Radiohead: comScore totally inaccurate

by Mathew on November 8, 2007 · 15 comments

A New Music Express piece on Radiohead brings with it a rather large knee to the goolies for comScore, which came out with some numbers on downloads of the band’s “pay what you want” album In Rainbows (I wrote about comScore’s results here). ComScore said that its survey showed less than 40 per cent paid for the album, and most paid less than $4. There was quite a bit of skepticism about the results, however, since — as Ethan Kaplan of blackrimglasses.com pointed out — it was based on just a few hundred people. Well, here’s what the band said in a statement:

“In response to purely speculative figures announced in the press regarding the number of downloads and the price paid for the album, the group’s representatives would like to remind people that… it is impossible for outside organisations to have accurate figures on sales.

However, they can confirm that the figures quoted by the company comScore Inc are wholly inaccurate and in no way reflect definitive market intelligence or, indeed, the true success of the project.”

comScore has since defended its analysis, according to this MTV story, and there is a statement on comScore’s blog with more detail about the company’s methodology. For anyone who is interested, Canadian musician Jane Siberry has been allowing fans to pay whatever they want for her music for several years now, and keeps a running tally of how many paid and the average price in the sidebar of her online store. More than 90 per cent pay the “recommended” price or higher, and the average price is well above what a song sells for on iTunes.

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