Friday, February 20, 2009

Grammy Sales Bump Numbers

The sales bump figures for the Grammy awards winners are now available and they're truly startling in how modest they are.

First of all, total sales were up 16% over last week, according to Billboard Magazine, but that's tempered by the fact that the number is still down 12% from sales of the same week last year.

Multiple Grammy winners (including Album of the Year) Robert Plant and Alison Krauss moved from #69 to #2 on Billboard's Album sales chart, but that meant sales of only 77,000 copies!!

Coldplay jumped from #31 to #8 with sales of only 62,000, and Best New Artist Adele moved from #27 to #10 after selling a mere 57,000.

And this is an increase of 16%?

CD sales have truly fallen off a cliff.  Once upon a time, the above sales figures would all have another zero on the end.  One can only wonder, would the sales be much better if there were more retail music stores?  It's hard to buy something if you can't find it, especially on impulse.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Band Pays Fans To Buy Album

In an interesting marketing twist, the group Officer Roseland is paying fans $1 to download their new album Stimulus Package. The purchasing fan can either collect a dollar paid to their PayPal account, or have the money donated to the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation charity.

It should be interesting to see just how many fans (or just interested downloaders) take the band up on their offer.

This is certainly a novel way to get exposure but it makes you wonder just how large their war chest is and if their money couldn't have been better spent elsewhere. Then again, we are talking about them so it must be working.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

50 Top Selling Albums of 2008

Here are the global top 50 best selling albums for 2008, according to MusicWeek.

1 Coldplay Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends - EMI Music

2 AC/DC Black Ice - Sony Music

3 Various Artists Mamma Mia! The Movie Soundtrack  - Universal Music

4 Duffy Rockferry - Universal Music

5 Metallica Death Magnetic - Warner Music/Universal Music

6 Leona Lewis Spirit - Sony Music

7 Amy Winehouse Back To Black - Universal Music

8 Various Artists High School Musical 3: Senior Year  - Walt Disney Records/Universal Music/EMI Music

9 Lil Wayne Tha Carter III - Universal Music

10 Rihanna Good Girl Gone Bad - Universal Music

11 Madonna Hard Candy - Warner Music

12 Beyonce I Am... Sasha Fierce - Sony Music

13 P!nk Funhouse - Sony Music

14 Guns N' Roses Chinese Democracy  - Universal Music

15 Britney Spears Circus - Sony Music

16 Jack Johnson Sleep Through The Static - Universal Music

17 Il Divo The Promise - Sony Music

18 Taylor Swift Fearless - Big Machine/Universal Music

19 Jonas Brothers A Little Bit Longer - Hollywood Records/Universal Music

20 Various Artists Camp Rock - OST Walt Disney Records/Universal Music/EMI Music

21 Kings Of Leon Only By The Night - Sony Music

22 Nickelback Dark Horse - Warner Music/EMI Music

23 Miley Cyrus Breakout - Walt Disney Records/Universal Music

24 Kid Rock Rock N Roll Jesus - Warner Music

25 Enya And Winter Came - Warner Music

26 Mariah Carey E=MC2 - Universal Music

27 Take That The Circus - Universal Music

28 The Killers Day & Age - Universal Music

29 Usher Here I Stand - Sony Music

30 T.I. Paper Trail - Warner Music

31 Kanye West 808’s & Heartbreak - Universal Music

32 Michael Jackson Thriller (25th Anniversary Edition) - Sony Music

33 Katy Perry One Of The Boys - EMI Music

34 Exile Exile Ballad Best - Avex Marketing Inc.

35 Ne-Yo Year Of The Gentleman - Universal Music

36 Amy Macdonald This Is The Life - Universal Music

37 Abba Gold  - Universal Music

38 Namie Amuro Best Fiction - Avex Marketing Inc.

39 Jonas Brothers Jonas Brothers  - Hollywood Records/Universal Music

40 Seal Soul  - Warner Music

41 Sugarland Love On The Inside - Universal Music

42 Celine Dion My Love Essential Collection  - Sony Music

43 Exile Exile Catchy Best  - Avex Marketing Inc.

44 Dido Safe Trip Home - Sony Music

45 Taylor Swift Taylor Swift  -Big Machine/Universal Music

46 Chris Brown Exclusive - Sony Music

47 Twilight Twilight - OST Warner Music

48 Jason Mraz We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. - Warner Music

49 OneRepublic Dreaming Out Loud - Universal Music

50 Various Artists Now Thats What I Call Music Vol. 71 - EMI Music

After looking at this list, a few observations come to mind:

1) Despite everything we hear about the Internet age and the new artist, if you're not on a major label you're not going to be a big seller.

2) Female artists dominated the charts, with 17 entries.

3) Rap and Hip-Hop, while still a presence, was down from previous years.

4) 15 albums were from artists who've had careers of at least 10 years.

5) Only 3 entries were from country music, and two of those from Taylor Swift.

6) There were four "Various Artists" compilations.

7) For better or for worse, Abba is alive and well, years after they've actively stopped making records. Like them or not, it's a testament to great songwriting and production.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Grammy Winners See Sales Spike

In a surprise ratings coup, this year's Grammy Awards program was up more than 2 million viewers over last year's 19 million (must have been a slow TV night). As usual, the winners saw their sales spike the following week, with Album of the Year, Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss leaping 15 spots up the iTunes album chart to #1, according to industry analysts BigChampagne. Best New Artist Adele saw her 19 album jump three spots on iTunes, from #5 to #2.

But perhaps the most telling aspect of "the joy of the Grammy appearance" was Radiohead, who's In Rainbows sat at #57 on iTunes before their Grammy appearance, then moved up forty-three spots all the way to #14 after their rousing performance with the USC marching band (Radiohead is a good band but the USC marching band is really, really good - an inspired combination). It would be interesting to see what the actual cost to use them on the show was (it must've cost a fortune).

Actual sales figures are not yet available, but should prove interesting.

Monday, February 16, 2009

U2 To Play Letterman For A Week

U2 is scheduled to play Letterman for 5 straight nights starting on March 2nd. While on the surface this seems like a perfectly good strategy to promote a new album, the band overlooks the reality of today's music world. Unfortunately, most of the demographic that U2 wants to reach aren't watching Letterman, and if they are, they'll probably be half-asleep when the band appears. 

Gone are the days when an appearance on late night television actually meant a boost in sales. In it's heyday of the 70's, an appearance on Saturday Night Live meant a sales bump of 100k or more the next week, but those days are long gone.

If U2 really wanted to goose their sales via television they'd play daytime television like Oprah or Ellen.  If they wanted to be hip they might have chosen Jimmy Kimmel or even Conan, but Letterman is no longer considered hip and certainly won't help sales as a result. Hard to believe that's what it's come to these days, but the major influencers are not who they once were. Then again, perhaps U2 could care less about sales at this point in their careers and just want to party with Dave.

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