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Apple may have pulled ‘Nude’ from iTunes Chart

Radiohead’s ‘Nude’ made the Billboard Hot 100 this week at number 37 — their first appearance on the chart since “High & Dry” in ’96, but is the song still on the charts?

Over at WIRED they’ve been wondering why Radiohead picked iTunes to release the remix stems, rather than using their own website as they had with other aspects of In Rainbows’ digital release.

Rich Bradley thinks he knows the answer. “In a nutshell, [Radiohead] kind of scammed people into buying the single five times over.” His theory is that iTunes’ sales numbers for “Nude” were misleading because Apple included sales of the song as well as the individual stems for guitar, drums, bass, voice and strings/effects in the same sales figure. And he attributes the song’s appearance on the Billboard chart to how well it had been selling in the iTunes music store.

In his blog, Bradley claims that “Nude” appeared on iTunes’ Top Songs list at some point on Thursday. “Under ‘Top Songs,’” he writes, “iTunes shows the five most popular downloads, and as you might have guessed it looks like a goddamn nudist colony.”

owever, Listening Post has confirmed that as of 3:30 p.m. EST on Thursday, “Nude” is no longer listed on the top five songs list on iTunes — nor is it on the the top 100 songs list. Either Apple deleted “Nude” and its stem tracks from the list due to the situation Bradley has brought up or people suddenly stopped buying “Nude” for some mysterious reason. [more at WIRED]

Idolator reports that, in week one: the original Nude sold just under 13,000 copies, and each of the four stems sold between about 9,200 and 9,800 copies. (If you’re curious: the vocal stem sold best, then guitars, strings/effects, drums; as in life, bass pulls up the rear.) Total sales for all six pieces combined were just shy of 60,000.

Billboard had to make a policy decision for “Nude.” When the original iTunes sales were tallied by SoundScan, the original song plus each stem were logged and charted separately. But for Hot 100 purposes—in keeping with Billboard’s tendency to treat it as a “songs” chart, not a “tracks” chart—”Nude” is charting in one cumulative position, which makes it look bigger than it is. If the original song, sans stems, were to chart by itself, it would have made No. 96 on the digital sales chart and likely would have missed the Hot 100 entirely. [more at Idolator]

In the meantime, we’ve just received the midweek charts in The Netherlands, where Radiohead’s Nude is on top of the singles chart. It looks the band will get their first ever number one in the lowlands, with thanks to iTunes – the store which Radiohead avoided for the entire carreer till 2008.

Update: Rich Bradley emailed to say that WIRED “seem to have misunderstood my point about Nude showing up under “Top Songs” in iTunes. I am referring specifically to the Top Radiohead Songs on the artist page. The fact that all the stems dominate here shows that there is a level of popularity for each, but not enough to push them into the Top 100 songs on iTunes overall. This is why I draw the conclusion that the stems are being individually counted as single sales. I am NOT implying any kind of conspiracy on the part of Apple, Radiohead, or anyone else. I just think it’s kind of a tricky way to get a song charting, and not necessarily even a dishonest one.”

34 Comments

  • whoop de doo. this is what you get for sleeping with apple

  • “scammed” is a harsh word…i don’t think Radiohead meant to “scam” anyone.

  • Yep. That sounds about right.

  • Please read the blog, Apple didn’t pull Nude from the iTunes chart, Wired misinterpreted something in my blog entry, blog blog blog. Blog. Thank you.

  • awww,i get it now Rich….thnx for posting an update

    :D

  • wow

  • i’m still awaiting my 79p refund for apple selling me the original track under the banner “this is not the album version, but five STEMS”
    wankers.
    i fucking hate radiohead now.
    wah.
    x

  • Radiohead didn’t force anyone to buy the stems. You don’t like it? Don’t buy it. Seems pretty simple.

  • Very very cheeky. I have an old-fashioned view that the charts should actually reflect which singles are most popular – i.e. Nude should be kicked out.

  • Woot! My mix helped them rank in a totally antiquated Metric. !

    http://www.radioheadremix.com/remix/?id=274

  • “iTunes shows the five most popular downloads, and as you might have guessed it looks like a goddamn nudist colony.”

    That made me smile. Grin even.

