The Dixie Chicks' new album, Taking the Long Way, debuts today, marking the best-selling female band of all time's first album after facing controversy for Natalie Maines' now famous statement about being ashamed that the president is from Texas. After that statement, country radio stations across the country pulled their songs, listeners held protests, and some wacky people even sent death threats. Even other musicians turned against them, including Toby Keith. (Note that country radio played Mr. Keith's latest hit over and over, which featured a guy in a bar being propositioned by female twins who responds "I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.")
Bill O'Reilly, who has recently changed his tune on the Chicks, had predicted that the album will sell no more than 2 million copies. I am downloading it today from iTunes, so I have a question. Do the normal album sales counts include downloads now? Is going "gold" or "platinum" still tied solely to sales of physical CDs? Does Billboard just assume that downloads affect all sales equally, so that sales are still a good comparison among artists?
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1. Posted by Paul Stancil on May 23, 2006 @ 8:10 | Permalink
This is why blogs, Google, and work I really don't want to do right now are a bad combination -- I felt compelled to look this up. According to the RIAA, gold and platinum awards are based on all legitimate sales through whatever channel. The RIAA certifies singles, EPs and albums separately, so most paid downloads probably go into the "singles" count. Your purchase of the Dixie Chicks' full album should count toward their album count. And thus is another 15 billable minutes lost.
2. Posted by Jake on May 23, 2006 @ 19:56 | Permalink
But who really gives a damn what some entertainer thinks about public policy? This by no means is intended to denigrate Ms. Maines' constitutionally protected right to spew out whatever is on her mind at any given moment, but the very notion that sentient beings fret about this kind of stuff is troubling.
3. Posted by David Zaring on May 24, 2006 @ 18:20 | Permalink
The labels can get both CD sales and digital download information pretty accurately - my sense is that for now, digital downloads are a pretty small proportion of the sales of even the best-sellers. I think the Wednesday roundups that you sometimes see on the wires focus on CD sales, though we now know through Paul that downloads count towards going platinum!
Here's some wisdom!:
4. Posted by TomC on May 30, 2006 @ 20:22 | Permalink
Taking the Long way enters the Billboard charts at number one selling over 500,000 copies, making it one of the biggest records of the year.
Digital album downloads count the same as a CD.
Individual tracks sold act like "singles". The track "Not Ready to Make" nice has sold over 200,000 copies, platinum in digital terms.