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Coldplay’s Recent Claim to Fame Artificial July 19, 2009

Posted by David W. King in Uncategorized.
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The web is a buzz with news that Coldplay has become the first band to sell over one million digital albums in the U.S., and over two million digital albums worldwide This supports the notion that digital is the future of recorded music.

However these figures are somewhat artificial. That’s because although this Nielsen SoundScan puts the band’s US digital sales tally at 1.38 million, with EMI reporting over two million albums sold worldwide, this is not for a single album. Rather this includes their four studio records, a live set and an EP,

Soundscan doesn’t paint the whole picture as it does not cover events like Radiohead’s attempt to sell their own album In Rainbows for their own website. As this experiment allowed fans to pay whatever they wanted for this album, this must have resulted in millions of sales since its release18 months ago.

Although SoundScan data doesn’t mention it, iTunes most likely helped Coldplay achieve these stats. This for two reasons:

First, the iPod is the most popular MP3 player the world over, and iTunes is the biggest music retailer in the U.S.

Second, Coldplay’s current album Vida la Vida was promoted by Apple on its launch, with an exclusive early download of the title track available via iTunes, and a heavily-promoted iPod ad-style video.

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