R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills “doesn’t care” about sales figures for the band’s last four albums.

The ‘Orange Crush’ rocker said sales weren’t particularly important to him, as it was never the aim of the band – who announced their split in September – in the first place.

He told Spin.com: “Selling was never a purpose of ours anyway. For the last four records, I don’t think I’ve asked, because I just don’t care. It used to reflect the popularity of your record. If people were buying it, it meant they liked it.

“Now, they may like it, but they might not buy it. They may obtain it by other methods, but odds are they didn’t buy it. Sales are clearly no reflection of popularity for bands. Maybe for Rihanna, it is.”

He also said the group – which also includes Michael Stipe and Peter Buck -never consulted former drummer Bill Berry – who retired in 1997 after their ‘New Adventures in Hi-Fi’ album – before telling them of their plans to split.

He added: “I called him before we made the announcement, but we didn’t discuss it with him. He retired in 1997 and removed himself from all things R.E.M.

“There was no discussion to be had, but I certainly gave him a courtesy call before we announced it.

“I think he was sad. He can be very stoic, but he can also be very emotional. I think he was sad as a fan. And as a friend he knew it was a traumatic decision. But we supported him in his decision and he supported us in ours.”