Clay Aiken and Digital Downloads

According to The NPD Group, a leading market research company, CDs remain the most popular format for paid music purchases. But digital music continues to grow as a means to buy music.  In the first half of this year, 35 percent of purchased music was downloaded – up from 20 percent in 2007.

Russ Crupnick is the Vice President of Entertainment Industry Analysis for The NPD Group.  He reported about the buying trend to Yahoo music and said:

“Many people are surprised that the CD is still the dominant music delivery format, given the attention to digital music and the shrinking retail footprint for physical products.  But with digital music sales growing at 15 to 20 percent, and CDs falling by an equal proportion, digital music sales will nearly equal CD sales by the end of 2010.”

iTunes is now at 69% of all digital sales in the U.S., with the closest rival being AmazonMP3, at 8 percent. Walmart leads in physical sales with 20 percent of sales and is trailed by Best Buy at 16%.

While consumers are increasingly buying their music online, industry experts say as much as 10 times more music is obtained illegally through peer-to-peer Web sites. The move to digital music has also cost the record industry in other ways; online shoppers are more apt to buy single songs instead of higher-margin CDs.

When it comes to the Internet, record companies on the whole, have put up a big stop sign to downloading and are “court-inclined.”

“Remix” is a book by Lawrence Lessig.  In it, he tells the story of a woman who made a video of her two year old, dancing to a Prince song on the radio. She posted it on YouTube. Prince’s record company immediately contacted her and issued her a take-down notice.   Another incident of absurdity from the record company was when fans of Led Zeppelin posted low quality cell phone videos of the band’s 2007 reunion concert in London. Instead of seeing this as a marketing opportunity, Warner Brothers saw it as a copyright violation and ordered YouTube to take these videos down.

It is too bad that the record companies see the Internet and social sites like YouTube as the enemy. They need to start taking advantage of social networking. It is a great way to introduce people to new music and different artists. It is also a good way to get the word out about special promotions and packages that fans want to own.

So many Clay Aiken montages have been removed from YouTube.  Many of the videos are beautiful and show Clay as a humanitarian or just show his many talents.  They would have been great to show the positive side of Clay Aiken.  If one made the montage with some other artist’s music, it was almost always shut down.  Let us hope that the record companies wake up.

The future for physical media sales is not looking good. What is your opinion? Do you prefer to buy digitally, or do you want something you can hold in your hand?  I hope you will comment and let us know how you feel.

Clay Aiken News Network is an unofficial fansite. We are not affiliated in any way with Clay Aiken or his management. This website was made by fans for fans and makes no impression or impersonation of the official site, which can be found under the domain

25 thoughts on “Clay Aiken and Digital Downloads

  1. Completely agree, musicfan123,

    I’ve always thought it was completely against the artist and its music to ban people from putting their music videos on YouTube. On the contrary, it should be the standard these days. Some companies get it, some don’t.
    Clay doesn’t have many (one?) videos and therefore the fanmade videos are the only promo Clay gets.
    If I hadn’t heard his songs on YouTube accompanied by some wonderful montages by the fans, I would have never gone and bought his CD’s.
    To your question. I still buys CD’s but not always…and sometimes I buy them only because in CZ there’s still no iTunes (and because I own an iPod, it infuriates me, frankly). These days I prefer to buy limited edition packs with some additional art, bonus DVD’s and this kind of stuff – when I’m really into the artist/band and there’s the option. It’s pricey but usually worth it.
    I’m glad some companies finally get the importance of the internet and give the buyer exclusive digital tracks or videos when they pre-order etc. So you then have something to hold as well some interesting stuff in your computer.
    I think that’s the future now.

  2. If it wasn’t for the Internet, I would never have heard about the guy named Clay Aiken. If it wasn’t for YouTube, I would never have ordered any of his CDs just because we do NOT hear about him in Europe.
    Internet is an amazing promotion opportunity for any artist, as long as it’s done legally.

    • Plus, I believe the official MySpace and YouTube pages are a wonderful idea for any artist. It really is the best way to discover new music, since noone will buy a CD without knowing what to expect from it. There should be a green light for all sorts of legal previews. That is my opinion.

  3. I still like to purchase a CD. BUT…I know the world is changing, and digital is the way to go. I guess I better get an IPod…huh?

