iTunes Proves People Really Are As Tasteless As You Think They Are

Dec 11th, 2007 // 32 Comments

And having just spent a half-hour typing out* iTunes’ Top 20 best-selling songs, Top 20 best-selling albums, and Top 10 best-selling videos, I can vouch for the insanity. Want a 2007 list based not on the personal aesthetic whims of a couple of bloggers or an editorial staff trying to look hip or a publisher second-guessing what its audience wants/expects to appear on a year-end list, but a democratically chosen list based around raw commerce, a list voted for by the public, comprised entirely of what they were most willing to spend their .99 on during the last 12 months? Well here it is. And the public sucks. The full lists are after the jump, but for now my shell-shocked first thoughts.

THE GOOD: Maroon 5′s louche dude funk gets a bad rap (though you’d have a hard time holding us to that sentiment when one of their ballads is playing) but even after following the numbers during the year, we’re still a little surprised to see them topping the albums list ahead of Kanye. A few decent long-players stud the rest of the list, and a “Weird Al” appearance (in the Top Videos category) always brings a smile. But more than any single artist, people really plunked down for some Timbaland this year, no matter who he was featuring and/or producing. And with the exception of “Apologize,” we’re more than OK with hearing any of Tim’s 2007 hits for the billionth time compared to…
THE BAD: Colbie Caillat! Daughtry! Akon! “Party Like A Rock Star”! A squeaky Stefani (who’s at least not yodelling)! Nickelback mugging with half of America! Fergie at No. 1! When I die and go to blogger hell, this Top 20 playlist will be looped for all eternity, broken up only by the occasional airing of the complete works of Sufjan Stevens, as the editors of Stereogum beat me around the neck with rolled-up press releases.
THE WHAAAA? Some basic figures for you to contemplate and/or shudder over. Within the Top 100 best-selling singles of 2007 we have: Four Akon songs, four Avril Lavigne songs (including one remix), three Daughtry songs, two Fall Out Boy songs, three Fergie songs, five Justin Timberlake songs, two Kanye songs, two Maroon 5 songs, two My Chemical Romance songs, two Nickelback songs, two Pink songs (?!), three Rihanna songs, two Sean Kingston songs, two T-Pain songs (not counting collabos), and three Timbaland songs (not counting productions). That’s nearly half of the Top 100 controlled by 15 artists, or a quarter of it controlled by seven if we only count the ones that scored three or more slots. Plus Feist was in the Top 20 albums, but download sensation “1-2-3-4″ doesn’t even show up until No. 80! So much for the new model.

[EDIT: The full list of the Top 100 best-selling singles is now posted after the jump thanks to the Excel skillz of commenter extraordinaire therichgirlsareweeping, and looking at it has cooled my ire a little, as many more decent-to-great songs start appearing the further down you go. However that Top 20 is, with a few exceptions, still awful awful awful.]

