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article imageRadiohead Says comScore Results 'Inaccurate' and Blogger Screams Media Twisted Facts

By Chris Hogg     Nov 9, 2007 in Entertainment
The band Radiohead recently released a new album online, and took the unusual approach of telling fans they could pay as much or as little as they wanted. comScore reported not many people paid for the album, but Radiohead says that's not the case.
Digital Journal -- According to media reports, Radiohead's online album sales seemed to be a hit, as some websites were reporting the band sold 1.2 million albums the first week, generating about $8.5 million in sales.
But with the option to pay whatever you want for the album, media-monitoring giant comScore was reporting Radiohead fans did not seem to be paying much; comScore reported only 38 per cent of downloaders paid something while the 62 per cent majority paid nothing. And of those paying, comScore said most paid less than $4.
But clearly, comScore's results were off, as Radiohead released the following statement, saying the numbers were total bollocks:
“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.”
The spreading of this misinformation has some bloggers furious at the mainstream media.
As Blackrimglasses reports: "The results of the study were drawn from data gathered from a few hundred people who are part of comScore’s database of 2 million computer users worldwide. The firm, which has permission to monitor the computer users’ online behavior, did not provide a margin of error for the study’s results."
Writer Ethan Kaplan then goes on to ask why a "few hundred people" was reported by Yahoo News in a headline that read "Most fans paid $0 for Radiohead album." Kaplan asked on his blog, "In what world does a 'few out of a hundred' translate to 'most'? Can someone answer to me how mainstream journalism has survived this long?"
It remains unclear whether album sales were higher or lower than those initially reported by comScore, but clearly Radiohead was upset or perturbed that numbers were off.
The world is waiting (and hoping) the band releases the sales numbers, as there is a great deal of curiosity on the success rate of the band's unusual sales technique.
According to MTV, comScore strongly defended its data, as senior analyst Andrew Lipsman said, "We're confident in our data. There's a minimal margin of error based on the size of the sample we used and the narrow range of values."
Radiohead announced yesterday, the vinyl and CD version of their new album will be released internationally Dec. 31.
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