David Cook: The Conspiracy Theories Continue!

Apr 23rd, 2008 // 12 Comments

david-cook-analog-heart.jpgAfter this weekend’s hubbub over David Cook’s Analog Heart topping Amazon’s digital-download chart–then getting mysteriously pulled from the store–I was sure that the album would be somewhere in the lower reaches of SoundScan’s Digital Albums Chart, a 50-album list that is rounded out this week by the 1,700-units-sold Bloodrunk by Children Of Bodom. Doesn’t 1,700 downloads seem like a low-enough bar for an album that’s No. 1 on a major download site’s chart to leap over? Apparently not; Analog Heart isn’t there. But why? I have two plausible reasons!

1. Being top dog on Amazon MP3 may not mean all that much. Sure, it’s getting a lot of good press for attracting non-iTunes users to its DRM-free fold, with the NPD group saying that its “distant No. 2″ status means that it’s got about a tenth of iTunes’ market share–so the album’s sales may have been in the three-digit range, if that.

2. In the interest of keeping the real feelings of the voting public secret, the Idol producers lobbied Amazon to keep a lid on Analog Heart‘s SoundScan data. Obviously the more interesting theory, and somewhat plausible because this is a tack that the powers that be have taken with all the iTunes releases of the contestants’ performances–a bit of secrecy that has resulted in Idol superfan/rickey.org proprietor Rickey figuring out which songs were selling through a lengthy process involving iMix-making. Could their reach extend to a company that they don’t have a promotional relationship with?

Earlier: Fox 411 Columnist’s Anti-David Cook Diatribe: A Sign That Clive Is Not Pleased?

  1. tigerpop

    Can you guys change the banner up top so it reads “Mudcrutch presents Idolator”?

  2. neworiginals

    I want to see “Analog Heart” in the worst album cover contest this year.

  3. Anonymous

    If those are cook’s fingerprints on the cover, someone better steal his identity quick!

  4. Al Shipley

    The whole “keeping the real feelings of the voting public secret” is such a ridiculous charade to begin with. There are a hundred ways to guage the popularity of AI contestants that the shows’ producers can’t possibly suppress, so the fact that they keep jumping to control the ones they can is an exercise in futility. As long as noone within the phone company is leaking voting statistics or something, it should all be fair game and out in the public.

  5. Thierry

    @tigerpop: Now that’s a new owner I could learn to love…

  6. extracrispy

    @GotanOrange: That’s not his hand. It doesn’t say “Give Back” on it.

  7. Chris Molanphy

    Just to make this part of this post — Maura and I were discussing this offline earlier…

    I think the reasons for the Soundscan no-show are a combination of theories 1 and 2 above, but I don’t think anything terribly sinister is going on.

    First, sales: full-album digital sales really are, still, a small fraction of phyiscal. In weeks where a blockbuster album sets a digital record, it’s often with sales in the low five figures (Kanye last fall was a notable exception). So imagine that those sales are mostly Apple’s, and imagine that Amazon’s digital sales overall are about one-eighth to one-tenth (I might even be generous there) of Apple’s. It’s entirely plausible that Cook’s sales–even at No. 1 on Amazon, especially for an album that got pulled over two days–numbered less than a grand.

    I don’t believe the Idol producers could get Amazon to not report legitimate sales of something. They do that with iTunes only because of their special overall business relationship with Apple–and since the day-after-downloads feature is new for this season, they clearly negotiated that deal point before the season started.

    However, I do believe Idol has the clout to tell Amazon, “Please pull this album: 19 owns his recording contract now, we want to not dilute his sales, and we’ll have new product to sell you later.” (Not a deep, dark secret — even if Cook were to get voted out tonight, he’s a shoo-in to record a 19/BMG-distributed album.)

    That, plus the short window of sales, accounts for the Soundscan no-show.

  8. Anonymous

    @extracrispy: damn that was a good one.

  9. MikeBrownDelendaEst

    You guys really need to invest in a soundscan account.

    It sold 885 copies this week (all digital), or about half of what would be required to make the digital albums chart.

  10. Maura Johnston

    @yayadiaw: don’t i know it. (dang budgets.) thanks.

  11. Anonymous

    cook didn’t put the cd on amazon.com and AI pulled it because someone else was making money off of the cd not cook. AI had all contestants take their music off everything, even their myspace pages when they found out they were going to hollywood week….david is not making any money from the cd

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