Taylor Swift's Million-Plus Sales
November 7, 2014
"In business, you can have one massive success that earns $50 million overnight, and that's it. You're successful. End of story. But in the music business, you have to keep on doing it."
-- Noel Gallagher
It's obvious that Taylor Swift keeps doing it. Over and over.
This is how BIG Taylor Swift's '1989' album debut is (From Billboard): "1989 sold 1.287 million copies in the week ending Nov. 2nd, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's the largest week for any album since Eminem's 'The Eminem Show' sold 1.322 million its second chart week (ending June 2nd, 2002). 1989's first-week sum also makes it the biggest selling album released in 2014, outpacing Sam Smith's 'In the Lonely Hour' (746,000). 1989 is also immediately the second-biggest selling album of the year (following the 'Frozen' soundtrack, which was released in 2013, and has sold 3.2 million in 2014) 1989's debut was so huge, it comprised 22% of the entire album market for the week (5.79 million total albums were sold in the week). Another way to look at it: of the top selling albums on the Billboard 200 chart for the week, 1989 sold more than #2-107 combined." Read more from Billboard Chartbeat: Taylor Swift Collects Fourth No. 1 Album
Whether you are a Taylor Swift fan or not, the million-plus sales in one week for any artist in today's marketplace is extraordinary.
I can remember well when labels shipped a million albums of all their biggest acts the first week out once they had established multi-Platinum level sales success. It was almost standard operating procedure in the mid-'70s through the late 1980s to do so. Labels wanted BIG impact at retail and wanted to ensure "the pipeline" was filled. (Believe it, it was filled far too often, but that's something for discussion in another chapter about the industry and mistakes made)
The reason labels were able to ship one million-plus back then, is the same reason Big Machine (Taylor's label) can do so today. HIT SONGS (more than just one or two on an album) still can drive big album sales.
Yes, Taylor Swift is the biggest thing out there right now, but she's been doing this now for several years. Hit after hit resonating with her audience who then buys lots of her albums.
And there it is again. The great ARTIST writing great SONGS.
How many artists today on all major labels can achieve the sales success like Taylor? How many artists on all major labels will even survive another five years at retail? Can you name a dozen? If so, please e-mail the list. I can't think of that many.
Every single executive at every label would love to have an artist who can achieve the kind of success Taylor Swift has, yet we still see far too many disposable artists being signed. Can you really remember the names of the newer acts you see on every late-night talk show five nights a week, 52 weeks a year? Of course you can't. The majority of the acts being exposed aren't even reaching satisfactory levels of sales success. (If they were, you'd certainly know who they are and the labels would be raking in big profits. Not happening.)
If the industry had just a half-dozen acts that could deliver sales like Taylor Swift, I imagine music retail might not look so bleak in time. Right now, I look at the Billboard Top 20 Albums each week and just see lots of albums that debut well, and then disappear, and the great majority with low sales.
And yes, Taylor Swift pulled her music from Spotify this week, and no, I don't think that contributed to the million-plus sales week. The whole should she-or shouldn't she be on Spotify argument is something best left to others to decide. In this particular case, Ms. Swift certainly doesn't need Spotify and her fans won't miss hearing her there, either. Best quote about that this week, "Taylor swift Leaves the Spotify Cult and Proves the Rule: Spotify Needs Hits, But Hits Don't Need Spotify" Best Spotify/Swift Quote: "Spotify needs hits, but..."
One million-plus in one week. Like in the "glory days" of the biz.
Something to strive for, huh. music exces? Wouldn't that be nice?
"Taylor Swift was responsible for 22% of albums sold in the U.S. in the last seven days. The sales of her "1989" exceeds the combined sales of albums at #2 to No 107 in Billboard chart, according to the number crunchers at The Guardian.
Taylor Swift Sets 2014 Sales Record
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
BOB DYLAN'S 'BASEMENT TAPES' RESURFACE
There is lots of online media stuff this week about Bob Dylan and his legendary "Basement Tapes."
From The New Yorker magazine Bob Dylan's "The Basement Tapes Complete"
Forty-six years after Rolling Stone alerted the world to the existence of Bob Dylan's secret Basement Tapes sessions, the complete recordings are finally getting a commercial release. To mark the occasion, we brought the Band's Garth Hudson back to Big Pink. Read More
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
THE TOP 20 CATCHIEST SONGS OF ALL TIME?
I am a strong believer in science, but this science applied to finding out "the top 20 catchiest songs of all time" is seriously questionable in my opinion.
"The result is part of a year-long study, conducted by the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, U.K. Users were directed to a special website where they could play an online game called Hooked on Music, which contained clips from 1,000 hit songs from the past 70 years -- the top selling 40 tracks of each decade since the 1940s."
