This Week In Zoe News #7.2: Week 1—Quantitative

Alas, and understandably, I have no direct access to Whistle Down the Wind sales data. But I have some indirect measures! For example, charts!


A lot of these charts are strange, unclear, partial, or wildly fluctuating. Worse, getting stable URLs is hard. So, there be some screenshots. I expect more chart data to emerge next week.

First we have Official Charts (so official!) which seems to be UK based. Whistle place 30th!

Then, a wildly fluctuating iTunes folk chart. Generally, we see the following rank order:he Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (because of Three Billboards), then Whistle Down the Wind (the single), then The President Sang Amazing Grace. As of 13:04 UK time, the ranks are 40, 41(!), and 91. (I didn’t capture it formally, but I believe the highest “President” got was in the 60s.) No other tracks from the album appear on this list.

(Just to show the flux, at 13:44 the ranks are 49, 54, and not on the list.)

Whistle debuts at 8 on the GfK Entertainment Charts of Germany!

Amazon has a million lists updated hourly. But here’s a few as of 13:50, March 9th, 2018:

It hasn’t shown up on Roots Music Report or Billboard yet.

YouTube Views

The whole album can be streamed on YouTube, so I’ve gathered some view stats. Note that this includes my obsessive checking 🙂 and is otherwise uncertain (people don’t watch the whole thing, bots, etc.) but it’s still interesting:

Video Date Uploaded 04/03/18 07/03/18 09/03/18
Whole Album Mar 2, 2018 7,634 Gone
Whistle Down the Wind Mar 2, 2018 609 1,621 2,390
Be of Good Heart Mar 2, 2018 860 1,757 2,206
Another World Mar 2, 2018 275 675 886
Civil War Mar 2, 2018 360 688 871
The Things That We Are Made Of Mar 2, 2018 358 837 1,123
The President Sang Amazing Grace Mar 2, 2018 3,564 6,084 8,088
Silver Blade Mar 2, 2018 352 775 994
Last Leaf Mar 2, 2018 265 653 823
The Great Correction Mar 2, 2018 238 565 727
I Wish the Wars Were All Over Mar 2, 2018 326 706 936
The President Sang Amazing Grace (Live) Jan 16, 2017 11,594 12,554 12,841
Joan Baez en carte blanche : “The president sang amazing grace” Feb 28, 2018 Didn’t Track 4,721 5,027
Le live : Joan Baez chante “Last Leaf” – C Ă Vous – 20/02/2018 Feb 28, 2018 Didn’t Track 11,921 12,471
Joan Baez en live – Last leaf Feb 20, 2018 Didn’t Track 4,418 4,598
Small Brown Birds Album Version Jan 27, 2017 5,423 5,656 5,723

As you can see, out of the album versions, “President” is running way ahead of anything else. Almost all the views of the Zoe versions have happened in the past 2 weeks. What I find interesting is how well the live versions on French TV are doing. I have no explanation.

Subtle, Relative Indicators

Both Apple and Amazon have small indicators of track popularity in the track list. Apple puts stars next to popular (by streaming? by deadline?):

Only “Whistle” and “President” have starts (on this screen, on others only “Whistle” does) which is consistent with the chart above. Indeed, just checking now, “President” slid off the list and lost its star 🙂

Amazon’s, I’m given to understand, indicates streamings:

As you can see “Whistle” is tops with “President” close behind. In the UK store this is reversed:

What Does It All Mean

I think it’s fair to say that both Baez’s album and Zoe’s song on that album are “critically acclaimed”. Reviews are, overall, very positive, even effusive.

I have no idea what to make of the numbers. They are clearly far beyond anything Zoe achieves. I mean, if we had anything like this it’d be incredible. OTOH, Baez’s “Nasty Man” video (released April 2017) has 291,979 views with ≈3,300 likes:


We aren’t seeing those numbers nor is there a trend that way, afaict. “President” is largely outperforming the other tracks except, sometimes, the title track, which is cool. OTOH, all the other artists are better established and  their songs, unlike “President”, don’t have an obvious content hook. (Don’t get me wrong…I think it’s a lovely song, but clearly a lot of people like it for the Obama halo and some only know of it for that reason.)

It’s early days and early in the tour. In the US, at least, you  get a free copy of the disc with your ticket…I don’t know what that does to other sales. I think there’s room for thing to grow, possibly by a lot. Albums aren’t always like movies, I suspect, esp in this day and age. But I don’t know! So, I’ll be obsessing a bit longer 🙂