Regardless of Peter Buck's say the record still needs to sell. There are many other parties (resellers, distributors, music stores...) that have to make a profit from the sale of Collapse into Now. If the CD does not sell, if there is no marketing, advertising, even a tour, stores will not have an incentive to stock R.E.M. albums. Peter should understand, I think he used to work at a record store?
On the other hand R.E.M. seem to be one of the bands most empathetic towards music distributors, if we are to judge by the public actions they undertook upon the release of Accelerate, and now Collapse into Now, where they launched special vinyl products to commemorate Record Store Day.
This is not an issue of R.E.M. dependent on album sales, not an issue of their financial stability, but the financial health of the resellers that are struggling to avert, well their own collapse.