    I have a wonderful stereo system at home, and I love to listen to music that way, without the headphones. I put my 6 cd’s in the shuffle, and off I go.
    To tell you the truth, I love the CD with Clay’s music because I love everything that Clay records. I haven’t bought other music for years, and the reason is because when I do, I probably like maybe 3 songs off the cd, and the rest I won’t listen to.

    I believe that Youtube is a great format for people to find excellent talent….eg….Clay…..Clay promotes himself.. Once you see him, you want to see him over and over again.

    I wish professional people would go into a Clay concert…record it, and put it up on Youtube… each song….so that people could actually see what Clay is all about…and especially include his banter with the audience… (Just like what his fans do taking Clack) but legal.

    Times are a changing…..but nothing is more exciting to me, than when I buy a cd and open it up and read everything….


    • Judy, I second your proposal to have professional recordings of Clay’s concert. What a great promo, esp if they want to go international. All his tours videos in Youtube are sooooo enjoyable, even when the sound quality is not the greatest. I’ve never been to ANY concert, but I will do anything to go to ALL of Clay’s concert, because it is FUN and ENJOYABLE and CLASSY!

      I see that Daughtry is having a concert in Toronto on Nov 2nd. Wish it was AIKEN!!!

  4. I like downloads because they are instantly available to purchase by midnight on the day the CD drops. I’d much rather download my CD at home instead of going to a music store at midnight to purchase one!! Of couse, where Clay Aiken is concerned, I also have to have a physical copy of the CD too!!

    I understand the music industrys’ concerns where illegal downloads are concerned, but I think they are missing the boat with youtube and MySpace or other social networking sites. The recent wedding video where Chris Brown’s music was used saw a 50,000 increase in downloads just becaue of that video! Now that’s nice, free advertising! Maybe we can strike a nice balance between consumers and labels in the near future!

  5. I had heard of Clay Aiken but never heard him sing and didn’t know anything about him…until I saw him in a video on Youtube in November of 2008. I didn’t start watching American Idol until the 4th season so I had a lot of catching up to do in learning about the amazingly talented Mr. Aiken. I just cannot get enough of his videos and music.

    I immediately (that day) downloaded all of his music on Itunes and also bought his CD’s that were available. I also bought quite a few on Ebay because they were no longer available anywhere else.

    His are the only CD’s I will buy. Everything else is bought digitally through Itunes or Amazon.

    I am SO grateful for Youtube!!!!

  6. Right on again, Musicfan. The digital age is the new music way, but I still want to hold my actual Clay Aiken CD. I buy and give away as gifts many copies of a real Clay CD, it wouldn’t be the same if it were “homemade”. One download of a CD is enough for me.

    The illegal downloading is bad, people who do it don’t seem to have any idea (or want to know)that it is stealing.

    As far as social networking such as YouTube, for sure it has proven to be an exellent marketing tool. I can’t imagine how many loyal fans of Clay Aiken’s would not have found him if not for YouTube. I’m sure that goes for other artists too.
    To see and hear Clay is to love him!

    • I, too, had heard of Clay Aiken but never heard him until I was on YouTube listening to Charlotte Church sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” In the column where similar video titles are shown was one of Clay Aiken singing the song, & I clicked it & listened. To say it knocked my socks off is a gross understatement! He gave me chills because of that performance, & I get chills no matter what he sings.

      Where illegal downloading is concerned, the recording industry is really going after the peer-to-peer file sharing with a vengeance. Several individuals have been prosecuted, & Napster had to either clean up its act or be forced out of business. What some people fail to realize is that the artist receives no compensation whatsoever for his work product when a bootleg or pirated item is downloaded or sold. It’s tantamount to going to work, only to be told by your boss that you aren’t going to be paid for it. Additionally, the consumer very often gets a product that is inferior in quality.

      YouTube has indeed turned out to be a terrific marketing tool. I’ve worked in artist management & the artist I worked for decided that, unless a video portrayed him or one of his songs in a negative light, he wanted them left on YouTube. Some artists have a prohibition against videotaping or photographing their live performances, while others have no problem with it. It would be terrific if Clay could have one or more of his concerts professionally videotaped & transferred to DVDs that his fans could purchase. That way, anyone who can’t get to a concert can see one on DVD.

      • Peggy, very interesting post! I’m very thankful that Clay has no problem with his fans videotaping his appearances, we are the lucky recipients of some wonderful performances and are able to spread the word far and wide of what an amazing performer Clay really is.

