All The King's Horses, And All The King's Men, Couldn't Make Madonna Sell CDs Again
April 13, 2012
"Show business is dog-eat-dog. It's worse than dog-eat-dog, it's dog-doesn't-return-other-dog's-phone-calls."
-- Woody Allen, from "Crimes and Misdemeanors"
I'm sure there were a whole lot of phone calls about the second week sales drop on Madonna's latest album "MDNA."
I'm sure a lot of people on the phones were not thrilled with the news that the album was on track to set the record for the biggest second-week sales drop in history. According to Forbes, the album dropped 88% in sales from 359,000 in its first week, to approximately just 46,000 in week two. ( http://tinyurl.com/7ln3bz7 )
Ouch. Ouch indeed.
After all the media hype, the Super Bowl half-time extravaganza, Clear Channel Radio playing the first single every hour on the hour when it was first released, the hoopla about her online chat with Jimmy Fallon, the press, the Smirinoff TV ads airing everywhere, two singles released -- "Give Me All Your Lovin" and "Girls Gone Wild" -- that have not done a thing, the fact is that 185,000 albums were sold as part as part of the ticket package to Madonna's "MDNA Tour" (which of course means only 179,000 were sold as individual album sales, source: http://tinyurl.com/bq58s84 ), it all came down to reality in week two.
Yes, it debuted at #1, but now it's dropping like that proverbial lead balloon.
The album's drop won't have any effect on the sale of tickets for Madonna's concerts. She's a pop icon, and will sell-out everywhere because she has a pile of real hits that people will come to hear and to see how she does them in her new show. They would've come even if she hadn't put out a new album. But what the hell, she wanted to tour, so why not have something new on the shelf, right?
Heritage artists such as Madonna, Springsteen, Elton John, McCartney and others all experience this kind of sales pattern now when they put out new albums. And they all still gross hundreds of millions whenever they tour. However, the drop in sales on Madonna's second week was just bigger than all others, and she had more exposure than others with the Super Bowl halftime show.
All of which means, of course, that you can't make hits if it's not in the grooves, no matter how big the stature of the artist is. There were megabucks spent in promotion and exposure for Madonna before the album's release, but after the people heard the songs they just weren't buying it.
Anybody who worked at a label during the glory days of radio and records working together, knows that no matter how much money was spent on certain artists/records, in the end the public decided what was a hit by calling radio stations and buying music at retail. Yes, labels could do everything to run records up the flagpole to a certain point with their resources, but in many cases, the chart numbers didn't parallel sales levels.
So, Madonna racks up another #1 album for the record books. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. After all, that old saying "When you're #1, you're having fun" is as true today as it ever was.
So, I'm sure Madonna loved that #1, however brief it was.
Some who bought the CD are already selling their copies for $5 or less after just two weeks. (See story below about Amazon now buying used CDs)
They had fun briefly, too, I guess.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
ARTISTS GET ROYALTY INCREASE FROM DIGITAL MUSIC SERVICES
Online music services such as Spotify and iTunes boosted the royalties paid to U.K. artists last year in a further sign that streaming and download services are positively contributing to the music market.
Online royalties jumped 45.3% last year, helping to offset a 13.3% fall in royalties from CD sales and leading to total royalties rising 3.2% year on year to GBP635.3m (USD1.08bn), according to figures from representative body, PRS for Music.
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/cpglcr9
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
VEVO WILL GROW
Music-video service Vevo was born on YouTube, but it's spent the past year preparing for life beyond it via mobile apps and distribution agreements on Xbox, MTV, Boxee and most recently, Facebook.
Vevo says that 30% of its video views in the U.S., Canada and Europe are coming from outside YouTube. That was before Vevo launched on Facebook last fall -- the social network is now its fastest-growing distributor and responsible for 100 million views as well as 20 million to 25 million "shares" of music videos each month.
