Cumulative Sales

1. "Loose"
Nelly Furtado

Weeks on chart: 1
Cumulative sales: 219,118

We all hate her.  For blinking.  For giving up her left-field identity and working with Timbaland to insure hits and a viable career.  This wouldn’t have happened in the old days (the seventies!) when who you were was more important than your fame.


3. "Taking The Long Way"
Dixie Chicks

Weeks on chart: 5
Cumulative sales: 1,190,254

Who do we blame, Clear Channel/radio?  Or Natalie Maines for not shutting up when the brouhaha had blown over, illustrating once again that acts have NO IDEA of their standing/identity/location in the marketplace.  Or the group’s manager, who oversaw this whole disaster.

That’s what it is.  This is a SHITLOAD of records.  But, where are the legs without hits?  This is a fraction of what they sold before, because they don’t have country radio.  And, where the real money is made, on the road…they’ve had to cancel dates.

It’s simple.  These girls are country to BEGIN WITH!  They hit every country radio show and do every radio station gig, saying we’re all one big family, we disagree but we get along, and we want to take you BACK (contrary to what Natalie has been saying).

Oh, she should go on Larry King.  And talk about how she was so hurt she said the wrong things.  Tell a story of growing up, reacting to her parents unwisely, and she’s now learned the error of her ways.  It’s not about the PRESIDENT/politics, it’s about PEOPLE!

How many times do we have to see this movie.  Country superstars SHOULD NOT try to bland down their music in hopes of mainstream success.  They should be thrilled they’re in the country sphere, where you can work forever.  Shania hurt her country cred.  Faith Hill went mainstream to less success.  Get under the big tent, put on your shitkicker boots and OWN YOUR IDENTITY!

6. "High School Musical"

Weeks on chart: 24
Cumulative sales: 2,563,227

The fact that you don’t know a single track, probably have never even HEARD a track unless you have kids, proves the point.  We live in an era of niches, and some are GARGANTUAN!  Not only this one, but the Mariah Carey one too.  Oh, she sold 5 million albums, but a great percentage of the public NEVER HEARD HER BIG SONG, "We Belong Together".  It’s almost impossible to sell 10 million discs anymore.  Not because of file-trading, not because of video games and DVDs, but because you just can’t reach the entire public easily anymore, it’s almost impossible, because people have CHOICE!

This is just as important as Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync.  "High School Musical" is a big deal.  It’s not about sex and parties, it’s about love and catchy songs.

8. "St. Elsewhere"
Gnarls Barkley

Weeks on chart: 7
Cumulative sales: 337,109

Pretty good, don’t you think?  Especially in an era where new acts can’t get ANY traction, can’t sell 10,000 copies.  But this record has no legs, because once you get beyond "Crazy"…you ain’t got much.

12. "Me and My Gang"
Rascal Flatts

Weeks on chart: 12
Cumulative sales: 1,938,570

But it gets better, their PREVIOUS record, "Feels Like Today", on the chart for 91 weeks, has sold 4,270,926 records!

Where’s the fucking problem???

Just because we don’t have the ubiquity of yore, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t still music crazy.  FURTHERMORE, they want to see country acts.  This is a fucking gold mine.

23. "PCD"
Pussycat Dolls

Weeks on chart: 41
Cumulative sales: 1,682,605

It worked!  They created something out of whole cloth.  Proving once again that the business is full of scams, i.e. the public can be convinced something is decent from the MARKETING!

24. "All The Right Reasons"

Weeks on chart: 38
Cumulative sales: 2,999,466

If I read one more fucking article how rock is dead, I’m gonna PUKE!  The bullshit alternative rock might be in decline, but meat and potatoes/riffs you can understand rock will be here FOREVER!

These guys are laughing all the way to the bank.  I take my hat off to them.  Only in unpretentious Canada could such a straight ahead act be born.

Or, as Pete Townshend once sang: LONG LIVE ROCK!

28. "10,000 Days"

Weeks on chart: 8
Cumulative sales: 1,033,831

The REAL Pearl Jam.

Don’t fall for that ersatz group, the one without the catchy songs led by that liar from San Diego who said he was a loner but turned out to be the star of his high school play and the most popular kid in his class.  No, MAYNARD is the real Eddie Vedder.  And the public knows it.  This record didn’t sell on airplay, it sold on sheer BELIEF!  In what Tool does.  (In the same number of weeks, Pearl Jam has sold 558,741 records.)

