How many downloads were paid? Who knows. One reasonable estimate comes from the fraction of Pandora listeners that pay for what is a free service: 4.3% (3.3 million subscribers out of 76.5 million monthly listeners). That works out to 189,800 buyers (4.3% of 4.4 million) and revenue of $1.02 million (189,900 times 90%, Yorke's take of BitTorrent sales, of the $6 sale price).
That's the equivalent of 146,000 digital album sales at $10 retail and $7 wholesale. That wouldn't be a bad showing for a self-released, direct-to-fan album that allowed Yorke to circumvent major download stores and gather customer information -- but it's no Hollywood starring role, either.
What about a successful scenario? It's not unthinkable that Yorke achieved a paid-to-total download ratio of 25 percent, which is the subscriber-to-total listeners ratio at Spotify. That equates to 1.1 million paid downloads and $5.9 million of revenue.
While the above comparisons with Pandora and Spotify aren't apples-to-apples, they're useful illustrations of how willing people are to pay for something -- when something free is sitting right next to it.