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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Chinese Democracy Sales And Playing Live - Connection?

Guns N' Roses Chinese Democracy sales have dropped by 78% to only 57,000 in the second week after its release. It looks like the most expensive album ever made (at a reported $13 million) is cooked. But there's a reason for slow sales that goes beyond the music of Chinese Democracy and it's because the band didn't tour behind it. In fact, the band has only performed infrequently over the past 10 years or so, which doesn't exactly build an audience.

G N' R missed one of the rules of the music business, especially as we enter the Music 3.0 era - the album release (regardless of format) promotes your tour and not the other way around.

A popular misconception about the music business is that most of the money an artist makes is made on the album sales, but from the beginning of the music business that's never been true. In fact, artists have always made the bulk of their money on the road (the songwriters make the most money on a release). As stated before, in Music 3.0 (of which I'm writing a book right now), the music promotes the tour. You just can't expect to release a new album with any success without performing in front of your current or potential fans.

Guns N' Roses (which is really just Axl Rose with a backup band) still has a chance to become relevant again and rescue this album from the scrap heap. They need to get out there and tour relentlessly, give their fans unforgettable show after unforgettable show, and not worry about album sales. The sales will happen if they just go back to the old school way of building an audience, one fan at a time.

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