Coldplay proves that free music is… popular

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Last.FM has got in touch to say that since the new Coldplay single ‘Violet Hill’ was released for free on Coldplay’s website this morning, Last.FM has been tracking the number of times it’s been listened to. And it’s a lot: 10,000 times in the 5 hours since the track was released. That’s 1 play every 2 seconds. Apparently the last time a track was listened to this intensively on Last.fFM was ‘15 Step’ from Radiohead’s free In Rainbows album, which clocked up close to 22,000 listens in 12 hours. Coldplay has had about 51 million listens on the site and their entire back catalogue of music is available for free-on-demand streaming. I’m not sure how that would compare, say, to a radio station playing a track on high rotation during a typical day of release. But then Last.FM’s service can go on forever, right down into the Long Tail, the radio station can’t.

  • James Cridland

    In terms of how this play compares to radio: well, just one play on a little local radio station in most areas of the country, even out of peak times, will be heard by over 10,000 people. RAJAR’s figures give radio stations a figure for “how many people are listening” every quarter-hour of every day, in case you wondered how I know – though those figures aren’t generally released by broadcasters.

    And of course, radio has been ‘giving away free music’ since November 14th, 1922. Yes, it’s quite popular: 89% listen every week, for a total of (assume Dr Evil voice) one billion hours.

    Actually, is oddly unpopular. It’s visited by rather fewer people than BBC Radio 1, for example, or Radio 2, or GCap station websites, or Yahoo Music. I had that exact slide (from ComScore) thrust in front of me at a radio conference yesterday, by none other than GCap’s current CEO, Fru Hazlitt. And, naturally, are only monitoring how many times it’s being played by users with the software, which spies (with your consent) on what you’re listening to. The actual total number of plays is likely to be very much higher than 10,000. This spoils my argument, naturally.

  • Mike Butcher

    James – Radio remains popular. That’s us told then! :-)

  • Jerry Maxwell

    The Nikolai Levey remix has really taken off too in the past few days, showing the power of a timely underground remix in these situations.

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