This Week’s Sales

1. Incubus "Light Grenades"

Sales this week: 164,594

Who the fuck cares.

Or, in other words, this grenade didn’t generate a lot of light.  Nor heat.  The band’s PREVIOUS album, "A Crow Left Of The Murder", released in 2004, landed with DOUBLE the impact, selling 332,000 copies in its first week and debuting at number 2!!!

So who do we want to blame low sales figures on?

It’s got to be the public’s fault, right?

Well, I’ll blame radio primarily.  We’ve got an EXPOSURE problem, no one can hear the new shit to DECIDE whether to buy it or not.

Then there’s the fact that people think music is junk.  There’s no passion for music.  Hell, just go to the U.K. to experience this passion in action.

And we’ve got the issue that labels are not selling music the way people want it.  Boatloads for a very small per track price.  Sure, it’s a good move to sell a Norah Jones track as an MP3, i.e. without copy protection, but it’s akin to removing ten troops from Iraq…IT DOESN’T SPEAK TO THE PROBLEM!  Make the tracks unprotected and a dime.  And don’t allow people to buy just one, make them sign up for a SHITLOAD, ALL YOU CAN EAT for one low price.  Like…cable television.  They call that subscription.  But without ownership, subscription is a nonstarter.  License P2P, REAL P2P, allow people to take as much as they want for ten bucks a month.  Sue those who DON’T pay.  And make people sign up for a year, like a cell phone company.  As for people discontinuing service when their term expires, having bought everything…  It’s then incumbent on the labels, like HBO, to create GREAT NEW SHIT, that people HAVE GOT TO HAVE!  If Incubus debuts at number one with this paltry sales figure during DECEMBER, you’ve got to know that most people don’t want new music.  Six years have gone by without compensation for P2P.  It’s time to charge.  People will lose the tracks, their computers will crash, they’ll have to keep up their subscriptions, ESPECIALLY for when everything is released in a new higher quality format that makes MP3s OBSOLETE!

Meanwhile, back to Incubus.  This album is headed straight for the dumper.  This is no Nickelback, it isn’t gonna hover near the top of the chart for weeks and weeks.  Incubus is niche product.  It can’t cross over to Top Forty.  So only FANS bought it.  New people?  Good luck!

What kind of fucked up business do we have where those with the power, the major labels, dedicate themselves to the narrowest of media, Top Forty radio, essentially CRIPPLING SALES!  License Internet radio.  Don’t ask for more from satellite.  Help GROW competitors to terrestrial, otherwise go down the tubes WITH IT!

Imagine the day when terrestrial GIVES UP on music, just like MTV did.  Then where are we, UP SHIT CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE!

We need a new chart.  Like the old pre-SoundScan chart.  A chart of vibe, what’s got staying power, what people are listening to.  A chart that takes the temperature of the WHOLE COUNTRY, that MEANS SOMETHING!  This SoundScan chart just reflects sales.  Sales aren’t everything.  Hey, that’s the problem, money-mania has FUCKED UP THIS BUSINESS!

2. "Hannah Montana"

Sales this week: 157,481
Cume: 1,054,743

TV sells records.  Whoa, THAT’S new.  Isn’t that how we sold RICKY NELSON??

But TV eviscerates credibility, and shortens careers.  Believe me, "Hannah Montana" isn’t gonna be a live album with four CDs from Carnegie Hall five years from now.  This is like a movie, it’s this package and then you’re DONE!

Kudos to Disney, but as far as music goes, this package is MEANINGLESS!

3. Daughtry

Sales this week: 155,510
Cume: 459,310

See number 2 above.

There ain’t much difference between "American Idol" and "Hannah Montana".   They’ve got the longevity of roses.  But are a lot less beautiful and soul-fulfilling.

5. The Beatles "Love"

Sales this week: 146,482
Cume: 418,419

Notice how there’s no buzz?  This record was so front-loaded, and now that it’s out, you don’t read/hear a word.  Welcome to 2006 marketing.  Sell it today, forget it tomorrow.

This record will be played a year from now as much as McCartney’s redo of "Let It Be".  In other words, NOT AT ALL!

Don’t fuck with the Mona Lisa.  People want the undiluted original.  As for the multichannel…  You’d be STUNNED how few people have DVD-A-compatible players, never mind multiple channels of amplification and speakers.  DVD-A failed, as did SACD.  Please, let it go.  One world is enough, for all of us.  And in that one world, there are two channels…  NEXT!

