Steven Tyler isn't just the breakout star of "American Idol" season 10, he may also be one of the shrewdest musical minds in all of Hollywood. While some longtime Aerosmith fans — as well as Kid Rock and Tyler's own bandmates — lamented the 62-year-old rock icon's decision to sign on as a judge for America's favorite reality singing show, Tyler may have the last laugh as sales of the band's music have skyrocketed over the past few weeks.
Tyler has made it clear in recent interviews that Aerosmith is his priority and that his "Idol" gig will not interfere with band business. In the meantime, while he's locked up with show appearances through May, the singer has slyly found a way to keep the band's music front and center by featuring it on multiple "Idol" episodes.
In fact, according to Nielsen SoundScan, since the launch of the new season of "Idol" on January 19, the sales of Aerosmith's greatest-hits collections have gone up by more than 250 percent. Among the biggest gainers: 1994's Big Ones (up 260 percent after the debut week) and 2006's Devil's Got a New Disguise: The Very Best of Aerosmith (up 146 percent after week two). According to The Hollywood Reporter, two other greatest-hits compilations have spiked by 137 percent and 147 percent.
Before the show premiered with Tyler taking his seat alongside fellow new judge Jennifer Lopez and returning veteran Randy Jackson, sales of the Aerosmith catalog were waning, moving less than 1,000 copies a week. So while the bump up to sales of more than 2,000 copies per album is impressive, it's still modest compared to such perennial catalog giants as Bob Marley & the Wailers' Legend, which was also up nearly 100 percent last week on sales of more than 7,000.
In addition to singing a (seemingly) impromptu duet with 15-year-old Lauren Alaina on "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (which has also memorably been sung on the show in the past by winner David Cook and finalist Allison Iraheta), Tyler slipped in a bit of a cappella "Sweet Emotion" at the top of the Milwaukee audition episode. Later in the night, Aerosmith superfan Ali Jados tipped her hat to Aerosmith's version of the Beatles' "Come Together" and then duetted with Tyler on his band's iconic "Dream On."
It isn't just album sales, either. Aerosmith is seeing some serious digital love as well. For the week ending January 30, they sold 34,000 downloads of "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (an increase of 363 percent) and 26,000 downloads of 1973's "Dream On" (up 318 percent over the previous week). "Sweet Emotion" also rocked the digital chart thanks to Tyler's scatting duet with Jackson during the Milwaukee episode, shooting up 125 percent on sales of 7,000 on the Rock Digital Songs chart for the week ending February 3, according to Billboard.
Tyler recently told Sirius XM talker Howard Stern that Aerosmith have been rehearsing (without guitarist Joe Perry, apparently) in Los Angeles; plans call for them to work on a new album soon and tour this summer. Though he's often at odds with Tyler, Perry has weighed in on his Twitter account over the past week, assuring fans on February 4, "I am in Aerosmith. I am not going anywhere. The band isn't writing any more. It was only for eight days." He also denied rumors that he hasn't been in touch with his bandmates, saying, "There's nothing to make up. We are brothers, we have been texting back n forth since the tour ended. It's a bunch of BS."
He said he missed the writing session due to prior commitments and told fans that the group will crank back up in the spring to finish the new CD and tour from October to December.
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