1. Jack White "Blunderbuss"
Sales this week: 137,554
Most people just don’t care. Despite saturation marketing, Jack White is a niche player. His only hope is that his fans spread the word, the media’s not cutting it.
This is no reflection upon Mr. White or his music. It’s just illustrating that SNL and print media alert the faithful, the vast masses ignore it.
You can’t convince he who does not care. Your only hope is to convince he who does, and hope that that person spreads the word to his friends. For that to happen, the fan must love the new music and it must be able to be sold to non-fans in one listen.
The old days of repetitive radio airplay which would sear the track into the brains of the unwilling…are gone. Especially if it’s not a Top Forty act.
2. Adele "21"
Sales this week: 83,917
Percentage drop: -6
Weeks on chart: 62
It’s still selling because a great percentage of the public is still discovering it. Even Adele can’t convince everybody overnight.
Furthermore, although there’s been tons of press, it never appears that Adele herself is behind it, she never seems to be working it. So when you come across a story about her, you’re not immediately turned off by the unending force of a salesperson.
Furthermore, nearly nine million copies is a staggering figure.
It’s the reward for going your own way and performing at a top level.
Listen to "21". Then listen to your album.
Now you know why she’s outselling you by a large margin.
And it’s not only the wannabes. The superstars don’t make albums this good.
Furthermore, this music is not niche. Go where the people are if you’re desirous of selling tonnage. And that may not be hip-hop or country… How many people are going to immediately turn off your record? If it’s a lot, expect to sell a little.
3. Lionel Richie
Sales this week: 78,345
Percentage drop: -31
Weeks on chart: 5
I listened to the album. I can’t say it’s good. The originals are all better.
This is a victory lap. It’s meaningless unless you too are a has-been.
Good for Lionel, but it’s sui generis. A marketing exercise. NEXT!
14. Bonnie Raitt "Slipstream"
Sales this week: 22,050
Percentage drop: -37
Weeks on: 3
And here’s where I contradict myself. Press, old line media still works for heritage acts that appeal to baby boomers.
There was an excellent press campaign and it sold records. And it’s her label.
But very few acts fit Bonnie’s paradigm and are as likable. Just because she did it, that does not mean you can. If you’re a heritage act, first and foremost know who your fans are and how to get in touch with them. Yes, that’s about e-mail lists and Facebook and Twitter. And then raise the cash on Kickstarter. Don’t worry about reaching everybody, just the people who care.
17. Alabama Shakes "Boys & Girls"
Sales this week: 18,531
Percentage change: -31
Weeks on: 4
Buzz counts. This is the buzz band amongst those who’ve passed puberty.
42. Shins "Port Of Morrow"
Sales this week: 9,445
Percentage change: -25
Weeks on: 6
No buzz. Lots of publicity, but the Shins are no longer hot, like Alabama Shakes.
The number 5 and 6 records are both by county artists, debuts, by Lee Brice and Kip Moore respectively. The country world embraces artists, not songs, and will buy an album. They believe the act has something to say. Hit singles give your career momentum, but it’s about you, despite how many people you collaborated with to make the music. In Top Forty, it’s about the track.
Nicki Minaj is number 8 after four weeks. She’s sold 415,406 records. She’s got tons of buzz. But it used to be many acts had buzz. There were many Nicki Minajs. Does this mean there’s only one slot or it’s hard to break through the clutter? I’ll say we don’t have enough exceptional acts, those that make you turn your head. There’s tons of good, very little great.
Jason Mraz’s new album is number 10, Train’s is number 11. They’re both in their second weeks. Mraz’s album dropped 71% and Train’s 65%. The hard core fans have already bought the album. There were a limited number of them. Now it’s about hit singles.
And that’s a tough row to hoe.
Both acts appeal to a fickle female audience. If you’re one of these acts you must do incredible work and hope your major label makes you a priority.
Tiesto debuts at number 16, selling 19,288 albums. Of course we expect the record to descend quickly. But for those who say electronic music is solely a live medium…well, not exactly! But more telling, you can be number 16 in a country of 300 million people selling only 19,288 albums? Albums are niche and so are so many of these acts.
Eric Church (#20 with a 756,330 cume)… Although I think "Springsteen" is a cheap shot, even though it’s better than most of the tracks on the Boss’s new album, he said something incredible in "Rolling Stone":
"Once your career becomes about something other than the music, then that’s what it is. I’ll never make that mistake. I don’t care if I starve."
Hooray! Someone speaking the truth!
Unfortunately just before this, Church said:
"’Honestly, if Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green turn around in a red chair, you got a deal? That’s crazy,’ he said. ‘I don’t know what would make an artist do that. You’re not an artist.’"
Hooray again! We live in a country where no one speaks English. We’re drawn to those who utter the truth.
But we can’t handle the truth. So Eric Church apologized.
You can read the text
he wiggled a bit, he didn’t completely undercut his position, but why couldn’t he let what he said initially stand? These artists are all whores who are hurting the industry at large by sucking up for what is ultimately very few dollars. Making it money before music.
And speaking of whoring out… Have you seen the Steven Tyler Burger King commercial?
What’s even more fascinating is comments are disabled. Now I disable comments on my blog not because I can’t handle negativity, but because it’s a full time job fighting spam. They disabled comments because they know there’d be an onslaught of complaints. Tyler’s good in the commercial. But Ozzy was good on his TV show. It killed his live career. I hope Steven got paid a fortune. Because you take the short term money at the expense of the long. It’s your hard core fans who’ll keep you in business. Many fans gave up on seeing Ozzy after he became everybody’s doddering uncle. And despite the present hoopla, hard core fans are turned off by Tyler selling out. This was the guy who sang "Back In The Saddle" and did drugs all day? Don’t these acts get it, that they’re heroes to their fans, that they look up to them, that they idolize them, that they represent what the fan could never have or be? Once you humanize yourself, most people no longer care. I know, it doesn’t make sense. You, the act, are human too. But the public will never accept that…unless you ram it down their throat.