With the surprise release of Radiohead's new album, In Rainbows, happening in just eight more days, most news media seem to be focused on the band's wacky pay-what-you-want pricing scheme for the MP3s. But in today's Guardian, we learn that most customers — enough to overwhelm Radiohead's online store yesterday — are actually opting for the $80 "discbox" version of the album (which includes vinyl LPs, artwork, and other assorted awesome crap) instead. Insane!
So if these box sets cost around $40 to manufacture and ship, and Radiohead — a band whose last album, Hail to the Thief, sold almost a million copies in the U.S. alone — can unload just half a million of them worldwide (which we figure is a fairly conservative estimate), that means they could make as much as $20 million, none of which they'll have to share with a record company! And that's before you count the "donations" for the digital audio files, which surely some chumps must've paid. Plus, Billboard says In Rainbows will get a traditional CD release in retail stores next year, meaning they'll make even more money! And then they'll tour!
We're the first to admit that we're terrible at math (that's why we became culture bloggers, you know), but if we're even sorta right, this new album is going to make Radiohead very, very rich. Maybe they'll finally write a happy song!