It may be The King of Limbs, but Radiohead‘s eighth LP failed to claim the throne atop the Billboard 200 in its debut week. Despite strong reviews and the free novelty newspaper that hyped up the album’s March 29th release date, the record only pushed 69,000 copies, a bit more than half what its predecessor, In Rainbows, did in its first official week of release (122,000 copies). Both albums were released digitally two months prior to their physical release, with the former offered essentially for free.
It should be noted that In Rainbows faced far less competition in its first week of physical release, having to only go against a Josh Groban Christmas album, Alicia Keys’ As I Am, and Mary J. Blige’s Growing Pains. The King of Limbs, on the other hand, went against a slew of pop and hip hop heavyweights, including Britney Spears’ Femme Fatale, Wiz Khalifa’s Rolling Papers, Adele’s 21, and Chris Brown’s F.A.M.E., all of which topped Thom Yorke and co.
Outside of the U.S., in Australia and the United Kingdom specifically, The King of Limbs charted in at #2 and #6, respectively.