You know who may just be some of the most powerful folks in digital
media? The anonymous editors at Apple who decide what's feature on the
front of the iTunes Store and its various sections.
I have had
executives in several different industries — music, movies, games —
tell me that being featured on the iTunes Store is pretty much vital to
good sales, unless you've got a huge brand name. And usually they don't know when it's going to happen. They're just as surprised as we are.
There are two options
to become noticeable without searching or intense browsing on the iTunes Store: Either get listed in the charts (ideally top 10 so you're
on the front page, but at least top 100 so people can click and find
it), which presents a bit of a Catch-22 situation; or get noticed by
those mysterious and powerful editors.
The other way to get clicks is, of course, recommendations and links. But as this very interesting chart from the makers of Locavore,
a new iPhone application that tells you what food is in season and
available in farmers' markets, demonstrates their relative importance:
the links on Serious Eats and Gizmodo/Lifehacker helped, but nothing
came close to beign on the front page of the App Store on iTunes. And
of course that led to being on the top 100 chart, which led to Locavore
selling almost as well for another few days.
Perhaps it's a good
thing those editors stay relatively anonymous, because if they weren't,
they would probably be lobbied more than a buyer at the Pentagon.