Read the rest here on AdAge: http://tinyurl.com/bp9jj7w
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
THAT 10.5% ADDITIONAL SPOTIFY ROYALTY ARTISTS ARE NOT GETTING
From Tunecore comes this news: As the debate about whether streaming services are paying out enough royalties to artists goes on, there is one thing that is not debatable: In the United States, artists and songwriters/publishers are not getting the entire amount, or any, of the additional 10.5% royalty owed to them from "interactive" streaming services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, Slacker, MOG, Rdio, etc. (and the music services aren't really to blame).
Outside of the United States this same problem exists for other reasons (you can read more on that here), but in the U.S., the issues causing this are:
* U.S. Copyright Law For Streams
* How The Streaming Mechanical Royalties Are Paid Out
* Performance Rights Organizations Are In The Middle When They Do Not Need To Be
Read the rest on Tunecore here: http://tinyurl.com/cf978sb
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
PANDORA NOW HAS LOGGED 1 BILLION LISTENING HOURS
Online radio service Pandora said it crossed the 1 billion mark in total listening hours in March -- up from 975 million in February, and nearly twice the 567 million it reached in the year-earlier period.
Read the rest here on MediaPost: http://tinyurl.com/cwxfpgm
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
WANT TO FIND JUST HOW LITTLE YOUR USED CDs ARE WORTH? AMAZON WILL NOW TAKE THEM IN TRADE
Out just two weeks and all you can get for your used copy of Madonna' MDNA is $5 ... a little more than enough to buy five tracks from the album on Amazon MP3. ( http://tinyurl.com/7lu3rp9 )
Obviously, this doesn't spell good news for the CD in the marketplace, and it reflects their declining value.
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/7xeatak
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
AMERICANS ARE WATCHING MORE SCREENS THAN EVER, SO HOW DO TV NETS ENGAGE US?
A clear majority of Americans have consulted a second screen while the TV is on.
The real challenge for programmers and advertisers is capturing that distracted behavior, because most of the time the second screeners are browsing unrelated content online.
Read more on Media Post here: http://tinyurl.com/d8kzq7u
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
RECORD STORE DAY IS COMING ON APRIL 21st
Record Store Day always means special releases by many artists to encourage consumers to visit their local record stores and browse for some great music.
Over the past two decades, with consumers increasingly choosing to purchase their music via digital outlets, countless independent records stores across the globe have been forced to throw up their shutters. Leslie Feist, however, has a plan to stop this chain of events. "I'll wear armor and hold up a sword and stand out front of the independent record shops and just protect them," the Canadian singer/songwriter, 36, tells Rolling Stone.
Read the rest on Rolling Stone here: http://tinyurl.com/c72ryqf
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
UH-OH, GET READY FOR BIG MONTHLY PAY TV COSTS IN JUST 8 YEARS
Will consumers really pay the $200 monthly rate for pay TV predicted for 2020 by the NPD Group? The notion first "seems like insanity" for both consumers and cable companies, writes Stacey Higginbotham.
But with competition between streaming video on demand and premium TV suppliers heating up, "We are witnessing the first steps toward the creation of a combined pay-TV and broadband bundle that gives consumers most of the TV they want on demand and encourages them to avoid going to the outside Web," writes Higginbotham.
"If done quickly, consumers, who are just discovering how pleasant (and economical) it can be to watch TV via broadband using over-the-top services such as Netflix or Hulu, will be lulled back into complacency and will still view their pay-TV and broadband subscriptions as necessary."
Read why Stacy says 'The Cable Industry Isn't Stupid, Right?' here on GigaOm: http://tinyurl.com/8xv4v2e
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 10
THIS INTERNET PROVIDER WANTS TO GIVE US COMPLETE ONLINE PRIVACY
Step aside, AT&T and Verizon.
A new privacy-protecting Internet service and telephone provider still in the planning stages could become the ACLU's dream and the FBI's worst nightmare. Nicholas Merrill is planning to revolutionize online privacy with a concept as simple as it is ingenious: a telecommunications provider designed from its inception to shield its customers from surveillance.
