Re-Linkin Park

1. Peter Frampton’s "I’m In You" sold the first week too.

2. 623,000 is less than Jay-Z’s 680,000 debut last December.  That was the fourth quarter.  As of last week, Jay-Z’s album "Kingdom Come" had sold 1,429,088.

3. Norah Jones’ "Not Too Late" has sold 1,309,658 copies as of last week.  At a rate of 20,000 per week, is it ever going to hit 2 million?

4. Linkin Park made its mark via rap rock.  It wasn’t a breakthrough as much as a refinement of the Limp Bizkit sound that preceded them.  They’ve abandoned this sound like a chump stops wearing a leisure suit.  Hell, it’s worse, they’ve abandoned who they are.  God, if they were the apotheosis, the pinnacle of rap rock, maybe they could still make it with that sound.  But switching identities?  The reviews have been bad, both the legitimate ones in print and the buzz online.  It’s hard to get the stink off an album.  How do you get the stink off an album?  Via massive TV exposure and radio airplay.  But this isn’t that kind of act, this is not Gwen Stefani in outfits, the main audience doesn’t listen to Top Forty, it’s not enamored of terrestrial radio at all…  It’s going to be hard to get airplay, and hard to get the target market to pay attention.

5. It’s been over four years since their last studio LP, "Meteora", and that’s just TOO LONG!  You were a teenager in high school, now you’re MARRIED!  This is not the eighties anymore.  God, it was bad enough in the seventies, when two years between records became de rigueur…  But that was before everybody had cable TV, video games, the Internet…  You’ve got to stay in the public eye, you’ve got to have a presence, or people move on.  Oh yeah, they did that "Collision Course" collaboration album with Jay-Z, but that was in 2004!  And funny how that was rap, and the new album is…

6. Some bands have reputations as limit testers.  They’re trying something new, expanding the boundaries.  That is not Linkin Park.  Linkin Park is safe, mainstream, a distillation of what came before.  If they’d switched directions and blown our minds with something new, we might care.  But it’s not like one listens to "Minutes To Midnight" and says HOW DID THEY COME UP WITH THIS?  Band longevity is more than a couple of monstrous albums, it’s got to do with cred, it’s got to do with leading your audience as opposed to following it, like NIN.  Linkin Park is no NIN.

7. NIN’s album "Year Zero" is no barn burner, it’s only sold 306,761 to date.  Maybe bad for Interscope, but not so bad for Trent Reznor.  He’s got a hard core fan base, his ticket sales are gargantuan, at high prices.  Who are you working for, the label or yourself?  Linkin Park might have sold many more records than Reznor, but he’s the one with the dyed-in-the-wool fans, he’s the one who can work for the next decade.

8. Sales drops this year have been precipitous.  How many fans, touched by the hype, didn’t get to the store this week to buy "Minutes to Midnight".  Not many.  What’s going to drive big sales in the future?

9. Rick Rubin is not infallible.

10. What sold "Minutes To Midnight"?  Pent-up demand, brand name?  The question is will it KEEP selling.  Warner needs it to keep selling to make its numbers.  But NOTHING seems to keep selling today.  Oh, you’re better off with Buble and country, but the way we’re going PLATINUM is going to be a thing of the past.

11. If you’re trumpeting Linkin Park’s debut as evidence that the business is returning to health, you’re sorely mistaken.  Sales are cratering.  People want music, but the nineties paradigm of hyping to high hell and getting everybody whipped up into some kind of frenzy are gone.  You just can’t get enough mindshare, you just can’t get enough people to pay attention.  In other words, it doesn’t matter WHAT Linkin Park’s new album sounds like, it’s just not going to be a sales monster.

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