American Idol Powers Country Sales

This week’s SoundScan action centers on the amazing power of American Idol. Execs will recall that AI featured the Grand Ole Opry last week and more specifically, Randy Travis, Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. So how did they do?

Probably no surprise to anyone, Carrie led the sales pack. Her duet with Randy Travis, “I Told You So,” performed on the show, was the week’s No. 8 most downloaded song with 106,361 sales. Carrie’s solo version of the track from her album also benefited, jumping up 24% and selling 19,445 units. Her AI theme song, “Home Sweet Home,” in its second week, sold 39,306 downloads a 65% drop, but still strong enough to be the No. 37 most downloaded track of the week. Fans also voted approval for Underwood by boosting sales of her Carnival Ride CD a healthy 59%.

Similarly, Warner Bros., took advantage of Randy Travis being on the show as “Artist Mentor.” They scheduled his CD release to coincide and were rewarded with a No. 3 showing on the Top Country Currents list for sales of 16,288 units. Travis’ fans perhaps are less digitally dominant since only 1,101 of those units were downloaded or 6.8%. (Carrie’s album downloads totaled 2,357 units or 12% of her total sales.)

Arista gambled for big results with Brad Paisley by introducing the new single “Then” on the show instead of performing a recent hit. Paisley’s song sold 64,127 units landing at No. 18 and about 42,000 units behind Carrie. However, if the AI intro helps to power the song up country radio charts then the bet will pay off.

Meanwhile off the AI beaten track, Rascal Flatts continued to get fans clicking as their second pre-release CD track, “Forever,” debuted this week with 46,551 unit sales. Bizniks will recall that last week the Lyric Street trio introduced “Here Comes Goodbye” setting a country digital debut sales record in the process. This week the song dropped 43% but still sold a whopping 72,326 units.

Wrapping up this week’s SoundScan sales pitch, country album sales are now off 16.9% YTD; overall all genre sales are off 13.6%.

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David M. Ross has been covering Nashville's music industry for over 25 years. [email protected]

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