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Is David Cook a “Ringer”?

April 21, 2008

This morning, the always quotable Fox News suggested Idol contestant David Cook is a “ringer”, since he currently has an album available for download via Amazon’s mp3 site.

The album, Analog Heart, was released in 2006 and was this weekend’s most downloaded album on the site. Fox claims this is a bit sketchy and possibly in violation of the competition’s rules. Oh, Fox News, always trying to make stories out of absolutely nothing.

Past releases from Kristy Lee Cook, Carly Smithson and Michael Johns’ former band have all been — and are currently — available on iTunes. And if I remember correctly, an independent release from 2006 winner Taylor Hicks was also available for download during Season 5.

How is this different? Maybe because no other Idol contestant has had such a sought-after previous release. Besides Amazon, Cook’s version of Always Be My Baby has also been the #1 downloaded song on iTunes for the past four days, even if Idol songs are not listed in the general Top Songs rankings.

While this may seem like “news” to some people, it’s really nothing. Some music download sites, such as Amazon and iTunes, may sound like highly-exclusive lucrative mediums, but almost anyone can make their music available for download on these services. If you checked, you are almost guaranteed to find albums released by favorite local bands and everyone in between. If I wanted to, I could probably even cut an album (or single) and release it on iTunes, which would be both ridiculous and hysterical since even my mother says I have one of the worst singing voices she has ever heard.

American Idol is not as relevant as it once was, perhaps because people have tired of it, but I think the changing music industry is more a factor. When the series debuted, you did not have MySpace and breaking unknown acts on television soundtracks was in its relative infancy . Today’s artists gain a following through the internet, video games, television and commercials. People would not know who The Fray were had it not been for Grey’s Anatomy, and it’s safe to say Death Cab for Cutie and Keane expanded their respective fanbases with exposure on The OC. And what about Apple? U2’s Vertigo was essentially released through iTunes advertising, and 1234 made Feist the musical guest on Saturday Night Live mere weeks after the song was used on an iPod commercial. Now it is almost an announcement-in-itself about which song will be used when Apple debuts a new product.

Obviously, Idol is aware of these factors since its partnership with Apple is nearly as cloying as Coca Cola’s sponsorship of the show. (Oh look at the contestants downloading music on their iPhones while preparing for next week’s performance!)

Yes, this “news” is interesting, but not for the reasons Fox News wants you to think. It’s interesting because never before has a contestant on this show generated as much interest as to pummel established artists’ downloads during the actual season, which obviously gives him the right to do his hair in any manner he so chooses. Of course, it doesn’t mean they’re not going to let him win over The Chosen Eunuch.

UPDATE: Analog Heart has since been removed from Amazon, prompting many to wonder if it isn’t a Fox-related conspiracy designed to appease Clive Davis and guarantee The Chosen Eunuch as the big winner. But does it really matter? The big “winner” of Season 5 was Chris Daughtry…and he came in fourth.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2008 12:56 pm

    That was a very regional award that David C. won. Of all the current (or recently eliminated) contestants, David C. has had the LEAST exposure. Consider the following facts:
    Every contestant left (or just recently eliminated) on the current season of American Idol has had some kind of exposure, be it national, regional, or local. 
    Carly, Michael, Kristy, and Brooke had all put out albums prior to AI (on record labels, be it major or indy). 
    David Archuletta had national TV exposure by appearing on Star Search. 
    Syesha appeared on an ABC TV series in 2006 called “The One – Making A Music Star.” 
    Also in 2006,  Jason was on an MTV series called “Cheyenne”. 
    And then we have David Cook who played in local bands in the KC and Tulsa area.
    “Analog Heart” was NOT released on a label and has been available for download since 2006, It was only when David C. appeared on AI, and then the intrigued listeners googled him, did they find his pre-Idol history and “Analog Heart”. It is not David’s fault that his music was/is out-selling the Idols’ previous releases. But then again, it is his fault.
    For being so talented.
    People apparently would rather listen to him than the others.

  2. AUDRY permalink
    April 23, 2008 12:11 am

    American idol in my opinion was design to make wanna be. fulfilled their dream as an
    artist. I did look into David C. and found very interesting that he even won an award
    in his band music. Looked in wikepedia. In which case, I felt that since he is already
    an accomplish artist. I wonder why take away the spot for someone that will truly like
    to be in his position. Tha fact is when you are in a competition like american idol and
    selling your album at the same time and doing really well on it. It does not make any sense.

  3. April 21, 2008 10:44 pm

    Spot on, spot on!

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