How much did Radiohead make from In Rainbows?
10 October 2023, 10:41
In 2007, Radiohead allowed you to pay what you want for their In Rainbows album. Which other records have used unique ploys to get people to buy them?
Radiohead - In Rainbows
The crown princes of odd album release strategies, Radiohead made a huge success of their "pay what you want" strategy for their 2007 album In Rainbows.
The band's publishers admitted that more people downloaded In Rainbows for free than paid for it, and the average price paid worldwide was estimated at $6. It was reported that Radiohead made an "instantaneous" $3 million on In Rainbows despite the number of free downloads.
The Beatles - The White Album
Designer Richard Hamilton said that the famous serial number printing on The Beatles' self-titled 1968 album was meant to be ironic. That doesn't stop a roaring trade in the lowest-numbered copies in auctions of course. Ringo had Number 1 and it recently sold for £600,000 at auction. Copies signed by John and Yoko, like the one on the left, are worth few quid, too.
The Flaming Lips - Zaireeka
Brought out on four CDs and meant to be played on four separate speakers at the same time. Not surprisingly, singer Wayne Coyne has admitted since that it's not one for casual fans.
Jack White - Blunderbuss
You can get music in a variety of ways these days: record shop, online, supermarkets - or in 2012, via helium balloon. To promote the release of Blunderbuss, Jack White sent 1000 balloons into the air with a flexi-disc of "Freedom at 21" attached to each one. Jack's manager later confirmed they're not sure how many of the discs survived the launch.
Kaiser Chiefs - The Future Is Medieval
For the band's fourth album, they let fans choose their own track-listing for The Future Is Medieval from a batch of tracks put online. Fans could sell their own versions of the record online then and even make money from them.
The Durutti Column - The Return Of The Durutti Column
The sleeve was made of sandpaper that was designed to scratch any other LPs put beside it. When reissued recently, it came in a protective wallet - sensible, if slightly less rock and roll.
Public Image Ltd - Metal Box
Public Image Ltd's second album's title offers a good clue as to how it was sold: three 12" records stored inside a metal film canister. Funnily enough, the PiL lads thought about using The Durutti Column's sandpaper idea but decided that the metal tin was a better/worse option.
Beck - Song Reader
Even fans who bought Beck's Song Reader in 2012 had no idea what it was supposed to sound like. Released as sheet music and artwork, the album would have sounded different for everyone who played it.