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It’s a further sign of encouragement—atop the service’s mere existence and (thus far) warm reception—that an apparently substan-tial number of adults have taken to a paid-download service. Why are grown-ups coming to the table now?
APPLE’S PIE IS HOT—AC, THAT IS
The iTunes Top 100 Downloads Chart Showcases a Different Kind of Online Adult Entertainment
By Simon Glickman

As anyone who’s been checking out the top downloads on Apple’s iTunes Music Store is well aware, the user base—so far, at least—is seriously upper-demo.

Even with a declining overall CD sales picture, adults have proved a strong source of revenue for the music biz over the last couple of years, not only supporting iTunes topliners like U2, Sheryl Crow, Coldplay, Avril Lavigne, John Mayer and Sting but also breaking unconventional artists like Norah Jones (another Apple chartbuster) and the mega-selling O Brother soundtrack. They have also, hitherto, been the ones with the least time to blow searching for tracks online.

But they’re clearly the ones driving the iTunes chart. Consider not only the artists cited above but—on the Top 100 reproduced below—the presence of Hot AC/APM-supported newcomers like Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson along with format faves Counting Crows, Matchbox Twenty and Three Doors Down. Not to mention non-commercial (i.e. NPR) tastemaker faves like The Flaming Lips and Massive Attack.

The only dance-pop in evidence comes from adult-friendly, TV-supported artists like Pink and Kylie Minogue. Then there’s TV-to-Adult Pop crossover Idol Kelly Clarkson. The one track from rockers Audioslave happens to be the one that’s lighting up phones at adult radio and spinning at VH1. And the only hip-hop acts are the chart-topping Eminem and 50 Cent—the kinds of rap records that even those who generally avoid the genre tend to be curious about.

It need hardly be said that the presence of Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, Cher and—just admit it—The Clash bespeaks a substantial boomer presence.

It’s a further sign of encouragement—atop the service’s mere existence and (thus far) warm reception—that an apparently substantial number of adults have taken to a paid-download service. Why are grown-ups coming to the table now? It would seem to break down to a few key factors.

One is a large selection from the Big Five, mostly available on either a per-track or per-album basis. Another is one-click purchasing, which has worked well for Amazon.com (indeed, the current issue of Newsweek pointedly skips over Jeff Bezos’ e-tailing behemoth to dub the iTunes platform “the coolest store on the Internet”). What’s more, the groovy functionality and portability of the iPod, which puts most portable MP3 players to shame, has already developed a cult-like following.

Apple’s advertising and design principles have always put elegance and simplicity ahead of geek-appeal—their gear, as my colleague Jon O’Hara puts it, “makes nice furniture.” In terms of lifestyle marketing, it all dovetails nicely with an adult-leaning music service.

Of course, Apple’s small share of the computer market raises doubts about how representative their users are.  It will be interesting to see if the PC rollout of the iTunes Store—likely to be platformed on the MusicMatch Jukebox—attracts a similar demo or a more diverse crowd.

For the time being, though, this is yet another “adult format.” We present a larger chart for your consideration.

APPLE’S HOT 100
Most-Downloaded iTunes Tracks (as of May 8)