        In the past few weeks, I have been tagged for several of my montages that are uploaded into youtube. What’s interesting, at least for me, is that instead of taking it down (which is what would have happened in the past) every one of them have chosen to leave the audio enabled and put a “download this song here” option. I have a feeling this may have been due to the success Chris Brown had on that wedding video. I’m thinking that maybe the labels are beginning to see the light! Youtube is a wonderful (and free) marketing tool.

  7. I always get Clay’s CDs first from Itunes and then purchase a CD. I like my music in my Ipod and listening to it thru my car radio since I can’t stand anything that is played on radio these days. It seems to me that this is the way of the future. Obtaining music electronically and Amazon books are now being sold that way also.

  8. I download music but far less frequently than many I know. I may not be the best example of what the majority of consumers like or want but I prefer to own the hard copy…the physical CD. I love to listen to Clay, but anytime I can “hold him” AND listen to him I’m going too!

  9. I agree with the blog and all the comments. I was curious, so I searched “Clay Aiken” on youtube..this is what came up = results 1 – 20 of about 12,000
    Amazing. Thanks for the great blog, very informative!

  10. Like Maj, Dainiic and Linda, I would not have known Clay if not for YouTube. Secretly rooted for him in AI2 but forgot about the whole thing. Thank you to whomever posted Clay’s acapella version of Star Spangled Banner. And a million thanks for all who put up Clacks on Youtube, like many, that’s how I got ‘up to speed’. Really grateful for that. There is hope for new Clay fans to get to know Clay. And great way to introduce Clay to the world!

    I need a physical copy of Clay’s CD for the same reasons mentioned by many here. I want to hold Clay in my hands! 😀 If somehow there is a a chance to be acquainted with digital downloading, I would like try it out too.

  11. I prefer the physical copy of the CD. Don’t own an Ipod. I do think the free downloading of music has been what has ruined the music a lot of other things.

    I so agree that places like YouTube really advertises Clay’s voice and personality at his concerts. I read the comments on many Montages and lots of NJU have nothing but compliments about Clay and his music. Good advertising.

  12. I’d love to have BOTH – online viewing as well as a CD .. Like lovinclay, I don’t own an iPod either; also it would kinda hard to hook this desktop up to my car stereo system heh. To have professional videos of Clay’s concerts would be GREAT !

    Excellent blog as always!

  13. I love YouTube and I am amazed that the record companies are so short-sighted! It is the perfect advertisement for the song and artist!!

    I don’t care about the physical CD unless it is a Clay CD….then I want both!!

    Thanks for another great blog!!

  14. I am one who likes to have the CD in Hand. That way I do not have to depend on one device to play the music I what when I want it.

    Another great article CANN. The music industries should be giving you big kuddos for getting the word out.

  15. I am one who prefer to have a CD in hand.That way I can be very sure I can have his music for keeps and can also browse through the little booklet(don’t know what to call it) for the lyrics of the songs and of course, pictures of Clay.
    I do have an I pod but don’t know how to download songs.Have to go through hubby and my daughter(Mummy!!! you are sooo outdated!!!)
    Looks like I will have to really upgrade my tehnical knowledge.At least I am well versed with You tube now!
    Thanks Musicfan for all your hardwork and research.You have really broaden my horizon…

  16. Musicfan,

    TC should not only read your fine blog on this subject but also all the comments explaining how YouTube, downloads, etc., have led fans to Clay Aiken.

    As always, an excellent, interesting, and enjoyable blog!


  17. I was never a music buyer till Clay Aiken came along… since then I look forward to getting up and going to the store on the day his CD drops and getting my hands on the actual CD.
    Looking forwards to the next one.

  18. Good information here. I get most of my music from itunes. It is just so easy!! BUT, I cannot imagine not having Clay’s CD in my hand.

    I am shocked that the record labels have such tunnelvision regarding YouTube. It is an amazing sales gimmick!!

    Thank you for another interesting blog.

  19. I had a Clay montage using Phil Collins’ song taken down for copyright infringement and then a week later I was notified that they changed their minds and put it back up. Maybe Phil likes his music heard?

  20. Reading all these comments, my one thought is WRITE DECCA re what great marketing's to be had so cheaply. Just one warning: a petition is counted as one letter. Better deluge them with short letters.


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