31 March 2008

popularity x2

I really like the fact that this season's American Idol songs are on iTunes. It's not necessarily fair that they're raking in all that money... but it is good to get a preview of what the contestants' recordings will sound like. Even better that they're now doing full studio versions of the songs. I've realized that yes, I still do like David Cook (lots), and David Archuleta is cute but his music sounds very Broadway tune.

I hope they start early on recording original songs. That will really help us see whether we want to make a longer term commitment to their albums.

It kinda makes you wonder... What happens if one of these contestants' songs go gold or platinum. Would we (or they) even know?

Let's say, hypothetically, that you could run a general search in itunes for "american idol," or some other text that shows up in every American Idol song title. Hypothetically, then, you might see not only songs from the current American Idol contestants, but also songs from previous winners and runners up. Let's say, again hypothetically, that you right clicked on the column headings and turned on the Popularity column... which you clicked on to sort in descending order of popularity. What if (and this is a big if) you found that David Cook's version of "Billie Jean" was more popular on itunes than Jordin Sparks' songs "No Air" and "Tattoo," as well as Daughtry's "Home." Would you be impressed?

08 March 2008

predicting the future

So, American Idol fans. Have you downloaded any of the competitors' live recordings from iTunes yet? I've only downloaded one -- "Hello," performed by David Cook. Wow, that was an amazing version of that song.

There's another reason to check out the American Idol songs on iTunes: to get a feel for how well your favorite contestants are doing. It's not possible to see in (more or less) real time how people are voting on the phone, but you CAN see how people are voting with their money. It's that nice little "popularity" rating that iTunes shows.

So here's what you do... run an iTunes search for "American Idol Performance." When you get the results, sort them by popularity. If you take a leap and assume that people are also voting for the contestants whose songs they're buying, David Archuleta, David Cook, and Jason Castro are at the top of the pack. Brooke White and Carly Smithson appear to be the only girls with songs currently in the top 15 most downloaded.

It will be interesting to see whether the download trends match the voting trends for future episodes... or if iTunes will decide to hide the popularity stats at some point.