  1. “Stuck in a Moment,” U2 (Exclusive)
  2. “Clocks,” Coldplay
  3. “Lose Yourself” (Soundtrack Version), Eminem
  4. “Beautiful Day” (Live From Boston), U2 (Exclusive)
  5. “Soak Up the Sun,” Sheryl Crow
  6. “I Will Follow” (Live From Boston), U2 (Exclusive)
  7. “Don't Know Why,” Norah Jones
  8. “In My Place,” Coldplay
  9. “The Way I Am,” Eminem & Marilyn Manson (Exclusive)
  10. “One I Love,” Coldplay (Exclusive)
  11. “January Stars,” Sting (Exclusive)
  12. “Unwell” (Live Acoustic), Matchbox Twenty (Exclusive)
  13. “The Scientist,” Coldplay
  14. “When I'm Gone,” 3 Doors Down
  15. “God Put a Smile upon Your Face,” Coldplay
  16. “Intuition” (Todd Terry Radio Mix), Jewel (Exclusive)
  17. “In da Club,” 50 Cent
  18. “Safe and Sound,” Sheryl Crow (Exclusive)
  19. “Picture,” Kid Rock
  20. “Politik,” Coldplay
  21. “Come Away With Me,” Norah Jones
  22. “Warning Sign,” Coldplay
  23. “Amsterdam,” Coldplay
  24. “Like a Stone,” Audioslave
  25. “Lullaby for an Anxious Child,” Sting (Exclusive)
  26. “Green Eyes,” Coldplay
  27. “Everything Is Broken” (Alternate Mix), Bob Dylan (Exclusive)
  28. “Beautiful,” Christina Aguilera
  29. “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” Coldplay
  30. “Daylight,” Coldplay
  31. “A Whisper,” Coldplay
  32. “These Drugs,” Eminem & D12 (Exclusive)
  33. “Get the Party Started,” Pink
  34. “Amie” (Non LP Version), Counting Crows (Exclusive)
  35. “Complicated,” Avril Lavigne
  36. “Unwell,” Matchbox Twenty
  37. “Beautiful Day,” U2
  38. “And It Stoned Me” (Live), David Gray (Exclusive)
  39. “The Horizon's Been Defeated” (Live), Jack Johnson (Exclusive)
  40. “Miss Independent,” Kelly Clarkson
  41. “Butterfly Caught” (JAGZ Kooner Remix), Massive Attack (Exclusive)
  42. “Bittersweet Symphony,” The Verve
  43. “Your Body Is a Wonderland,” John Mayer
  44. “Butterfly Caught” (RJD2 Remix), Massive Attack (Exclusive)
  45. “Rock the Casbah” (Remastered), The Clash
  46. “Gypsy,” Fleetwood Mac (Exclusive)
  47. “The Nearness of You,” Norah Jones
  48. “Richard Manuel” (Live Acoustic), Counting Crows (Exclusive)
  49. “Butterfly Caught” (Paul Daley Remix), Massive Attack (Exclusive)
  50. “Hero Blues” (Live at Carnegie Hall), Bob Dylan (Exclusive)
  51. “A Thousand Miles,” Vanessa Carlton
  52. “Hard Candy” (Live Acoustic), Counting Crows (Exclusive)
  53. “Turn Me On,” Norah Jones
  54. “Spanish Harlem Incident” (Live), Bob Dylan (Exclusive)
  55. “Without Me,” Eminem
  56. “Feelin' the Same Way,” Norah Jones
  57. “Cold Cold Heart,” Norah Jones
  58. “Hurt,” Johnny Cash
  59. “The Long Day Is Over,” Norah Jones
  60. “Seven Years,” Norah Jones
  61. “Can't Get You Out of My Head,” The Flaming Lips (Exclusive)
  62. “American Girls” (Live), Counting Crows (Exclusive)
  63. “Special Cases” (Akufen Remix), Massive Attack (Exclusive)
  64. “Please Forgive Me” (Live), David Gray (Exclusive)
  65. “Special Cases” (Luomo's Casing), Massive Attack (Exclusive)
  66. “The Remedy (I Won't Worry),” Jason Mraz
  67. “I've Got to See You Again,” Norah Jones
  68. “Nightingale,” Norah Jones
  69. “Shoot the Moon,” Norah Jones
  70. “Gold Dust Woman,” Fleetwood Mac (Exclusive)
  71. “I'm with You,” Avril Lavigne
  72. “Can't Get You out of My Head,” Kylie Minogue
  73. “Landslide,” Fleetwood Mac
  74. “One Flight Down,” Norah Jones
  75. “All I Wanna Do,” Sheryl Crow
  76. “Lonestar,” Norah Jones
  77. “Kryptonite,” 3 Doors Down
  78. “Painter's Song,” Norah Jones
  79. “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” (Remastered), The Clash
  80. “Superman,” Five for Fighting
  81. “Lost Cause,” Beck
  82. “Lose Yourself” (Soundtrack Version), Eminem
  83. “The Lights of London,” David Gray (Exclusive)
  84. “All the Things She Said,” T.A.T.U.
  85. “Baba O'Riley,” The Who
  86. “With or Without You,” U2
  87. “Fighter,” Christina Aguilera
  88. “Loverboy,” David Gray (Exclusive)
  89. “It's My Life,” Bon Jovi
  90. “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Pt.1),” The Flaming Lips (Exclusive)
  91. “Steve McQueen,” Sheryl Crow
  92. “A Little Less Conversation,” Elvis Presley
  93. “Adiemus,” Adiemus
  94. “I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For,” U2
  95. “Fallin’,” Alicia Keys (Exclusive)
  96. “Believe,” Cher
  97. “Up Above the Daily Hum,” The Flaming Lips (Exclusive)
  98. “If I Go Mad/Funeral in My Head,” The Flaming Lips (Exclusive)
  99. “Sing for the Moment,” Eminem
  100. “A Moment Like This” (New Mix), Kelly Clarkson


 

 

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