Coldplay’s Status As “That iTunes Band” Remains Unchallenged

Dec 3rd, 2008 // 9 Comments

Yesterday the iTunes Store released its year-end lists, and while its “best of” lists are somewhat intriguing (the albums rundown is topped by Raphael Saadiq, while the “Best Songs” list has both Motley Crue’s “Saints Of Los Angeles” and Hercules & Love Affair’s “Blind” in its top 10), it’s the sales charts, of course, that allow us to place our collective finger somewhere near the pulse of those people who buy albums from the comfort of their cubicles/drunken late-night outings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Coldplay’s Viva La Vida—which was promoted heavily by an ad for the iTunes Store—is the top-selling album of the year. Top 50 is after the jump, but first, a few impressions.

THE GOOD: I don’t know why, but there’s something hilarious about Disturbed’s Indestructible (No. 28) being nestled between Paramore and the soundtrack for Sex And The City.
THE BAD: The overall MOR-ness of the chart—Leona, Amy, Duffy, Colbie, even Counting Crows all the way down at No. 43—shouldn’t be all that surprising, although I did raise my eyebrows at the notion that enough people bought the OneRepublic album that it landed in the top 10. I know digital sales are a fraction of overall album sales even now, but really? Is the power of Timbaland’s “ay”-ing that profound?
THE WHAAA? For all its power as a singles-sales force, there sure were a lot of soundtracks that flew off iTunes’ virtual shelves—10 in the top 50 alone, including the Juno soundtrack, which placed third overall. Also in the upper reaches of the year-end chart: The Across The Universe soundtrack, probably because it brought together Bono and Evan Rachel Wood; and the unkillable Alvin & The Chipmunks soundtrack (No. 24—right ahead of Duffy!). Although if you click through you’ll see that its most popular track by a far, far margin is whatever version of “The Christmas Song” has been included on the disc. For some reason, this comforts me a lot.



1. Coldplay, Viva La Vida
2. Jack Johnson, Sleep Through The Static
3. Juno soundtrack
4. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III
5. Sara Bareilles, Little Voice
6. Once soundtrack
7. Jason Mraz, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things
8. OneRepublic, Dreaming Out Loud
9. Across The Universe soundtrack
10. Leona Lewis, Spirit
11. Metallica, Death Magnetic
12. Radiohead, In Rainbows
13. Taylor Swift, Fearless
14. Mamma Mia! soundtrack
15. T.I., Paper Trail
16. Amy Winehouse, Back To Black
17. Vampire Weekend
18. Taylor Swift
19. Death Cab For Cutie, Narrow Stairs
20. Camp Rock soundtrack
21. Madonna, Hard Candy
22. Colbie Caillat, Coco
23. Rihanna, Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded
24. Alvin And The Chipmunks soundtrack
25. Duffy, Rockferry
26. Jonas Brothers, A Little Bit Longer
27. Carrie Underwood, Carnival Ride
28. Paramore, Riot!
29. Disturbed, Indestructible
30. Sex And The City soundtrack
31. Katy Perry, One Of The Boys
32. Alicia Keys, As I Am
33. Adele, 19
34. High School Musical 3: Senior Year
35. Daughtry
36. MGMT, Oracular Spectacular
37. Lupe Fiasco, The Cool
38. Eddie Vedder, Into The Wild
39. M.I.A., Kala
40. Mariah Carey, E=MC2
41. John Mayer, Where The Light Is
42. Jonas Brothers
43. Counting Crows, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings
44. 3 Doors Down
45. Bob Marley, Legend
46. Led Zeppelin, Mothership
47. Weezer
48. Miley Cyrus, Breakout
49. August Rush soundtrack
50. P.S. I Love You soundtrack

2008 [iTunes]

  1. Chris Molanphy

    I believe for a couple of weeks in January, iTunes had an exclusive on the Juno soundtrack, which would explain in part its high placement; at least a week or two of its sales were outsize because of that exclusive. And even when the disc was released to retail, stores were slow to pick it up at first, because its sales took everyone by surprise. So while it’s clearly in iTunes’ Garden State pocket and would’ve sold well there regardless, there was a bit of supply-and-demand fueling it, too.

  2. the rich girls are weeping

    I’m sorry, all I can think here is: Stuff White People Like.

  3. dreamsneverend

    As goofy as it is, this chart is FAR more interesting than the normal Billboard ones.

  4. Tauwan

    @the rich girls are weeping:

    HA!

    The word “iTunes” in brackets behind 2008 could totally be replaced with “Borders”, “Barnes & Noble”, or “Starbucks”, right?

  5. Anonymous

    @the rich girls are weeping:

    Yep. I just don’t get Coldplay. Zeppelin still rules.

  6. revmatty

    Wow. I’ve got three of those albums (Radiohead, Alicia Keys, MIA).

  7. How do I say this ... THROWDINI!

    @the rich girls are weeping: @revmatty:

    Crap, I have 10 of these, but they’re probably (for the most part, fingers-crossed) the “idolator approved” releases:

    1. Coldplay, Viva La Vida
    3. Juno soundtrack (the one I actually bought off iTunes)
    12. Radiohead, In Rainbows
    15. T.I., Paper Trail
    17. Vampire Weekend
    19. Death Cab For Cutie, Narrow Stairs
    36. MGMT, Oracular Spectacular
    39. M.I.A., Kala
    45. Bob Marley, Legend
    47. Weezer (I’m assuming this is the red album)

  8. Maura Johnston

    @How do I say this … THROWDINI!:

    1. Coldplay, Viva La Vida
    4. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III
    11. Metallica, Death Magnetic
    12. Radiohead, In Rainbows
    13. Taylor Swift, Fearless
    15. T.I., Paper Trail
    16. Amy Winehouse, Back To Black
    17. Vampire Weekend
    23. Rihanna, Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded
    26. Jonas Brothers, A Little Bit Longer
    27. Carrie Underwood, Carnival Ride
    28. Paramore, Riot!
    32. Alicia Keys, As I Am
    33. Adele, 19
    39. M.I.A., Kala
    40. Mariah Carey, E=MC2

  9. How do I say this ... THROWDINI!

    @Maura Johnston: So I hit 50% Idolator-approved, or at least Maura-approved. I’ll take that. Poor Weezer didn’t make the cut. Not even for “research” purposes?

    (And really, you don’t have Legend? I mean, I know its cliche, pretty much the only reggae album anyone owns and I didn’t get my copy until a couple of years ago, but I assumed everyone had a copy of that album somewhere. Sometimes you just gotta hear “I Shot The Sheriff.”)

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