May 23, 2006
Dixie Chicks: Taking the Long Way
Posted by Christine Hurt

Dixiechicks 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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