The single-CD version of Radiohead’s In Rainbows went on sale in Japan before it went on sale anywhere else in the world – December 26, to be exact.
The group hand-picked Hostess Entertainment, according to label head Andrew Lazonby, to release the record in Japan mainly because of its track record as a completely independent label.
Hostess has done well for itself as a Japan indie specializing in foreign artists. It managed to get the deal to release The Arctic Monkeys in Japan a few years ago.
Estimates as of December 28 seem to indicate that Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want download policy hasn’t hurt sales of the physical product, at least not in Japan.
Hostess said it sold between 12,000 and 13,000 units, which would translate as about 60K for the first week, which Lazonby called a "massive result."
He also said that representatives of the major retailers, HMV and Tower, have told him that the album is outselling their estimates.