7. Sarah McLachlan "Wintersong"

Sales this week: 116,025
Cume: 346,561

It’s like Albert Brooks in "Broadcast News".  Terry McBride says it here, and it comes out there.  This is turning out exactly as planned.  Ship early, tie-in with Starbucks, RAKE IN THE BUCKS!

I’ve always been a Sarah fan.  But she’s no Joni Mitchell.  Thank god she’s got the intelligence to COVER Joni Mitchell!

23. The Game "Doctor’s Advocate"

Sales this week: 61,750
Cume: 554,816

Where’s Fitty?  Doesn’t he have SOMETHING to complain about here?

Or could it be that without a rap war, rap records can no longer sell tonnage?

Or could it be that everybody got TIRED of the rap wars.

Rap when from meaningful to meaningless.  It just took until 2006 for everyone to agree, to move on.

As for Kanye…  Positive hip-hop?  A contradiction in terms.  There’s a lot to complain about in the African-American community, there’s a lot of nefarious activities that need to be revealed to white people in gated communities.  Maybe rap can survive if it goes back to those roots, for there’s STILL fear of a black planet.

Or could it be that rap is…done?

I think so.  Hell, every other genre eventually quiets down.

As for you assholes going on about the number of ringtones sold…  A ringtone is not about music, it’s a BADGE OF IDENTITY!  And the number of ringtones downloaded relative to the number of people with cell phones is TINY!

Or maybe it’s just that I want to know which way you want to have it.  Is the business in trouble, or is it burgeoning?  Is technology the FOE or the savior?

One thing’s for sure, snippets are not the future of music.  Think about that…

33. Bette Midler "Cool Yule"

Sales this week: 47,262
Cume: 100,445

Self-hating Jew.

It would be like me having a Christmas tree in my house.  Lose your identity, lose your soul, and you’ve got NOTHING!

Cold act looking for a way to cash in.  Despicable, no matter how tongue-in-cheek it’s done.

34. John Legend  "Once Again"

Sales this week: 44,722
Cume: 577,504

Couldn’t he use his real name?

What’s up with this, Alicia KEYS, John LEGEND…are we living in the FIFTIES?

In a sea of ethnicity, in a world where multiethnic children are de rigueur, these cats are trying to deny their roots, their heritage, their IDENTITIES, because people can’t HANDLE THEM, like Jews in decades past.

If you want to reinvent yourself, be Joey Ramone or Bono Vox or Fee Waybill, more power to you, that’s part of the SHOW!  But if you want to take away your craggy elements to make yourself more palatable, all you’re succeeding in doing is making yourself LESS STICKY!  It’s the imperfections, the DIFFERENCES, that hook us.  I mean how fucking seriously can I take somebody named John Legend.  I dismiss him WITHOUT EVEN HEARING THE MUSIC!

35. Celtic Woman "Christmas Celebration"

Sales this week: 44,052
Cume: 122,423

Fuck stars, the music business has gone positively HIGH CONCEPT!  Credit Simon Cowell, he gets it.  Do you know the members of IL DIVO???

Come up with a concept, pay everybody a flat fee, and coin money.

36. John Mayer "Continuum"

Sales this week: 41,533
Cume 927,821

Political correctness gone wild.  Can’t Mayer fuck a groupie, can’t he do anything befitting a ROCK STAR?  The guy is so nice that it makes me puke.  And it wouldn’t bother me except he goes on and on how he’s a PLAYER!

Jimi Hendrix didn’t sing odes to the girl next door, about going to the movies and not kissing her.  Rather, he put naked women ALL OVER the cover of "Electric Ladyland".  Which way do you want it?  Sappy or edgy.  You don’t get to be both.  Just like Patti Smith doesn’t get to, thank god DOESN’T WANT TO, be on the cover of "Cosmo".  If you don’t know who the fuck you are, how should I know who the fuck you are, never mind CARE!

This guy makes records thinking of the market.  Do you believe Jackson Pollock dripped paint all over the canvas thinking about what would SELL?

If you’re worrying about your market, you’re not doing anything INNOVATIVE!

Execs will tell you to compromise all day.  If you listen, you’re a soulless weenie.

44. Cale/Clapton "Road To Escondido"

Sales this week: 31,107
Cume: 143,127

Shouldn’t this record have come out in the SEVENTIES???

With continued sales like this, Clapton’s gonna end up on an indie label.  Not by choice, but because he JUST DOESN’T SELL ENOUGH TO BE ON A MAJOR!

