Coldplay's Digital Strategy Pays Off: Group Breaks iTunes Record With 500,000 Downloads in a Week
November 03, 2011   |    By Shirley Halperin with Billboard staff

Pointing to an increasingly equal digital vs. physical playing field, Coldplay's latest album, "Mylo Xyloto," which was released on Oct. 24, has broken a record for the iTunes store worldwide by selling more than 500,000 downloads in a week, according to a source close to the situation.

What's the Strategy Behind Coldplay, Tom Waits Bypassing Subscription Services?

Coldplay's decision to bypass subscription services appears to be part of a purpose-driven approach to digital marketing. Rather than using free audio and video streams in the hope they will lead to album sales, the band is more forcefully encouraging listeners to purchase downloads or CDs. And by keeping the album away from on-demand services, Coldplay is ensuring fans will buy (or find other ways to obtain the music) rather than listen for free.


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The band bows at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart this week, the third time to do so, moving 447,000 units across all formats, according to Nielsen SoundScan (that number tallies U.S. sales only, iTunes downloads are worldwide).

Coldplay Claims Third No. 1 Album On Billboard 200 With 'Mylo Xyloto'

It marks the third largest sales week of the year for an album, after Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" debut (1.1 million) and Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter IV" start (964,000). "Mylo" is also the biggest biggest week for a rock effort since U2's "No Line On the Horizon" debuted at No. 1 with 484,000 in 2009.

 While the first week sales figures are down significantly from Coldplay's previous chart-topper, 2008's "Viva La Vida Or Death and All His Friends," which sold 721,000 copies (2005's "X&Y" came in at 737,000), the digital story helps close that gap on a global scale.

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