s for a while. Turns out they needn’t have worried: In Rainbows landed at #1 on the Billboard album charts in the US, achieving the same feat in the UK.
However, like most pieces of news from the music industry these days, this is mostly just a sign of how bad things have become.
The hard copy of In Rainbows sold 122,000 copies this week to land at the top spot, but only four years ago, the band’s last album Hail to the Thief sold over 300,000 copies its first week, and that was only good for #3. There are definitely fewer big releases to contend with the first week of the year, but still…
Sales figures for the internet “name your own price” experiment have not been released, although frontman Thom Yorke did tell an interviewer that 15 people actually paid the maximum price of £99.99 ($196.53). Jeez, the CD box set with a book and eight extra tracks was only $109 at the record store I was at. And no, I didn’t buy it.