34. "King"

Weeks on chart: 13
Cumulative sales: 1,301,767

With Mr. Blunt at just shy of 2 mil, and this, and Gnarls, you can see why Warner’s stock has gone up.  Where are EMI’s equivalent successes?

47. "Breakthrough"
Mary J. Blige

Weeks on chart: 27
Cumulative sales: 2,401,186

And the problem is??

That’s A LOT of records!  Once again, many people NEVER HEARD A SINGLE TRACK FROM THIS RECORD, yet it sold two and a half million copies.

48. "Breakthrough"
Kelly Clarkson

Weeks on chart: 82
Cumulative sales: 5,366,933

The OLD record business.  The one the record companies like.  It’s all about selling discs TODAY, fuck live business, fuck the career.

It used to be different, the labels were interested in the acts, were enthralled by them, wanted them to have long, healthy careers.  Now labels have CONTEMPT for the acts and since they and their company might not exist tomorrow, WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT TOMORROW!

50. "Road & the Radio"
Kenny Chesney

Weeks on chart: 33
Cumulative sales: 2,327,749

Why isn’t Mitch Bainwol talking about all the SUCCESSES instead of bitching about how the consumers are ripping the labels off.

52. "New Amsterdam-Live at Heineken"
Counting Crows

Weeks on chart: 1
Cumulative sales: 17,387

Sideshow Bob and his cronies are DONE!  Hell, they were done after they stopped working with T-Bone Burnett, and that was their VERY FIRST ALBUM!  (And, can we stop being hyped on Mr. Burnett’s insignificant/not so good new CD?  Which has sold a grand total of 14,019 CDs in six weeks.)

56. "Move Along"
All-American Rejects

Weeks on chart: 50
Cumulative sales: 1,192,270

They’ve got about as much credibility as a shoelace, but their target audience doesn’t care.  Fine with me, just don’t tell me they’re MEANINGFUL!

57. "Louder Now"
Taking Back Sunday

Weeks on chart: 9
Cumulative sales: 359,108

Wherein we learn that the big bad major label can’t sell any more records than insane Tony Brummel and the old RED machine.  If you’re thinking of jumping to the big boys, just contemplate THIS statistic.

59. Wolfmother

Weeks on chart: 8
Cumulative sales: 141,953

Not that many discs for such a superhyped band.

I don’t think the record is catchy enough.  It’s one step BEYOND its influences, i.e. Led Zeppelin.  If it had this sound and the HOOKS of Nickelback, then you’d be talking.  But the big bad boys at the labels, the INSIDERS, have contempt for simplicity.  For what came before.  For what this business was built upon.

60. "Have A Nice Day"
Bon Jovi

Weeks on chart: 40
Cumulative sales: 1,195,442

The guy’s fucking teflon.  One great album and then twenty years of platinum sales and sold out shows.  Unbelievable.  But I STILL love "Wanted Dead Or Alive"!!

65. "It’s Time"
Michael Buble

Weeks on chart: 72
Cumulative sales: 1,865,492

The guys south of the border get all the ink, but they’re no better than their Vancouver brother, Bruce Allen.

Come on, on paper, this is a STIFF!  Slightly pudgy guy sings blue-hair music? But it’s almost DOUBLE PLATINUM!

66. "All The Roadrunning"
Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris

Weeks on chart: 9
Cumulative sales: 232,921

I’m stunned it did this well.  Everything after this is gravy.  Not that I expect much more than this.  Then again, there’s not the ubiquitous hype of the platinum sellers above which didn’t reach the audience for THIS record ANYWAY!

It’s Warner Brothers of the seventies all over again.  Sign credible acts.  Make records on a budget.  Sell them to the hard core.  Make money.  AND, if you’re lucky, they might blow up, you never know.

67. Daniel Powter

Weeks on chart: 11
Cumulative sales: 417,746

Wherein we learn, once again, that the singles business is death.  How nice a day are you going to have when you’ve got one of the biggest singles of the year and your album doesn’t even go gold?  Wouldn’t you rather have TOOL??  With no airplay and STILL platinum sales?

