Idol winner Casey Donovan's Listen With Your Heart was made available for purchase online a full week before the single could be bought in stores via an exclusive deal with Telstra's Big Pond Music site. Officials proclaimed it the most popular legal download ever in Australia, but that success came at a cost. As ZDNet Australia reported last week, sales of Donovan's CD single were substantially lower than first series winner Guy Sebastian, despite the show's 2004 final attracting a larger TV audience.
Callea's single The Prayer goes on sale on December 20, but no advance download purchase will be available this time around. A Telstra spokesperson said that the track was due to be added to the site's 'Coming Soon' section shortly.
While prioritising CD sales over downloads may help Callea's first-week numbers, his record company Sony BMG is actively using online promotion in other ways. The video for the track can be viewed in full on the sites for retailers HMV and Sanity.
Callea had his own site even before competing in Idol, though it has undergone a redesign since he signed with Sony BMG. Unlike Donovan, he doesn't have a namesake who stars in adult movies.
While a full streaming audio track of The Prayer can be heard on the site, so far it has not become widespread on pirate P2P networks. A preliminary search found only a handful of copies of the song on popular networks, some of which were recordings of the TV performance. That might well change once the CD goes on sale and can easily be ripped by fans.