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'Nashville' Songs Light Up iTunes Charts

Nashville Hayden Panettiere Studio 10/24 - H 2012
ABC
Hayden Panettiere’s “Telescope” is No. 38 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

So far the show's earned $1 million -- and since all the songs are original, it's a potential windfall for the songwriters and Lionsgate.

This story first appeared in the Dec. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

ABC’s Nashville isn't burning up the ratings, but songs featured on the freshman country music soap are doing surprisingly brisk business.

PHOTOS: ABC's 2012-13 Season: 'Nashville,' '666 Park Ave' and 'Malibu Country'

Within two weeks of its Oct. 10 premiere, five Nashville numbers have populated the iTunes Top 5. And according to label partner Big Machine Records (home to Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and Reba McEntire), 702,000 digital downloads have been purchased as of Dec. 3, which a source estimates has netted the company $1 million.

That’s nowhere near Glee numbers, but while Glee label Columbia is hawking cover tunes, Nashville’s music, curated by producer T Bone Burnett, is entirely original.

That means songwriters (including The Civil Wars’ John Paul White and Hillary Lindsey of Carrie Underwood's “Jesus, Take the Wheel” fame) and show producer Lionsgate share in the music revenue. It also means its stars -- Hayden Panettiere, Connie Britton, Clare Bowen, Charles Esten and Sam Palladio among them -- could be country’s next hot new artists, even though the show draws only 5.7 million viewers a week. (The Nashville soundtrack is due out Dec. 11.)

STORY: 'Nashville' Soundtrack Set for December Release; Track Listing Revealed

Says Big Machine CEO Scott Borchetta, “The show is a great vehicle for new music and has the potential to rival American Idol, X Factor and The Voice in launching new talent.”

See how the show's top 5 selling singles stack up below:

"If I Didn't Know Better" (Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen): 166,669 downloads
"Fade Into You" (Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen): 126,368
"Undermine" (Hayden Panettiere and Charles Esten): 103,095
"Telescope" (Hayden Panettiere): 73,519
"No One Will Ever Love You" (Connie Britton and Charles Esten): 68,037

Twitter: @shirleyhalperin