Radiohead’s In Rainbows will hit music store shelves today, but will anyone actually buy it three months after it was originally available online at the price of the downloader’s choosing? Even lead singer Thom Yorke swiped it for free! At least it has pretty packaging.
Radiohead chose to release the CD through the independent label ATO Records and its imprint TBD. (The band’s 2003 album “Hail to the Thief” was the last one under its recording contract with the music giant EMI.) ATO is shipping an estimated 400,000 copies of the album to record shops, said executives briefed on the label’s plans. It is not uncommon for shops to sell half of the shipment of a big album in its first week on sale. But Radiohead’s performance may differ; not only has the album been widely available online, but it is also hitting record shops in the traditionally slow post-holiday sales period.