Most Radiohead fans are choosing to download the British rock band's newest album without paying for it, according to researcher ComScore Inc.
Fewer than 4 out of 10 fans worldwide who downloaded "In Rainbows" from Oct. 10 to Oct. 29 purchased it, paying $6 on average, ComScore said Monday.
"You could argue that it makes economic sense for the band to open up their music to new listeners, which may open up ticket sales and merchandise sales down the road," said Andrew Lipsman, a senior analyst at ComScore.
Radiohead ended its recording contract with EMI Group Ltd. after its last studio album and offered the new recording online, allowing buyers to choose their price or pay nothing. The music industry has been hurt by declining CD sales, caused in part by the free distribution of downloaded music on the Internet.
In the U.S., 40% of Radiohead fans who downloaded "In Rainbows" purchased it, paying an average of $8.05, ComScore said. Outside the U.S., 36% paid for the digital recording at an average price of $4.64.
"There's more of a download culture in Western Europe, so maybe these are people more used to not paying," Lipsman said. "Or the other theory is that the U.S. has higher disposable income on average than the rest of the world."