Top Singles

1 Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal)- Fergie
2 The Sweet Escape- Gwen Stefani
3 Hey There Delilah- Plain White T’s
4 Girlfriend (Radio Edit)- Avril Lavigne
5 Glamorous – Fergie
6 Stronger – Kanye West
7 Makes Me Wonder- Maroon 5
8 Don’t Matter – Akon
9 The Way I Are (feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E.) – Timbaland
10 Party Like a Rock Star – Shop Boyz
11 Crank That (Soulja Boy) – Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em
12 Umbrella (feat. Jay-Z) – Rihanna
13 Apologize (feat. OneRepublic) – Timbaland
14 Rockstar – Nickelback
15 Bubbly – Colbie Caillat
16 Give It to Me (feat. Justin Timberlake & Nelly Furtado) – Timbaland
17 Say It Right – Nelly Furtado
18 Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’) – T-Pain featuring Yung Joc
19 Cupid’s Chokehold / Breakfast in America (feat. Patrick Stump) [Bonus Track] – Gym Class Heroes featuring Patrick Stump
20 It’s Not Over – Daughtry
21 This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race – Fall Out Boy
22 Thnks Fr Th Mmrs – Fall Out Boy
23 This Is Why I’m Hot – Mims
24 Beautiful Girls – Sean Kingston
25 Home – Daughtry
26 Irreplaceable – Beyoncé
27 What I’ve Done – Linkin Park
28 What Goes Around…/…Comes Around Interlude – Justin Timberlake
29 If Everyone Cared – Nickelback
30 Fergalicious – Fergie
31 No One – Alicia Keys
32 Shut Up and Drive – Rihanna
33 The Great Escape – Boys Like Girls
34 How Far We’ve Come – Matchbox Twenty
35 Cyclone – Baby Bash
36 U + Ur Hand – P!nk
37 Pop, Lock & Drop It (Video Edit) – Huey
38 Kiss Kiss (feat. T-Pain) – Chris Brown
39 Summer Love/Set the Mood Prelude – Justin Timberlake
40 Never Again – Kelly Clarkson
41 A Bay Bay (Main) – Hurricane Chris
42 Bartender (feat. Akon) – T-Pain
43 Beautiful Liar – Beyoncé & Shakira
44 Rehab – Amy Winehouse
45 Face Down – The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
46 Here (In Your Arms) – Hellogoodbye
47 Wait for You – Elliott Yamin
48 First Time – Lifehouse
49 Girlfriend (Featuring Lil’ Mama) [Dr. Luke Mix] – Avril Lavigne
50 Gimme More – Britney Spears
51 I Wanna Love You – Akon featuring Snoop Dogg
52 The Way I Live – Baby Boy Da Prince featuring P. Town Moe
53 Paralyzer – Finger Eleven
54 Teardrops On My Guitar – Taylor Swift
55 Smack That (Dirty) – Akon featuring Eminem
56 Me Love – Sean Kingston
57 Potential Breakup Song – Aly & AJ
58 Sorry, Blame It On Me – Akon
59 SexyBack – Justin Timberlake & Timbaland
60 Walk It Out – Unk
61 Welcome to the Black Parade – My Chemical Romance
62 We Fly High – Jim Jones
63 Waiting On the World to Change – John Mayer
64 I Tried – Bone Thugs-N-Harmony featuring Akon
65 Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall
66 Last Night (Featuring Keyshia Cole – Diddy featuring Keyshia Cole
67 Keep Holding On – Avril Lavigne
68 Lip Gloss – Lil Mama
69 S.O.S. – Jonas Brothers
70 Runaway Love – Ludacris
71 Wake Up Call – Maroon 5
72 Good Life – Kanye West
73 Who Knew – P!nk
74 Candyman – Christina Aguilera
75 Get It Shawty – Lloyd
76 Because of You – Ne-Yo
77 Misery Business – Paramore
78 Big S**t Poppin’ (Do It) – T.I.
79 Like a Boy – Ciara
80 1234 – Feist
81 Nobody’s Perfect – Hannah Montana
82 Hate That I Love You – Rihanna
83 Icky Thump – White Stripes
84 Over It – Katharine McPhee
85 Ayo Technology (feat. Justin Timberlake) – 50 Cent
86 Lost In This Moment - Big & Rich
87 Everything – Michael Bublé
88 Low (feat. T-Pain) – Flo Rida
89 My Love – Justin Timberlake & T.I.
90 Ice Box – Omarion
91 Whine Up (English Version) – Kat DeLuna
92 Over You – Daughtry
93 I’m a Flirt (Remix) [Radio Version] – R. Kelly featuring T.I. & T-Pain
94 When You’re Gone – Avril Lavigne
95 Go Getta – Young Jeezy featuring R. Kelly
96 We Takin’ Over – DJ Khaled featuring Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Baby & Lil’ Wayne
97 Dance Floor Anthem – Good Charlotte
98 Teenagers – My Chemical Romance
99 So Small – Carrie Underwood
100 LoveStoned/I Think She Knows Interlude – Justin Timberlake

Top Albums

1. Maroon 5, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long
2. Kanye West, Graduation
3. Amy Winehouse, Back To Black
4. Daughtry
5. Colbie Caillat, Coco
6. Linkin Park, Minutes To Midnight
7. High School Musical 2
8. Timbaland, Shock Value
9. John Mayer, Continuum
10. Hairspray (Soundtrack)
11. Fall Out Boy, Infinity On High
12. White Stripes, Icky Thump
13. Justin Timberlake, FutureSex/LoveSounds
14. Norah Jones, Not Too Late
15. Feist, The Reminder
16. Across The Universe (Soundtrack)
17. The Shins, Wincing The Night Away
18. Lily Allen, Alright, Still
19. Rascal Flatts, Still Feels Good
20. Modest Mouse, We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank

Top Videos
1. Nickelback, “Rockstar”
2. Rihanna feat. Jay-Z, “Umbrella”
3. Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, “Crank That (Soulja Boy)”
4. Avril Lavigne, “Girlfriend”
5. “Weird Al” Yankovic, “White And Nerdy”
6. Justin Timberlake, “What Goes Around… Comes Around”
7. Shakira and Beyonce, “Beautiful Liar”
8. Fergie, “Glamorous”
9. Carrie Underwood, “Before He Cheats”
10. Sean Kingston, “Beautiful Girls”

*I love you guys, but I just couldn’t type out the full 100 entries for each of these lists, let alone the nine lists broken down by genre. And please don’t tell me there’s an easy way to copy and paste this info from iTunes or I will cry and/or feel like a feeb.

idolator

  1. strapsy

    Idolator “2008 To Do List…”

    - hire interns

  2. Dickdogfood

    Fucking Nickelback. Even from Christians I expect a more complex worldview than “you know, in a way, everybody really wants to be a rock star.”

    Also: EVERY SINGLE MUSICIAN IN THE VIDEO is better than Nickelback. Including the Naked Cowboy.

  3. SuperUnison

    Once country music fans develop thumbs and an understanding of how a computer works, this list will look very different.

  4. motoraway

    Scary. Can’t say I’m a fan of the top albums sold, except perhaps 4 of them, which is a bit of a stretch.

  5. Rob Murphy

    I’m quite surprised that Coco, which has only been out for 5 months, is the number 5 album for all of 2007. The presence of Graduation at number 2 does not surprise me, actually, but Colbie Caillat — an artist who appeals heavily to consumers who still actually buy lots of CDs [see, Norah Jones @ 14, Feist @ 15, Rascal Flatts @ 19] — at number 5???

