Radiohead's In Rainbows Illegally Downloaded by 2.3 Million

Radiohead's <i>In Rainbows</i> Illegally Downloaded by 2.3 Million
Hey, remember when Radiohead released that album In Rainbows? Remember how you could pay what you wanted for it or in fact pay nothing for it? Well, apparently that wasn’t good enough for some people. Actually, it wasn’t good enough for 2.3 million people, according to new research from P2P monitor Big Champagne and UK royalty collector MCPS-PRS, which discovered that's the number of people who illegally downloaded In Rainbows from BitTorrent sources during the two months it was legally available for free at Radiohead’s website.

The report called the number "staggering," saying that it "far exceeds what outsiders have reported as the estimated download total from the band's official website, regardless of whether those downloaders paid or not."

So why did downloaders choose illegal channels over Radiohead’s legit one? MCPS-PRS chief economist Will Page and Big Champagne CEO Eric Garland said "discoverability” may have been a factor, citing the early troubles with Radiohead’s website as one possible reason people stuck with torrents. The researchers also offer a "venue hypothesis,” which states that downloaders have simply become accustomed to using various P2P sites and BitTorrent trackers like Mininova, On top of this, they believe "an off-limits venue may be even more appealing” to the youth market.

Radiohead have yet to disclose how much money they made from offering the download at their website, or even how many people downloaded the album from the site. But by looking at the results of this study, illegal downloading seems to be an entrenched activity that not even Radiohead can change.