Digital Sales Boom For Post-Super Bowl Petty

The New York Giants weren't the only ones to come away from Super Bowl XLII with a storybook ending.

The New York Giants weren't the only ones to come away from Super Bowl XLII with a storybook ending. Artists who were tied into the game either through live performance or inclusion in advertisements also notched impressive victories, especially on the digital front.

Leading the charge, perhaps unsurprisingly: halftime show stars Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, who performed four of their best-known songs in a well-received 12-minute set. With more than 97 million viewers tuned in to the game -- the most in Super Bowl history -- Petty and his band dominated the ultimate platform for reaching consumers.

This issue, the group finds itself at the summit of Billboard's Top Pop Catalog chart with "Greatest Hits," which shot up 196% in the week following the Super Bowl with sales of 33,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Meanwhile, the band's "Anthology: Through the Years" jumped 240% to 7,000, taking the No. 6 spot on the same chart.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Petty collects his biggest trophy this issue for halftime show entry "Free Fallin'": The track shifted 63,000 digital copies, a gain of 305%, and bows at No. 10 on Hot Digital Songs. "I Won't Back Down," "American Girl" and "Runnin' Down a Dream," which made up the rest of Petty's halftime set, all registered similarly notable climbs in the digital realm.

Mike Davis, executive VP/GM of Universal Music Enterprises, which controls Petty's early catalog, says that advance preparation -- especially online -- was key to ensuring the best possible sales outcome.

"A huge part of our marketing was online-based," Davis says. "With big television events, the online aspect is so important because people can see [the performance] happen onscreen and then immediately react and buy it online. With so much music being bought online now anyway, it's an easy bull's-eye to market to."

Davis says iTunes was the biggest account on "Greatest Hits" and notes that 12,000 out of the 33,000 units shifted this week (or 36%) were digital.
But Universal was prepared at retail, too. "We were endcapped and positioned at every single account," he says. "We had ramp-up on this."

"Greatest Hits" actually broke the top 10 on Top Pop Catalog several weeks before the game, and Davis says those results were "mostly driven by retail and Super Bowl bumpers telling people that Tom Petty would be performing." In the past 10 weeks, the set climbed the chart 98-83-79-40-34-19-6-6-2-1.