Despite Radiohead offering their new release at a "pay whatever you want to" price, more than 500,000 copies have already been traded on P2P networks and the number is growing.A half million compare favorably to the 1.2 million copies the band says it has sold thus far. But P2P copies will probably exceed paid downloads soon.
Big Champagne's Eric Garland told Forbes he believes its more about habit than of economics. "People don't know Radiohead's site. They do know their favorite BitTorrent site and they use it every day," he says. "It's quite simply easier for folks to get the illegal version than the legal version."
ANALYSIS: Despite the P2P numbers, the Radiohead "experiment" should still be considered a resounding success - at least for Radiohead. Never before have they gotten so much concentrated free media and that resulted in a huge sales bump. Even if the band only earns $2.50 an album (less than half the $5-$8 they say they're averaging), the band will earn in excess of $3 million - far more than on a major label.
Surely this model won't work for every band. But as Music 2.0 unfolds it is becoming clear that bold experimentation will often be rewarded.