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Idol stats: slight follow-up

Just wanted to address a few comments that came up in the wake of the massive Idol sales stat standings I blasted you with this morning.

> Big Cheese wanted to know if I had any access to worldwide sales, and the answer, sadly, is no. Record companies will often throw out various worldwide and foreign totals, but methods of tallying sales vary considerably (not all countries tabulate them electronically, which leads to various species of estimates or RIAA-like shipping statistics).

> Speaking of RIAA stats, remember, just because something is certified as gold or platinum, it doesn't mean it has actually sold that number. So, responding to David's comment: "Bo's single was certified gold but he's only sold 347,000? ... It's hard to imagine there are 153,000 of his singles still sitting on store shelves" ... Well, it's not so hard to imagine that they're in some warehouse somewhere. Labels overship all the time, based on overly optimistic projections of how a record will sell. (See Jessica Simpson's recent gold certification for an album that's sold less than 250,000.) It goes for Clay, too -- what I listed was what he's actually sold, not what he's certified for.

One more question (a two-parter) follows.

> Batista inquired, "Any chance you can tell the number of singles in the singles and downloads catagories?  And is there a chart for downloaded albums?"

They weren't separately listed, but, for instance, Chris' download stats are for Wanted Dead or Alive, and most Season 5 finalists similarly have just the one download from the Idol season anthology. (Katharine has download figures for three tracks: the two on her single and Think from the anthology; Taylor has downloads for Takin' It to the Streets and Do I Make You Proud.)

For singles sales, normally the only single available commercially is the souvenir single. So Carrie's figures are based on sales of Inside Your Heaven; her subsequent country hits were not available as singles. Same situation for Bo and Fantasia, and it's why Josh Gracin and Kellie Pickler have no reported singles sales (they haven't had any physical singles). Some Idols (I'm thinking Clay, Kelly, Ruben) may have had more than one single available -- perhaps some of you fans who bought them can enlighten me?

Finally, there is a chart for download albums, but it does not add up downloads of all the tracks on an album -- it's solely for download purchases of entire albums. And the numbers are very small, generally in the three-figure range, if that.

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I was curious how an EP like the one Clay is releasing later this month is charted. Is that "album" "single" or what? I'm interested to see how many he manages to sell of that. Probably a lot, as the music is right up his alley and makes a nice addition to his MCWL. By the way, thanks for all the information. It's nice to see how everyone is doing. Well, domestically at least.:-)

Posted by: steve | Nov 9, 2006 4:27:27 PM

OK Ken, maybe you can educate me. Let's say an CD is certified GOLD but has only sold 450,000. That means there are 50,000 copies sitting on shelves somewhere. Can those 50,000 be returned to the label? I'm guessing that they cannot. That means the stores who bought the CDs are left holding the bag, right?

Posted by: Jack | Nov 9, 2006 4:29:01 PM

Singles sales - Clay sold about 1 million of his "souvenir" single, and a little over 300,000 of Solitaire/The Way. I think Ruben had a second physical retail single, but I don't think the sales were that high (but I'm sure they are included in those totals). Since the retail single is a dead genre, I don't think you'll see many more than the souvenir one. I don't think Kelly had a second retail single. Clay's was kind of a special deal since Solitaire was not on the original release of his album.

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 9, 2006 5:17:31 PM

Steve,
I'm almost 100% positive that standard EPs are ranked in the Billboard 200. What I'm not sure about, in Clay's case, is if the fact that only one retailer is selling the album (thus making it a "limited edition") will impact its chart eligibility. Regardless, Soundscan will still track the sales the same way they track sales of any other Soundscan title.

Posted by: Christina | Nov 9, 2006 6:07:39 PM

Christina,
An EP or album available at one retailer is not eligible for the Billboard 200, but it is eligible for the Billboard Comprehensive Chart (which is the top 200, including catalog and exclusives). But Walmart has to report to soundscan for it to be eligible, and in the past, some retailers don't report sales on exclusives. Walmart didn't report sales for its Garth Brooks exclusive.

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 10, 2006 1:42:50 PM

Thank you, Christina, for answering my question. I do hope we can find out the total answer, in that, if it is a limited edition, where does it go for chart position.

Still enjoying the rundowns.:-)

Posted by: Steve | Nov 10, 2006 2:20:31 PM

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