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'The Voice': Who won and how the new winner can succeed in the music industry

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(Read caption) 'The Voice' judges Adam Levine (l.) and Gwen Stefani (r.) attend the 2014 Emmy Awards.

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A new winner was recently crowned on “The Voice.” 

Jordan Smith is the newest champion of the NBC singing competition. Mr. Smith was coached by Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine. (On “Voice,” each contestant receives advice from one of the four judges.)

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Smith joins such recent winners as Sawyer Fredericks, Craig Wayne Boyd, and Josh Kaufman.

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“Voice” has become the dominant singing reality competition on broadcast TV as competitors like Fox’s “The X Factor” have been canceled. The singing competition “American Idol,” which was once a television juggernaut, has been experiencing declining ratings for years and will debut its final season early in 2016, while “Voice” shows no signs of going silent. 

Since its debut in 2011, the show has proven successful in the ratings, with the program doing very well in the coveted 18-49 ratings demographic during the 2014-2015 TV season. 

One way Smith stood out from previous winners during this past season was the sales performance of his songs. His takes on the songs he performed came in at number one on the iTunes singles charts multiple times during the season.

The sales success Smith has had with his show performances echoes how some past contestants haven’t yet released albums but have only appeared on the compilation album of their “Voice” performances that is released by Universal Motown Records. 

Most early winners, with the exception of Jermaine Paul, released original albums after winning. But the past two winners, Mr. Boyd and Mr. Kaufman, have not.

These contestants who have not yet released original work may of course be waiting to do so for other reasons. But perhaps they hesitate because of the sales performance of past winners' original albums. 

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Past winner Cassadee Pope’s album “Frame By Frame” performed well on the Billboard 200 chart when it was released, cracking the top 10. Danielle Bradbery’s self-titled work did fairly well also.

But albums by winners like Javier Colon and Tessanne Chin made much less of an impression. Winners like Boyd and Kaufman may choose to rely for a longer time on the compilation of their “Voice” performances because these can do well on the charts, too – for example, Ms. Chin’s album of “Voice” performances reached exactly the same spot on the Billboard chart as her original album did. 

Mr. Fredericks' "Voice" compilation charted much higher on Billboard than his original self-titled work, though his original album was released in late November and still has time to do well.

Perhaps the familiarity of the singers' "Voice" performances is a good aspect of the artists' musical talent on which to rely, at least at first.

Spending more time on an album – and, one might assume, working more on polishing the material – could perhaps help as well. Ms. Pope, whose original album did the best by far of any winner, waited almost a year after her "Voice" win before debuting her new work.


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