SoundScan Disappointments

17. Jay-Z "American Gangster"

Sales this week: 51,979
Percentage change: -40%
Cume: 694,954
Weeks on: 4

This isn’t about album vs. single on iTunes.  This is about the status of rap in America.  It appears that it’s not the ubiquitous sound of the nation that the mainstream media believes it to be.

One might say that Jay-Z is long in the tooth, that we’re looking for someone younger, but I don’t think that’s operative.  Somehow, just like when disco eclipsed rock in the late seventies, the bottom has fallen out of hip-hop.  Oh, there’s demand.  It’s just not stratospheric.

Would sales be higher if there were airplay on Top Forty?

Certainly, but Jay-Z is not present in the Mediabase Top Forty chart (which actually includes fifty records).  "Roc Boy" is number 15, sans bullet, on the Urban chart.  Which, I guess, is helping to keep this album alive to the point it actually is.

Quality perception is high, the album garners a 4 1/2 star average on Amazon, but footprint is low.

Turns out if you’re not a Jay-Z fan, you don’t have to pay attention.  Probably you’re not paying attention.

And there we have twenty first century America.  Nothing is dominant.  We live in a land of niches.  One of which is inhabited by hip-hop, and Jay-Z.

19. Keith Urban "Greatest Hits"

Sales this week: 47,493
Percentage change: -59%
Cume: 164,687
Weeks on: 2

Sure, it’s found money.  But I’m not sure the strategy is a sound one.  Do you cannibalize your catalog?

Or is it that people don’t even need the album anymore, they’ll just download what they want…

So, we had the death of the movie soundtrack.  Now the death of the greatest hits album.  What’s next?  The death of the superstar.  But that’s already happening.

33. George Strait "22 More Hits"

Sales this week: 36,118
Percentage change: -24%
Cume: 164,249
Weeks on: 3

I guess the hits weren’t that big.  Certainly not needed.

And this guy won the 2007 CMA Album of the Year Award.

Either country fans finally learned how to download, or George Strait is not quite the star the business thinks he is.  This is a piss-poor number.  Then again, it’s got the smell of Christmas rip-off.  And today’s consumer is sophisticated.  And would rather buy a concert ticket than a lame album.

43. Paul Potts "One Chance"

Sales this week: 25,967
Percentage change: +8%
Cume: 204,569
Weeks on: 11

Guess it’s an English thing.

In the U.K. people are sentimental, they love all kinds of music, they’re in it together.  In America, you like one genre, and that’s it.  There’s no Radio 1.

Furthermore, this demonstrates Oprah can’t sell EVERYTHING!  Then again, without her imprimatur, is this album a complete stiff?

49. Kenny Chesney "Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates"

Sales this week: 22,625
Percentage change: -42%
Cume: 823,703
Weeks on: 12

And this album contains a ubiquitous number one hit!  And he was CMA Entertainer of the Year!

Now the label will try to slug it out single by single, and the cume may rise.  But this guy is considered a superstar.  So, make no mistake, country sales are in trouble.

68. 50 Cent "Curtis"

Sales this week: 15,194
Percentage change: -30%
Cume: 1,140,482
Weeks on: 12

Suddenly, the whole country woke up and found out it didn’t like Fitty.

I was impressed with how smart Fitty came across in the VMA pre-game.  Maybe if he lost his bluster, and went on Oprah, we could learn to love him.  Everybody likes a comeback.  And it’s hard to love the boasting Kanye.

75. Goo Goo Dolls "Greatest Hits Vol. 1 – The Singles"

Sales this week: 14,699
Percentage change: -32%
Cume: 69,096
Weeks on: 3

Does anybody even know this album is out?

With so much clutter, it’s hard to get your message through.

Maybe you didn’t expect this to sell any more.  Maybe it’s not truly a disappointment.  But it does beg the question why they didn’t release this package sooner, when the band still had some buzz!

85. Santana "Ultimate Santana"

Sales this week: 12,929
Percentage change: -13%
Cume: 174,751
Weeks on: 7

Ultimately, people discovered they had all the Santana they wanted.

But this has the Columbia sides and the Arista sides in the same package!

Hint: Nobody interested in the Columbia sides WANTS the Arista sides!

102. Trisha Yearwood "Heaven, Heartache, and the Power Of Love"

Sales this week: 10,617
Percentage change: -32%
Cume: 59,407
Weeks on: 3

It’s not like the title track didn’t get a ton of airplay.

