Saturday, March 22, 2008

iDols on iTunes...

With Beatles weeks thankfully behind us, and the top 10 firmly entrenched upon the sofa, we're heading into the first half of the final stretch, awaiting Tuesday's 90-minute celebration of that oldie but goody theme of songs that charted during the year of each contestant's birth. (And for perspective, the oldest idol, Michael Johns, was born in 1978; the youngest, David Archuleta, was born in 1990. So, essentially, it's 80s night again.)

Performance sales at iTunes over the past week has changed somewhat but, at the same time, has stayed somewhat the same.

Archuleta's Imagine continues to hold the top spot by a wide margin, followed by a close race for two and three between Jason Castro's Hallelujah and David Cook's Hello. In fact, all of the top ten downloads are semi-final performances. So, those 90-second performance recordings are still the most popular downloads over the full-length studio versions of Lennon/McCartney/Beatles tunes, but considering they've been available for much longer, I don't find it all that surprising.

[The list that formerly included both performance and studio versions has now been stripped of the studio versions, so the rankings this week are not correct. Thanks to Kristi and Sara in the comments for pointing that out and wading through the overall AI list for a more accurate assessment. The overall list, however, does pit the current idols against Idol alumni, such as Jordin Sparks and Daughtry.]

The most interesting leap in sales has been for the video downloads which are available only for the finals performances and which were hovering at or below the bottom of the overall download list last week at this time. Many of them have now surpassed the less-expensive audio-only downloads and are sitting viably at the top half of the chart.

The video downloads are soaring up the charts. At $1.99 they're a little pricier, but they are very high quality. The judges comments are NOT included, so if there was a finals performance that you particularly enjoyed and want to enjoy again, they are worth the two bucks.

Archuleta's The Long and Winding Road, Brooke's Let it Be, David Cook's Eleanor Rigby and Chikezie's She's a Woman find themselves in the top 25 overall list. The others are scattered between the total list of 83 offerings.

Here's the top ten video download list:

1. The Long and Winding Road (David Archuleta)
2. Let it Be (Brooke White)
3. Eleanor Rigby (David Cook)
4. She's a Woman (Chikezie)
5. Come Together (Carly Smithson)
6. Day Tripper (David Cook)
7. Michelle (Jason Castro)
8. If I Fell (Jason Castro)
9. We Can Work It Out (David Archuleta)
10. Blackbird (Carly Smithson)

These numbers are as of 8:06 a.m. Saturday, March 22, so they are subject to change as fans flock to download their faves.

Your thoughts?

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Blogger Kristi Mantoni said...

Hey Jen,

The Idol people are being tricksey! If you search "American Idol Performance" you get the semi-final songs and the videos from the top 12 and above but NOT the top 12 and above songs. If you search "American Idol Studio Version" you get just the top 12 and above songs which give a slightly different picture. Brooke White (yuck) is on top of the download race and Syesha on the bottom.

10:46 AM, March 22, 2008  
Blogger Sara said...

Searching AI Performance only gives the Semi-Final performances and the videos - it doesn't include the audio versions from the Finals. The only way to include those is to search for American Idol and pick out the relevant pieces. It's a little annoying, but the only way to get the complete picture.

The Top 20:

1) Let It Be (Brooke White)
2) Hallelujah (Jason Castro)
3) Imagine (David Archuleta)
4) Eleanor Rigby (David Cook)
5) The Long and Winding Road (David Archuleta)
6) Hello (David Cook)
7) Love Is a Battlefield (Brooke White)
8) Another Day In Paradise (David Archuleta)
9) Come Together (Carly Smithson)
10) Day Tripper (David Cook)
11) Daydream (Jason Castro)
12) Here Comes the Sun (Brooke White)
13) Yesterday (Syesha Mercado)
14) Blackbird (Carly Smithson)
15) Across the Universe (Michael Johns)
16) If I Fell (Jason Castro)
17) Shop Around (David Archuleta)
18) You're So Vain (Brooke White)
19) We Can Work It Out (David Archuleta)
20) Michelle (Jason Castro)

The conclusions are pretty much the same either way. David A (all 5 songs in the Top 20), Brooke (4), Jason (4), David C (3, but all the in the Top 10) are by far the leaders in song downloads.

Videos - the order is the same, but they stack up differently in the overall picture:

1) The Long and Winding Road (# 30 overall)
2) Let It Be (# 41)
3) Eleanor Rigby (# 50)
4) Michelle (# 54)
5) She's a Woman (# 55)

It will be interesting to see as the season goes on how closely downloads correlate to the results.

10:22 PM, March 22, 2008  
Blogger jennifer said...

I see this now. I don't like the overall list, though. The video ranking has to be adjusted to eliminate Daughtry, Sparks, Underwood and Wanda Sykes(?), all of whom (and others) are on that list. And if you sort by popularity, the rankings are wrong.

Leave it to iTunes to make life difficult for the Idol fans.

Oh well.

But it will be interesting to see if sales and votes correlate throughout the season. But no more rankings from me.

9:01 AM, March 23, 2008  
Blogger Sara said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:08 PM, March 23, 2008  
Blogger Sara said...

Whoops, I didn't account for removing those people in considering the videos place in the overall rankings. But yes, that's why I said it was annoying to have to pick out the Idol downloads from the alums.

As for the "Popularity" feature, that's a measure of hits from the recent past (I want to say a week, but I don't remember exactly), where the list sorted by number is according to number of downloads. That's why Jordin, for example, has such high popularity - being on the Top 100 rankings generates a lot of hits for a song, regardless of whether people actually download them or not. Also why popularity and rankings don't always correlate.

Despite the pimping of Apple products on the show, I've decided I'm a big fan of the Apple-Idol partnership. To me, the rankings provide an interesting measure of how much the music-buying public enjoys both certain contestants and certain performances. But more importantly, I'm glad Idol has made it easy for me to download my favorite performances.

1:16 PM, March 23, 2008  
Blogger jennifer said...

Thanks, Sara, for the explanation of popularity v. order. I never did understand that, but it makes sense.

I am LOVING the iTunes/Idol partnership. The downloads are much cleaner than they were last year through the AI site. And, while I totally understand the reluctance to publicize the rankings in the midst of the competition to minimize any influence sales might have on votes, I can't help but curse their insistence on making life difficult for us. :o)

7:07 PM, March 23, 2008  
Blogger Kristi Mantoni said...

I love the iTunes partnership as well. It was a pain downloading last year and I only did it once. this year I have 4 so far which is HUGE for me!

On a side note, JPL's single is really growing on me. I wasn't sure about it at first but it's pretty good.

9:50 AM, March 24, 2008  

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