On October 29th, Columbia Records reported that the Glee Cast’s rendition of Journey’s beloved “Don’t Stop Believin’” went Gold in digital sales with an excess of 500,000 downloads. This rounds off the show’s total number of digital song purchases to over two million.
As part of FOX’s genius marketing ploy, songs from each episode are released on iTunes for download as they appear on the show. Tonight, in one of my weakest moments, I gave in and purchased “Defying Gravity.”
After playing the song through a few times, I thought to myself – how many other people did exactly what I did? How many other Americans are also hopelessly brainwashed by the show’s catchy-teen-musical combination that they, too, in a zombie-like fashion, searched “Glee Cast’ in iTunes and clicked “purchase” to the two newest songs?
Around 1 A.M., I found the list of top 100 iTunes downloads, updated daily. Sure enough, within 3 hours of tonight’s Glee episode, the November 12th chart featured Glee’s “Defying Gravity” at #66 and “Proud Mary” at #81. Both songs are the only Glee songs currently featured on the Top 100.
How long had these songs been on the chart? Since there are no archives on the site, I looked up a Google cached version of that exact webpage. The most recent snapshot I found was taken on November 11th at 9:33 GMT, which comes out to 4:33 A.M. EST.
I looked through the list, and I did not see the two songs in question. In fact, I did not even see one Glee song. Just to be sure of this, I used my trusty ⌘F key to “Find” the term Glee in the browser window, and still nothing came up. That’s pretty ⌘F-ing crazy.
Within just a few hours, two previously unknown songs had risen to the Top 100 downloaded list just because they appeared in a TV show.
According to the Boston Herald, the week of October 6th saw ten Glee songs crack the Top 200 download list, with “Somebody to Love” cracking the Top 10 – sitting up there with mainstream favorites Jay-Z, Mylie, and Black Eyed Peas.
All of these songs are not successful because of the phenomenal talent and energy of their performers alone. They are successful because they allow viewers to connect with the visual and emotional sensations they feel when watching the show.
A heart-felt rendition of “Keep Holding On” was sung at the end of an episode where Quinn, head cheerleader, was kicked off the squad because of an unplanned pregnancy. The performance of “No Air” exploded with chemistry between the lead male and female who are destined to cross high school clique boundaries.
This unique model allows the show’s story to continue beyond your flat screen TV. Glee is no longer just a one-hour-a-week commitment. It’s a full experience, a cult, a lifestyle.
=============UPDATE 11/12 10:39 A.M.=============
At 10:39 A.M., the Glee Cast’s version of “Defying Gravity” jumped to #41 and “Proud Mary” to #53. This is getting out of control.
=============UPDATE 11/13 1:36 P.M.=============
I am going to blow your mind with this interesting twist. Let me first start off by saying “Defying Gravity (Glee Cast Version)” is currently at #16 and “Proud Mary” quietly skipped to #39. That, in itself, is worth the blog update. However, I discovered even more noteworthy movement in the charts that merits addressing. Glee now has an additional three songs in the Top 100 daily downloads.
Last Wednesday, character Artie, a paraplegic in a wheelchair, sang a cover of “Dancing with Myself.” I originally did not mention this song as one of the ones featured in last episode because it was not a “Glee Club” song, sung on screen by the entire cast. Apparently, that did not stop the rest of America from paying attention to it. Originally a Billy Idol favorite, this Glee Cast rendition finally cracked the Top 100, coming in at #73.
In an even more mind-boggling event, the last two songs to hit the chart were two different versions of the episode’s headlining song, “Defying Gravity.” Accompanying the original Glee Cast Version at #16 are Rachel/Lea Michele‘s Solo Version at #35 (jumping from yesterday’s #75 ranking which I completely missed) and Kurt/Chris Colfer‘s Solo Version at #88.
I can’t imagine every single one of those three versions were downloaded by different people. That means with just one song, Fox’s genius marketing machine managed to potentially generate up to three times the revenue. No one in their right mind would typically download a song three times. However, as I explained earlier in the posting, these songs are more than just musical bliss. They are the emotional connectors between the viewers and the television show.
The song “Defying Gravity” was sung as part of a “diva-off” between the usual female lead, Rachel, and Kurt, the gay male who also wanted to be considered for the lead role, even though it is typically given to a female. Each character was asked to sing the song and the winner was voted on by the rest of the Glee club.
Downloading one or more of these versions means more than just defining which song displays the most musical prowess. Viewers can continue the show’s popularity debate over one character or another, or in their own way cast their vote as to who they think sang the song best. They could also sympathize with the ideal that everyone should have an equal opportunity, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or handicap.
It could be any or all of these elements. The point is these songs instill something different in everyone, and it’s those personal reasons that make them want to download a particular song – or in this case – maybe all three.