    That’s scary.

    But seriously, I think it’s also a harbinger that we are close to the tipping point where digital sales will no longer be a niche component of the overall sales.

  6. Al Shipley

    two Pink songs (?!)

    those songs were both top 10 hits, though, where’s the mystery?

  7. Anonymous

    I think I just threw up a little bit.

  8. Maura Johnston

    Look further down the list and you’ll notice that Hannah Montana 2 was outsold by:

    • Mika
    My December
    • The soundtrack to Music & Lyrics

    (although I do wonder if something’s up with the iTunes database and HM2, as its product page lists the album’s release date as 10/24/06. And we all know that ain’t the case.)

  9. Al Shipley

    So how many times is T-Pain in the Top Songs list if you do count collabos?

  10. Jess Harvell

    @GovernmentNames: my suprise was directed more at pink’s continuing popularity than their placement.

  11. the rich girls are weeping

    Jess, I think it involves judicious use of Excel. I’ll see what I can do — watch the tip box.

    People with moral principles have bad taste. Which is something we already knew, right? Right?!?!?

  12. Jess Harvell

    @GovernmentNames: six, unless i just missed one.

  13. Jess Harvell

    that’s chris brown, flo rida, and r. kelly.

  14. Jess Harvell

    by which of course i mean “five.”

    ITS BEEN A LONG DAY, EVERYBODY.

  15. Nicolars

    Dude, you failed to mention that “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, the top song, is one of the WORST SONGS EVER MADE. It gives “What’s Up” a run for it’s money, seriously. Were people hypnotized into buying this because of shirtless Milo Ventimiglia in the video, or what? I’m baffled.

  16. Moimeme

    Why are you complaining about not liking what’s in the top 5/10/20/100…if anything you really liked entered those echelons wouldn’t you automatically have to hate it anyway?

  17. Anonymous

    @ Superunison: That’s so wrong it’s right!

    Although the majority of Americans are really poor in taste, there’s no way Fergie would be #1 if a good chunk of snobby “real music” lovers liked it too.

  18. G3K

    I’m surprised to see Lily Allen there in the albums list – that’s one of those quirky records that sold better in digital than physical form, right?

  19. Paula

    @Nicolars: I was hypnotized by shirtless Milo Ventimiglia (even though Fergie’s stylists dressed him like a Hot Topic refugee), but even I was not drawn in that far. That’s one of those things where you turn the volume down and fast-forward through Fergie looking like a man in a baby doll dress.

  20. Maura Johnston

    i would like to note that ‘my love’ outsold quite a few songs that were actually popular in 2007, including ‘i’m a flirt.’

  21. Chris Molanphy

    Heads-up for anyone reading this who has a passing interest in all things charty: I’ll be dedicating this week’s “100 and Single” to Billboard‘s year-end charts (and dropping it one day later than usual, Friday). Those charts will take more or less what you see here and throw radio into the mix, which should be interesting.

    The placement of (word to Nicolars: eccccch) “Big Girls Don’t Cry” suggests the Ferg has an even stronger shot than I predicted at taking No. 1 for the year. But like I said a couple of weeks ago, Billboard‘s weird Dec-to-Nov chart year might work against her.

    Final thought: hey! MCR’s “Teenagers” at No. 99! That’s pretty good, right?!

  22. Jfrankparnell

    And does no one suspect the marketing budget for artists like this to contain a couple grand or more for self-downloads?

    It will soon; you can’t fake store sales, but …

  23. bcapirigi

    @Nicolars: Amen!

    This list made me mad, though, because I realized I forgot to include Whine Up on my own favorite songs of the year list.

  24. Chris N.

    In related news, I finally learned how to pronounced “Caillat” yesterday.

  25. the rich girls are weeping

    @bcapirigi: Yay, “Whine Up” — so going on my top 10 songs of 07, for sure. Also? “Last Night.” That song kills — too bad it made a crummy ringtone.

  26. Rob Murphy

    @maura: I’m with Maura — we might have to call she-nanigans on some of these numbers. Especially after receiving her report about Hannah Montana 2. 24 October 2006 was the release date for the first Hannah Montana record, not the second.

    [idolator.com]

  27. Trackback

    So iTunes today posted their year-end lists for their best-selling titles, as well as their editorial picks.

  28. jackiekennedy

    sadly, your version of hell sounds like most of the american population’s heaven.

  29. Captain Wrong

    So, I’m not the only one who hates Sufjan Stevens?

  30. Bohoinparadise

    The only reason why Colbie Caillat’s “Bubbly” is ranked so high is because it was the free song of the week sometime back on Itunes. Of course people are gonna download something for free, it doesn’t matter how crappy it is.

  31. Trackback

    Highlights to today’s updates to the constantly updated list of online “best of 2007″ music lists include the A.V. Club editors’ top albums, Berkeley Place’s top indie debuts and Pitchfork’s top music videos.

  32. Trackback

    iTunes recently posted their year-end lists for their best-selling titles, as well as their editorial picks.

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