Fox’s hit TV show Glee might not be a huge ratings megastar like its sister show American Idol. But the musical comedy about a misfit group of high school choir kids is a commercial success way beyond the small screen.As the AP tells us, Glee’s covers of hit songs from artists including Beyonce, Queen, Neil Diamond, and more are nabbing more than 4 million digital downloads (meaning people are actually paying for them) on iTunes. The show’s two soundtracks have sold 500,000 copies within six months (a feat in today’s dismal record industry sales environment). A sold-out tour featuring the show’s cast starts in May. Another cover album, “Glee: The Power of Madonna,” will be released on April 20.
The show is helping the rest of the music industry, too: The cast’s cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” hit No. 1 on iTunes’ most downloaded chart and brought the original 1981 version back into the charts.
Taking a cue from American Idol, Glee is also getting its audience more involved by hosting an online-only open casting call. Winners get to appear in guest spots on the show.
Dedicated fans also identify themselves as “Gleeks.” Fox has embraced the name, and their fans, who feel like they are part of an exclusive club of outsiders connected by their love for a TV show.
Glee co-creator Brad Flachuk told Wired back in December:
The point of the show is that every teenager is a geek. Every teenager feels a wanting, a desire for something more, to be heard, to be seen. In reality, I was more of the Finn/Puck type in high school (yes, we did throw a kid in the dumpster … a few times) but like those characters, I was unsure of myself and my place. I think the show is working for people of all ages, though because that feeling never really goes away.
These albums, tours and “audience engagement” projects usher Glee’s cult in front of the TV screen for the show’s second season, premiering tomorrow night.
Falchuk told the AP that fans can expect to see more musical numbers featured in season two.
“Every single possible musical style and taste is going to be in there,” he said.
How do producers decide which shows will be the biggest digital hits?
“The songs that sell the best are the ones where the integration of the story and music really worked, where there’s an emotional connection to what’s going on in the scene,” he told the AP. “It’s independent of genre. It could be classic rock or a musical, it’s just a song that made people feel good.”
Check out a preview of this season’s nine-episode run:
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