Read the rest on CNET here: http://tinyurl.com/7qojywd
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 11
MORE THAN 100 MILLION PEOPLE ARE LISTENING TO ONLINE RADIO
Yes, you read that right: 100 million.
It's a huge number and growing fast. With Internet radio starting to be made available in cars, the number could explode within a few short years.
Read the Edison report 'The Infinite Dial 2012' here (and you can download it as well): http://tinyurl.com/7ffju22
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* Looking for affordable headphones that sound really good for the money? You don't have to spend an arm and a leg for good sonics. More
* Who's going to profit from the Facebook IPO? Consider these three online wealth-management services. More
* Listen to a previously unreleased recording of Janis Joplin performing "Move Over" that is featured on "The Pearl Sessions," a new collection of outtakes, live recordings, mono single mixes and assorted rarities made at the time the singer recorded Pearl. Listen here: http://tinyurl.com/d73zlry
Short News Items ...
Chris Daughtry is being sued by three of his former bandmates over royalties, the Greensboro News and Record reports. The lawsuit accuses Daughtry of "constructive fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, unfair trade practices and other deceptive and wrongful conduct" in his dealings with the musicians.
AXL & LANA?
Axl Rose is rumored to be dating Lana Del Rey, the Daily News reports. The Guns N' Roses frontman was spotted leaving the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood with Del Rey on Friday, and the singer attended two consecutive Guns N' Roses shows in Los Angeles last month.
SONY CUTS WORKFORCE:
Sony plans to reduce its workforce by an estimated 10,000 jobs, or about 6% of its global workforce, as part of new CEO Kazuo Hirai's restructuring plan, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter said Monday. After four straight years of losses, Hirai's main focus is to turn around the company's struggling electronics business.
GAGA STARTS IN EUROPE:
The European leg of Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way Ball' is set to kick off August 14th in Bulgaria, following a run of spring and summer dates through Asia and Australia. Tickets for the 21-date trek will go on sale later this month. Opening for Gaga on the European leg are British glam rock band The Darkness (of "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" fame) and DJ Lady Starlight.
RONNIE MONTROSE DEATH A SUICIDE:
Guitarist Ronnie Montrose died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a report from the San Mateo County Coroner has revealed. The suicide ruling contradicts earlier reports that the cause of death was prostate cancer, which Montrose had been suffering from when he died on March 3rd.
A filmmaker is suing B.B. King for allegedly interfering with his autobiographical film, B.B. King and I, about his long relationship with the blues legend and his success in helping King get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. King Size Film Production filed the lawsuit last week in California federal court and says that B.B. King has been attempting to use his trademarks and rights of publicity to interfere with the First Amendment right to tell the true story of Michael Zanetis (the "I" in B.B. King and I).
WILLIE BRONZED ... NOT STONED, BRONZED:
A bronze sculpture of Willie Nelson will be erected later this month in Austin, Texas. The statue, a gift to the city from the non-profit group Capital Area Statues, Inc., will be unveiled at 4:20p on April 20th as a nod to the Country star's reputation as a stoner.
AXL SEZ NO:
Axl Rose will be not be attending this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. "I respectfully decline my induction as a member of Guns N' Roses to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," Rose wrote in a long letter obtained by the L.A. Times. "I strongly request that I not be inducted in absentia and please know that no one is authorized nor may anyone be permitted to accept any induction for me or speak on my behalf. Neither former members, label representatives nor the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should imply whether directly, indirectly or by omission that I am included in any purported induction of 'Guns N' Roses.'"
BRITNEY AND X FACTOR:
Britney Spears is signing a $16 million deal to become a judge on The X Factor.
JUSTIN & TAYLOR:
Justin Bieber has revealed that his upcoming album, "Believe," his third, will feature a songwriting collaboration with Taylor Swift.
