New In Rainbows Numbers Offer Lessons for Music Industry

Radiohead's "pay what you want" distribution gamble paid-off despite -- or perhaps because of -- rampant file sharing, according to new analysis from Will Page, chief economist at the MCPS-PRS Alliance, a British rights organization, and Eric Garland, CEO of Big Champagne.

Radiohead's notorious release strategy for In Rainbows, which allowed fans to download it for an optional price with a valid e-mail address, was considered to have been a failure by some because the album became wildly popular on file sharing networks almost immediately upon its release.

But Garland and Page's, "In Rainbows, On Torrents" report, slated to be released on the MCPS-PRS website on Friday, indicates that Radiohead's strategy was a success nonetheless, contributing to the album topping the charts in both the UK and United States and a successful worldwide tour. When it comes to judging whether an album is a success these days, the old metrics just don't cut it.