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Idol Season 5 downloads: The standings

I thought it would be interesting to see the total download statistics on the 12 finalists, and determine how they stack up. Each finalist had a downloadable track on the Idol anthology, Season 5 Encores; then there's two more downloadable tracks from Katharine, My Destiny and Somewhere Over the Rainbow, plus one more from Taylor, Do I Make You Proud -- those three, it should be mentioned, along with Taylor's B-side, Takin' It to the Streets, which was also on the album, got a lot more publicity and promotion than the others.

So here, thanks to the friendly folks at Nielsen SoundScan, are the numbers (rounded off; through Aug. 6):

Download rank Show rank Idol/song title                                      Downloads

1                     1             Taylor/Do I Make You Proud                  114,000

2                     4             Chris/Wanted Dead or Alive                    94,000

3                     1              Taylor/Takin' It to the Streets                69,000

4                     2              Katharine/Somewhere Over the Rainbow 67,000

5                     2              Katharine/My Destiny                             47,000

6                     3              Elliott/Moody's Mood for Love                23,000

7                     2              Katharine/Think                                      21,000

8                     7              Ace/Father Figure                                   11,000

9                     5              Paris/Midnight Train to Georgia               9,100

10                    6              Kellie/Walkin' After Midnight                   8,400

11                    9              Mandisa/I'm Every Woman                        7,400

12                   12             Melissa/What About Love                         6,400

13                    8              Bucky/Superstition                                   4,000

14                   10             Lisa/Signed Sealed Delivered                   3,700

15                   11              Kevin/When I Fall in Love                        2,600

A few comments follow:

> Not surprising to see Taylor and Katharine near the top; no one else had that kind of a push. Big points for Chris; as noted before, he had some scattered rock radio play, but his high standing is a testiment to his fan base.

> Overall the numbers are dwarfed by big non-idol hits (Gnarls Barkley's Crazy is north of 850,000).

> Good relative showing for Elliott, who edged Katharine's album cut, Think.

> Surprisingly strong showings for Ace and, of all people, Melissa, both scoring ahead of finalists who lasted longer on the show.

> My faith in humanity's innate good taste is somewhat restored by seeing Kevin finish dead last.


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How does the fact that a number of us have CDs and DVDs and aren't downloading. I have several CDs of Elliott at various points of AI5, a DVD of all his performances and the complete finale. I see no need to download. I'm sure the same thing is true of several of the other artists. (As a matter of fact I gave someone a CD of Taylor I was given and had no interest in.)

Posted by: Ann | Aug 10, 2006 3:58:50 PM

What I really would like to know is how many copies of Under the Radar Taylor has sold.

He has been on the best seller lists at lasersedge for about 6 months now. I bought one just cause, it took 2 weeks to get it and when I called to complain I was told they are selling so fast we can't keep them in stock.

I have to say hated hated Taylor on AI, but once I heard this CD I became an instant fan. I still love Chris, but I will now be picking up Taylor's debut album also.

Ken, if you have not heard it I recommend you take a listen. He is freaking fantastic I tell you.

Posted by: Beagles | Aug 10, 2006 6:12:27 PM

I think the numbers are pretty impressive, especially for anyone north of 10,000 downloads. The tracks from the album were not technically singles, and therefore got no promotion. There really is no "single" market these days. Ace and Elliott stunned me the most; who knew they could sell so many downloads without any real promotion? Kellie's seemed pretty low for someone given an instant record contract.

The actual album sold 153,000 copies its first week. I'm not sure where it stands now.

Posted by: Randy Taylor | Aug 10, 2006 8:03:27 PM

I don't think those sales indicate Chris has a very large fanbase...that track got a lot of promotion, he sang it on two major talkshows. I actually expected him to have the highest downloads since his fans were so sure that they just got complacent on Idol and in fact he had a lot of support.

Posted by: J | Aug 10, 2006 8:05:33 PM

Ken, I really wish you would ask Big Champagne about what stats they have about the mp3s tivo-ed from the AI broadcasts week by week and downloaded on the internet. I suspect that the relatively flat studio recordings of each song made many people who sampled them on iTunes or listened through on Rhapsody just pass on the paid download since they already had the performance on the show that they liked, along with the exciting crowd reaction. If Big Champagne claims they have no numbers...ask them why and how is it that they are missing out on all that download traffic if they are such authorities on peer-to-peer sharing? For example, Katherine's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and Elliott's "A Song For You" must have been downloaded many times from sites hosting the mp3s of the weekly performances.

Also, would love to know what the rankings were of the individual PAID downloads of show audio and video clips were from the Fox official AI site. I guess you could ask the publishers of the songs if Fox doesn't want to give exact stats...But I do have Elliott singing "A Song For You" and "Heaven," for example, and those totals would also be interesting, especially as the show was still running when they put up the downloads.

Posted by: BamBamBam | Aug 10, 2006 8:32:21 PM

Ann: Ken has posted CD sales previously, I think, but posters like me had urged him to count download totals as well since we DON'T get our music like you apparently do.
Maybe he can run a comparison and total for us.

Posted by: Mike R | Aug 10, 2006 9:45:36 PM

Thanks, Mike. I obviously get my music very selectively. While there were some talented individuals this year, Elliott was my choice. Voice, raw talent, growth potential, musical versatility, the man he appears to be and be becoming all played a part.

I bought some on e-bay, share some with others who appreciate him and I certainly wait eagerly to spend my money on his first CD and the many more that should follow.

Okay, honesty compels me to admit that I currently have dial-up internet and downloading is less than satisfactory.

Posted by: Ann | Aug 11, 2006 10:10:00 AM

I am like you, Ann. I have on videotape all of the Tues and Wed shows from the Top 12 on through the finale. (I am kicking myself for not taping the semi-finals. Some of the contestants' best performances took place in the semis; but, who knew?) I still record Idol performances. I taped Carrie's performance(s) on Good Morning, America this a.m. while I was at work. My family thinks I am just a little bit obsessed. :)

Posted by: mom7801 | Aug 11, 2006 10:18:06 AM

I don't know, J. In my opinion, I think Chris had 7-8 performances on AI-5 that were better than "Wanted Dead or Alive." Don't get me wrong; he did the song very well, but there were so many of his other performances that surpassed WDOA. I think his fans are saving their money to buy his CD and Chris Daughtry concert tickets.

Posted by: mom7801 | Aug 11, 2006 10:26:16 AM

Are they making money from these downloads? How much per download does the artist make?

Posted by: Sally in Chicago | Aug 11, 2006 11:05:16 AM


Didn't everybody ELSE sing their songs on talk shows? Of course. Everybody else got just as much promotion of their songs as Chris did.

Chris has done AWESOME!!! No one can deny that!!!

Posted by: lassie | Aug 11, 2006 10:51:07 PM

Taylor, Katherine and Chris got air play with their songs. The rest didn't get any exposure so those numbers are expected.

Every song up to Moody's Mood for Love has been on media base with spins.

Richmond is playing MMFL from what I hear. I purchased my Elliott song from a source that is not counted. I got my CD of Elliott's music off E-BAY. I know alot of E fans went to E-Bay and got their CD with all the songs that E did on American Idol. And a great deal and the sound is good.

One thing we all know, airplay sells music. That is a given.

Posted by: Taratova | Aug 13, 2006 2:15:12 PM

J, I attended the Idols concert in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday night. Trust me, Chris's fan base is huge (he got the loudest ovation in a sold-out arena).

Posted by: mom7801 | Aug 14, 2006 1:08:00 PM

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