But airplay’s not definitive in country music.  You can have a hit record, but you’re not a star until the public anoints you.  You can’t headline your own shows, no one wants to see you.

These aren’t quite Patti Scialfa numbers, but this proves that who you’re married to doesn’t count.  Or maybe it counts against you…

110. Seal "System"

Sales this week: 10,003
Percentage change: -32%
Cume: 55,008
Weeks on: 3

At least he gets to go home to Heidi Klum.

117. James Blunt "All The Lost Souls"

Sales this week: 8,913
Percentage change: -22%
Cume: 269,309
Weeks on: 11

These sales aren’t too beautiful.

Even Christopher Cross had a couple more hits.  Maybe the label can get a track in a soap opera or as a movie theme…

Meanwhile, what about the guy who said he co-wrote all the original tracks.  Does his absence here make the difference?

120. John Fogerty "Revival"

Sales this week: 8,755
Percentage change: +10%
Cume: 190,555
Weeks on: 9

He’s back on Fantasy, his album has gotten good reviews, and nobody cares.

His old fans don’t want to buy new records.  Top Forty doesn’t play the music of oldsters.  He released this album and almost nobody knows.  Despite the publicity campaign.

Welcome to the dilemma of the classic rocker.  People just don’t want to hear your new music.

Of course, they want to hear the Eagles’.  But if you ever doubted that the SoCal rockers were a cut above, something different, now you know.   There’s a reason they own the greatest selling album of all time.  People care!  They might care about Led Zeppelin…if that band makes a deal with Wal-Mart or gives away its new music a la Prince.

Meanwhile, John kills live.  Why isn’t HE on the Super Bowl instead of Petty?  I love Petty, but Fogerty blows just about ANYBODY off the stage!

134. Little Big Town "A Place To Land"

Sales this week: 7,955
Percentage change: -19%
Cume: 67,063
Weeks on: 4

No hit single, no album sales.

I really like "I’m With The Band", but it wasn’t single material, and now the album is suffering.  Lead with your best!

148. Neil Young "Chrome Dreams II"

Sales this week: 6,946
Percentage change: -11%
Cume: 113,132
Weeks on: 6

Too many supposed comebacks, we stopped paying attention.

I’m not sure Neil cares…

Of course he cares, every artist wants not only respect, but notice.  In retrospect, Neil missed his moment when his protest album just wasn’t catchy enough.  It was coming from the right place, but it wasn’t listenable.  You certainly didn’t want to spin it again and again.  Does he have one more in him?

If he writes a riff as good as the one in "Ohio".

You can’t count Neil out, but he’s not doing his best work.

155. Jimmy Buffett" Live In Anguilla"

Sales this week: 6,691
Percentage change: +11%
Cume: 35,762
Weeks on: 3

Another live album?

Hey Jimmy!  People don’t want to hear OTHER people getting fucked up and having a good time, they want to do so THEMSELVES!

I’d say stay with the original double live album, "You Had To Be There".  It contains all the hits, since Jimmy hasn’t really written one since 1980 (oh, don’t tell me about that country shit, that was sheer stunting, selling on the names of his accomplices).

Funny that Jimmy can write hit books, with inspiration, but no good new music.  Maybe if we took away all his toys and he was forced to sleep on the beach his inspiration would return.

158. Duran Duran "Red Carpet Massacre"

Sales this week: 6,384
Percentage change: -40%
Cume: 46,114
Weeks on: 3

The Duranies want to still SLEEP with you, they just don’t want to listen to your new music.  And they don’t even know who Timbaland IS!

Rule one of music today, PLAY TO YOUR FAN BASE!  Don’t focus on expanding it, no one’s paying attention, they’re too busy overwhelmed with what already interests them.  Happy accidents will spread the word if you actually do something good.  Your fans will play the album for others, some deejay will bang it, it will become a theme song for some sporting event.

Fuck the big campaign, swinging for the fences, NO ONE’S AT THAT GAME EXCEPT FOR THE MEDIA SYCOPHANTS!

172. David Gray "Greatest Hits"

Sales this week: 5,757
Percentage change: -23%
Cume: 23,709
Weeks on: 3

Once he was destitute and desperate.  He made a record just for himself, "White Ladder".  Buy that album, it contains all his greatest hits.  The other stuff is for diehard fans only.

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