70. "Sing-A-Longs & Lullabies for the Film Curious George"
Jack Johnson & Friends

Weeks on chart: 20
Cumulative sales: 903,754

Now THIS GUY has fans.  I mean how many of the stoners/surfers went to THIS movie.  Then again, maybe if you get really ripped…

(For the record, Jack’s 69 week old album, "In Between Dreams", has sold 2,169,420 copies.)

72. "12 Gardens Live"
Billy Joel

Weeks on chart: 2
Cumulative sales: 58,790

I listened to this album.  It’s pretty good, especially the first disc.

I could say it’s a stiff because Billy’s already got too many live packages, but I think the real reason is THE TARGET AUDIENCE HAS NO IDEA THIS RECORD IS OUT!

79. "Monkey Business"
Black Eyed Peas

Weeks on chart: 55
Cumulative sales: 3,848,126

What came first, the hype or the sales?  I guess if you sell almost four million records I DO have to listen over and over again how the marginally talented Will I. Am is a genius and the boob-jobbed Fergie is a goddess.  But please, don’t tell me there’s anything truly here.

This would be laughable prior to the days of MTV.

86. "Surprise"
Paul Simon

Weeks on chart: 7
Cumulative sales: 186,256

Nobody cares.  Why doesn’t he just cut a new "Rhymin’ Simon" (which holds up ASTONISHINGLY well.)  I mean we’ve heard the new rhythms too many times before, just write a traditional song again, WILL YOU!

92. "Living With War"
Neil Young

Weeks on chart: 7
Cumulative sales: 182,467

The press is about as trustworthy as the Presidential Administration.  Completely clueless as to what’s good and what the public is into they hype the substandard work of brand names like it’s important or something.

God, even Knopfler and Harris have sold more records, with essentially ZERO hype.  Then again, they’ve got a catchy track, and all Neil Young has got is his self-righteousness.

96. "Songs About Me"
Trace Adkins

Weeks on chart: 66
Cumulative sales: 1,490,651

If I hadn’t seen this guy on "Politically Incorrect" a couple of times, I’d have no idea who he is.  Yet, he’s more successful than most of the supposed MAINSTREAM acts.  Then again, based on the numbers above, it appears country’s QUITE mainstream.

102. "Bolton Swings Sinatra"
Michael Bolton

Weeks on chart: 5
Cumulative sales: 73,585

And nobody cares.

114. "Goodbye Alice In Wonderland"

Weeks on chart: 8
Cumulative sales: 221,249

Not bad for a has-been.  Now if she only crosses over to country…

115. "Yeah!"
Def Leppard

Weeks on chart: 8
Cumulative sales: 93,935

Can we all now agree it was about Mutt Lange?

Bad concept that nobody cares about.  Hell, nobody cared about covering your obscure influences when David Bowie did it at the height of his career THIRTY YEARS AGO!

A nostalgia act now.

118. "Rather Ripped"
Sonic Youth

Weeks on chart: 2
Cumulative sales: 24,111

I don’t get it, I never got it, and could we please not read another word about this band EVER??!!

174. "Vol. 9-Kidz Bop"
Kidz Bop Kidz

Weeks on chart:
Cumulative sales: 389,289

Sign an act of twentysomethings for a fortune.  Deal with the aggravation of trying to create a hit single while keeping them alive and sober.

OR, hire a rotating cast of complete nobodies for almost nothing, cover hit records for a dime and make so many zeroes in profit you can barely count the money.

These Razor & Tie guys are BRILLIANT!

One Response to Cumulative Sales »»


    comment_type != "trackback" && $comment->comment_type != "pingback" && !ereg("", $comment->comment_content) && !ereg("", $comment->comment_content)) { ?>
  1. Pingback by Spider Tactics the blog | 2006/07/09 at 21:00:05

    […] July 9, 2006

    Not really, Bob Lefsetz has been a music industry commentator via The Lefsetz Letter for over 20 years so I would not confuse him with […]

comment_type == "trackback" || $comment->comment_type == "pingback" || ereg("", $comment->comment_content) || ereg("", $comment->comment_content)) { ?>

Trackbacks & Pingbacks »»

  1. Pingback by Spider Tactics the blog | 2006/07/09 at 21:00:05

    […] July 9, 2006

    Not really, Bob Lefsetz has been a music industry commentator via The Lefsetz Letter for over 20 years so I would not confuse him with […]

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.