  • who gives a damn about charts anyway?

  • Apple is the Shit. Radiohead is the shit. Get over it.

  • wait… The bass sold the least?! What the fuck? It makes the song. Makes it I say! *shakes fist in air*

  • I paid more for the stems than for In Rainbows. It’s a little seedy. Kind of lame actually… I bought the physical release for $9.99. Around $5 for the stems. Yeah, they are getting a little greedy.

  • who cares?

  • exaclty
    waste of time

  • I agree that they probably should have put the stems up on their own website instead of iTunes. But yeah.. they most likely don’t want to fuck with it since they’re getting ready to go on tour.

    I dunno. Seems everything with “In Rainbows” has been kinda fucked up. The low-quality of the digital download. The shit quality of the final master and retail versions. The half-assed b-sides. The band claiming that this is their “classic record.”

    ..and now there’s this mess with the release of the stems on iTunes.

    God, I hope this isn’t their classic record. Because so far it’s been a classic piss bucket.

  • They got to no 4 in the Norwegian charts this week too, but the single is not at all being aired on Norwegian radio. Neither do Norwegian record shops sell singles anymore, so this is only due to the iTunes-thing. Still funny though – and this makes Nude the third highest Radiohead-song on Norwegian charts ever, after Creep and Pyramid song, which both got to 3rd position..

  • “Seems everything with “In Rainbows” has been kinda fucked up.”

    Ludicrous. There is a kind of mastering festishism going round, where people whine on and on about the sound quality of a release and fail to mention that song-wise it might have been the best album of the year.

  • Lol. As i was reading this, my 7″ and CD-single copies of Nude just slid through my letterbox. Yeah, i think it’s a bit ‘scammy’ that they made the stems available through i-tunes, and at individual price to boot. If it was really just about gettiung the stems out there to celebrate the ‘remix’ idea, they could easily have made them available asa an ep-style bundle from their site.

    But what the hell, it really infuriates me that i never hear them being played on daytime radio. it’s an absolute disgrace, they’ve had the most publicised album release of the past year, great reviews, and are living legends. But still it takes a gun to be pointed at any dumbass DJ’s head before they’ll play their music. ‘Go Figure’ as you Americans would say…

  • what a douche. probably just trying to get some publicity for his lame ass blog.

  • Controversy!I love it!

  • Honestly I think the iTunes thing is a total scam, but you can’t blame the band — it’s obviously an XL Records thing.

  • in a nutshell, we just think it’s kind of a tricky way to get a blog following, and not necessarily even a dishonest one.

  • Oh don’t get all mad Radiohead kids. I use the word “controversy” loosely — I look at it as a clever publicity trick on the label’s part. Me trying to get a blog following? There’s nothing to follow, it’s mostly bullshit and I post like once, twice a month. I wrote about this because I thought it was interesting and didn’t see anyone else talking about it. Then Wired got it and misread a sentence, briefly implied a coverup involving Apple where there was none, and corrected the story at my request. Don’t worry, I will quickly vanish back into the E-Ether.

  • ah hey, don’t get all defensive RB. we just think you’ve missed our point. we don’t care about where ‘nude’ did or didn’t chart (i doubt radiohead do either). and apple could delete all record of radiohead songs being sold on itunes and we still wouldn’t give a damn.
    radiohead didn’t (not even kind of) scam people into buying the single five times over. the people who bought one or more of the stems knew what they were buying. as for the clever publicity tricks, who is being tricked?

  • give me a break. people crying about the quality, when mostpeople probably couldnt tell the difference between 128 and 320 anyway. THEY OFFERED TO LET YOU DOWNLOAD THE GODDAMN ALBUM FOR FREE AND THEY DIDNT FORCE YOU TO BUY THE STEMS. Why do radiohead fans complain so much? If you dont like something, dont get involved with it. Whatever happened to just appreciating an artist for their music and not caring about all the bs that they deal with on a regular basis?

  • boooooooooooring…

  • Isn’t this the same “trick” they’ve been using in the UK for decades? I.e., releasing multiple versions of a single in order to get it to chart better?

  • Umm, has this website been down for a few days or something?

  • [...] downloads of the stems resulted in good charting of the single, which turned out as another great internet stunt for [...]

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