53. Wynonna "Classic Christmas"

Sales this week: 25,949
Cume: 49,511

Who is she?  Fat girl as a result of an overpowering, overshadowing mom, or a renegade with a voice that will make your dick stand erect?

Wynonna’s image is so confused, she’s so COLD, that she should be thrilled to sell this low number of records.  But there IS a talent here.

I’d just love to hear that she’s a nymphomaniac.  Or got caught speeding.  That she was REAL, just like every other imperfectly-bodied woman in America, instead of some ZOMBIE!

66. Tenacious D "Pick Of Destiny"

Sales this week: 21,795
Cume: 136,279

Jack Black, the new Chris Rock.

Seen any good Chris Rock movies recently?  OF COURSE NOT!  Because the guy got total control when he shouldn’t have and failed and now is in movie limbo, where Jack Black is going.  Enough vanity projects, can this guy be corralled, put in GOOD MOVIES?!

And I LOVE Jack, he was great in "High Fidelity", "School Of Rock" is up there with the best rock movies EVER made, but Tenacious D SUCKS!

79. Kidz Bop Kids "Kidz Bop 10"

Sales this week: 16,584
Cume: 448,998

Remember "Sleeper"?  When Woody Allen drove by the McDonald’s and there were SO many zeros representing how many had been sold?  I can foresee coming back after my death to find out they’re on Kidz Bop 3,427.

Okay, we get it.  Trashy high concept.  But didn’t "Double Dare" finally get cancelled?  Can’t this GO AWAY??

83. Kenny G. "I’m in the Mood For Love…The Most Romantic Melodies of All Time"

Sales this week: 16,113
Cume: 68,735

I guess just about EVERYBODY hates Kenny G.

Typical Clive Davis act.  Bland made blander oversold to the point NO ONE wants it.

And does EVERY act over the age of forty signed to Clive have to do classics?  Can NO ONE who wakes up to pee in the middle of the night test the limits, record new stuff from the heart?

89. Weird Al Yankovic "Straight Outta Lynwood"

Sales this week: 15,153
Cume: 266,441

Come on, admit it, the hype for his first video crossed your desktop, flew on your radar, you checked it out, wasn’t the clip about stealing music or something?

Without an MTV to bang this left field shit no one cares.  And will NEVER care.  After all, he’s too old to still be doing this.  Can’t he get a REAL JOB??

98. Tom Waits "Orphans"

Sales this week: 13,683
Cume: 35,128

Maybe nobody knew it was out.

For all the press this guy gets, for all the people who say they revere him, it seems that very few want his new album.

Granted it’s three discs, but…

Why doesn’t this guy pull a Jimmy Buffett.  Do one with the majors.  For the hype, for the impact.  Really, this guy is just sliding into oblivion.  (But what major would touch him, you KNOW he’d sue their ass somewhere down the line…)

109. Diana Krall "From This Moment On"

Sales this week: 12,789
Cume: 279,115

She used to go way past gold, near platinum, but she worked with her husband and lost all her momentum.

Never work with your spouse.  Hell, go back to John and Yoko if you need clarity.

111. Fat Joe "Me, Myself & I"

Sales this week: 12,165
Cume: 93,380

What’s more amazing…that Fat Joe has a new record or that you didn’t KNOW ABOUT IT!

116. KT Tunstall "Eye To The Telescope"

Sales this week: 11,969
Cume: 792,523

Corinne Bailey Rae isn’t one TENTH the artist that KT Tunstall is.

Corinne Bailey Rae is a Norah Jones-style crooner.  There’s nothing new there.  Furthermore, she’s got NOTHING TO SAY!  Put your records on, WHEW, never THOUGHT of that!  KT created her own style, she’s got an honest energy, I applaud her success, she’s a real artist.  And isn’t it funny that the audience RESONATED with her.  Hell, she sold a shitload of records BEFORE "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" was on "American Idol".

117. Sting "Songs From The Labyrinth"

Sales this week: 11,947
Cume: 131,712

Get over yourself.  No one gives a shit about this pretentious crap.  Either get back together with the Police or start writing that hooky stuff we thought you’d never run out of but seem to have.  Really, an alternate take, a slowed-down version of "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You", came over my iPod last night.  It was positively INSPIRATIONAL!

Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world
You could say I lost my faith in the people on TV
You could say I’d lost my belief in our politicians
They all seemed like game show hosts to me

Written over a decade ago, but just as resonant today.  Hell, why does Sting need someone ELSE’S ancient lyrics when his stuff is so from the heart, so TRUE!  This is a guy who resonated intelligence and WON!

118. Yusuf "An Other Cup"

Sales this week: 11,932
Cume: 44,178

I wouldn’t go see "Passion Of The Christ" and I won’t listen to this.  Atlantic is a company run by a Cohen, a Greenwald and a Kallman, yet they release THIS?  And did they really think it was gonna SELL?

If you want to self-immolate, if you want to trash your career, be my guest.  But I DON’T have to give you a reprieve and let you back in.

And let’s be honest here, by time he retired, Cat Stevens’ albums sucked.

But give me "Trouble" off "Mona Bone Jakon" ANY day!

125. The Who "Endless Wire"

Sales this week: 11,324
Cume: 151,523

Doesn’t matter how good or bad it is, NOBODY’S GONNA HEAR IT!

This is an act that should have gone on Nic Harcourt’s show.  Should have tied in with Starbucks.  Should have gone where it’s AUDIENCE IS!  Because NOBODY interested in buying this record is listening to terrestrial radio, which isn’t playing this record ANYWAY!

Maybe XM needs a channel where rock stars twenty years in get their new music played.  Maybe an Internet radio station.  A lot of the new stuff SUCKS, then again, if there was an outlet for it, maybe acts would feel pressure and DO BETTER!

135. Clay Aiken "A Thousand Different Ways"

Sales this week: 9,922
Cume: 425,957

It’s over.

Welcome to the modern music business, where something enters near the top of the chart and slips off into oblivion almost instantaneously.  Used to be the reverse.  The old system was better.

153. Deftones "Saturday Night Wrist"

Sales this week: 8,533
Cume: 136,071

I dare you, e-mail me and tell me this band isn’t second-rate noise, that it MATTERS!

I remember when Led Zeppelin was considered heavy metal, when Black Sabbath was too far out there.  Little did I know they’d come up with music you’d need a MANUAL to understand.

Based on these sales figures it seems the audience might be looking for a little melody…

167. Neil Young & Crazy Horse "Live At The Fillmore East"

Sales this week: 7,467
Cume: 37,636

So you tell me that baby boomers are the only ones who buy CDs, that they’re still into music.  I say CRAP!  They’ll buy force-fed junk at Starbucks, but they don’t know what’s happening and they don’t really want to buy new music, they just want to go to the show to relive their memories.  But, this IS their memories, and NOBODY CARES!

Maybe it’s because Neil’s released too many mediocre comeback records.

All I know is the mad tinkerer, trying to get his career retrospective perfect before he releases it..?  Seems like his window is closing, seems like most people DON’T EVEN CARE!

Okay, I don’t want to hear ANYBODY complain that I’m being negative.  I’m not being negative, I’m being HONEST!  What the fuck happened to our society, where you can’t recite the body count, can’t talk about how fucked up the war is, you’ve got to defend the President, the COUNTRY!

Music is Iraq.  Warring factions in an indiscernible, ungovernable world.  Major labels are trying to create shit that sells, and that’s what you’ve mainly got on this chart, SHIT!  The true indies, they can’t get enough traction to appear in the Top 200, and the people unaware that Neil Young has a new album out CERTAINLY aren’t going to be following the indies.

SoundScan mania must stop.  We have to obliterate the paradigm of media saturation/hype to enter at the top of the chart to immediately fall to the bottom.  Just ask the brass at EMI.  They’ve been playing this game and now the whole COMPANY is about to be stolen out from under them.

Despite the story in the L.A. "Times", Jimmy Iovine is cold.  Doug Morris is a carpetbagger, a rogue agent out to extract tolls from those building the future.  Sony BMG?  Today Gayle Miller lost her job.  She’s the ONLY person at Epic in the tour marketing department.  What, are Epic’s bands gonna stop touring?  Is Shakira only gonna appear on cell phones?  Are ONLY bands that can appear on cell phones gonna be SIGNED?  There’s no one WORKING at the majors anymore, they’ve trimmed the fat so much that they’re like anorexic models, not representative of the public at large, DOOMED TO DIE!

DON’T tell me about all the good music out there.  If the landscape is too much for ME to comprehend/decipher, imagine how it must be for the general public!

We need a new filter, to separate the wheat from the chaff.  We need acts one can believe in to pass THROUGH this filter.  This unending assault of crap just makes me want to put up the sign of the cross.

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