Downloads count as votes on ‘The Voice’; two songs land on iTunes chart

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With a wealth of music-based competitions on the air, NBC’s “The Voice” has still found a way to separate itself from the rest.

On Tuesday’s first live show, where the contestants competed for America’s vote and not those of the mentors/judges, host Carson Daly bragged that the show was the “most digitally integrated” of them all. And while ‘The Voice’ has gone to great lengths to highlight its immersive social media efforts, he said the show’s voting structure is what gives the contestants an edge.

‘The Voice’ will offer viewers the voting methods they’ve grown accustomed to: dialing in or going online. But the show is also taking it a step further, and not just by allowing voting through iPad apps (which it does). While competitions such as “American Idol” offer up the contestants’ weekly offerings for purchase via iTunes, “The Voice” will make each purchase count as an actual vote toward the contestant, a first for American musical reality competitions.

The arrangement combines the forces of NBC and Universal Republic Records, the label that will provide the winner with a $100,000 recording deal, and downloads are priced at the traditional $1.29 on the iTunes store.


Much has been written about “Idol” making the studio versions available as a compilation album after the weekly performances. But that left the album, and not the individual contestants, qualified to chart. As of Wednesday morning, two ‘Voice’ contestants had broken into the Top 100 on iTunes. Dia Frampton’s version of Kanye West’s “Heartless” sat at No. 37, while young Xenia’s “Price Tag” occupied the No. 89 spot.

Paul Telegdy, executive vice president of alternative programming at NBC and Universal Media Studios, said in a statement that the new voting “reflects the reality of music lovers who vote everyday for their favorite artists by downloading and purchasing their music.’

iTunes purchases are tallied during the same window as phone and online votes.


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-- Gerrick D. Kennedy