ONE DIRECTION, TWO BANDS:
A band claiming that it was working under the name One Direction well before the U.K. boy band of the same moniker came on the scene, is filing a lawsuit. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in California on Monday by a "California-based, pop-rock band" that claims it has been using the name One Direction since fall 2009 -- a year before the U.K. group began to use the name, and more than two years before the U.K. group "made its first entry into the United States market" with the One Direction title.
Green Day have announced plans to release a trilogy of albums entitled Â¡Uno!, Â¡Dos!, and Â¡Tré!. The first disc will hit shelves on September 25th, the second on November 13th and the third on January 15th, 2013. (Editor's opinion: BAD idea )
DON'T KNOW IF IT WILL BE THE KIND OF ALBUM THAT WILL PUT THE LADIES IN A ROMANTIC MOOD, BUT:
Lil Wayne has revealed plans to release a new album of love songs in an interview with MTV's Hip-Hop POV. The project, titled Devol, was crafted while the rapper was incarcerated at Rikers Island in 2010. "I was recording an album at the same time called Devol, spelled D-E-V-O-L, 'cause that's 'loved' spelled backwards," he explained. (Editor's opinion: Yeah, and god spelled backwards is dog ... and your point is? Gee, Wayne ... you're so deep)
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics. He's also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap video. (And if your understanding of the economic meltdown that occurred needs to be enlightened, this video will do it)
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
Read more about it by clicking here.
Quotes of the week
"Most things in music go full circle eventually. I was surprised that there's been a lack of bands in the charts. I grew up when the whole Motown thing was huge. The charts in those days were dominated by groups more than solo artists at one point. In the 1990s, we had New Kids (On the Block), Backstreet, N'Sync. Then it all changed. It's very much at the moment all about solo artists. Interestingly, you're seeing a lot of these artists collaborate with so many people and they're putting out seven or eight singles a year. So the charts become very track-led. Thank god kids love following an artist. When you get a group who pop, it's the best thing in the world. It's just been waiting to happen for years."
-- Simon Cowell, talking about the huge success of his boy band One Direction in Rolling Stone
"It came to a boil in May 1965 when Joan (Baez), Bobby and I met (as documented) in (the film) "Don't Look Back." At the time, folk singers, classical and jazz musicians released albums, pop music went on 45s. I was a bit ahead, releasing a single. That bit of harmless plastic, the 45, I realized was cheap, available and millions of Baby Boomers bought them. There was already something going on that I was joining (socially conscious folk-rock music). But the folk singers rebelled, saying 'We're not plugging in our banjos and guitars.' Nobody understood that folk could meet pop or rock."
-- Donovan, talking in Billboard about how folk music eventually plugged in and moved on.
"While I'm generally silent on the affairs of my biological mother, her recent tirade has taken a gross turn. I have never been approached by Dave Grohl in more than a platonic way. I'm in a monogamous relationship and very happy. Twitter should ban my mother."
-- Frances Bean Cobain, commenting on her mother's (Courtney Love) tweet that Dave Grohl hit on her. And bless you, Frances; the less we hear from and about your mom, the better off we all will be.
"He is a jackass. But he's talented."
-- President Barack Obama, talking about Kanye West in the Atlantic Monthly
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
No One Admits To Singing, Writing, Producing Nation's No. 1 Song
LOS ANGELES-As of Monday, the CD single "Baby Baby (Luvya Girl)" has rocketed to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 on its debut week, despite the fact no one has claimed credit for singing, composing, or producing it.
The single's success marks a rare occasion in which both critics and the music industry find themselves in agreement, as magazines such as Spin call "Baby Baby" "a wasteland" and "creatively brain-dead," and major recording labels such as Interscope and Sony BMG distance themselves from it.
"This is a first in modern recording history," Billboard Magazine writer Jim Shapiro said. "Even third-place American Idol contestants and Diddy have not come forward as the creators, though it's obviously a solid hit and could make them a lot of bank."
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
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