Topping the list? The Spice Girls "Wannabe."
Seriously? And at #2 Lou Bega's "Mambo No 5"?
Read the list, see if you agree with any of it: The top 20 catchiest songs of all time, according to science
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
TRENT REZNOR TALK
The Nine Inch Nails frontman explains why he's "on side of streaming music" and how he's taking a creative bite out of Apple.
"I am on the side of streaming music, and I think the right streaming service could solve everybody's problems," Reznor told Billboard. "Ownership is waning. Everybody is comfortable with the cloud -- your documents, who knows where they are? They are there when you need them. That idea that I've got my records on the shelf doesn't feel as important even to me as it used to. I just think we haven't quite hit the right formula yet." Trent Reznor talks Beats Music and Apple's secret project
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
WANT TO KNOW WHAT "THE BOSS READS"? CHECK IT OUT…
Bruce Springsteen admits he didn't read John Steinbecks' 'Grapes Of Wrath' when he wrote "The Ghost Of Tom Joad" (he probably just saw the movie and that was enough to inspire him to write that song), but who does he read? Who are some of his favorite authors?
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE RE-EMERGING HERE ON EARTH
Networks are beginning to look at their programming slates and realizing that the celebration of American subcultures like "Jersey Shore," "Teen Mom," "Hoarders," "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" and "Duck Dynasty" are losing viewers. That's enough motivation on its own to make a change. Full story at TheWrap
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
This is T-Pain without Auto-Tune
Hear Billy Joel's Explosive Cover of Paul McCartney's 'Maybe I'm Amazed'
U2 Booked for Weeklong 'Tonight Show' Residency
Exclusive Premiere: Neil Young Sings 'Glimmer' in the Studio With Full Orchestra
Beyonce Releasing 'Platinum Edition' of Self-Titled Album
Hear Unreleased Paul McCartney Wings Ditty
Jeff Lynne Working On New ELO Music, Will Play US Dates
Paul Simon Biography in the Works
The 20 Most Misunderstood Movies of All Time
SoundCloud goes legit, licensing music from major label Warner
This compact Sound Blaster X7 amplifier aims to shatter any audiophile's expectations
Phone-crazed audiences and fed-up musicians? Yondr is on the case
In the market for a new TV?
Stripe exec: Soon, e-commerce will move to Facebook, too
Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear review
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro: Amazing design with some performance trade-offs
Short News Items ...
Bob Dylan's new covers disc, 'Shadows in the Night,' is set for a 2015 release. Besides his cover of Frank Sinatra's "Full Moon and Empty Arms," it's not clear what will be on the album, though Dylan recently began ending his set with another Sinatra hit. Read More
FASHION DIDN'T ROCK SO WELL:
Deadline.com reports "It may have been a good-looking show, but 'Fashion Rocks' was neither highly rated nor well-paying for CBS." Read More
WELL, HE DIDN'T WIN 'IDOL,' EITHER:
'American Idol' alumni Clay Aiken lost his congressional race to Republican Renee Ellmers. Aiken was hoping to be elected the Democratic representative for North Carolina's 2nd congressional district, but it was not a particularly close race -- Ellmers, who first gained the seat in 2010, took 56% of the vote.
MORE ABOUT ALLMAN'S LAST:
When Gregg Allman began singing his band's cover of Muddy Waters' "Trouble No More" last week, likely for the last time, "it felt like church," Derek Trucks tells Rolling Stone. Behind the scenes with David Fricke at the Allman Brothers Band's final gig. Read More
There's a bit of a "Run Like Hell" vibe at the beginning of "Allons-y (1)," which we're previewing from Pink Floyd's new album, 'The Endless River.' The song then grows more ethereal, like a lot of the instrumental tracks on the surprise new release. Read More
THE KILLER IS STILL ROCKING:
Jerry Lee Lewis married his seventh wife a few years ago. "She says she couldn't take a joke, but she took me!" he says. After a bout with heavy meds sapped his strength, the 79-year-old Killer got his fight back, recording with a live band for the first time in years. Read More
ALLEE WILLIS NOMINATED FOR SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME:
Songwriter/performer/multi-media artist Allee Willis has been nominated for the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. Allee's body of work includes: "September" - Earth, Wind & Fire , "Boogie Wonderland" - Earth, Wind & Fire with The Emotions , "I'll Be There For You" (the Friends theme) - The Rembrandts, "Neutron Dance" - The Pointer Sisters, "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" - Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield, "Stir It Up" - Patti LaBelle, "Lead Me On" - Maxine Nightingale, and 'The Color Purple' musical. Vote for Allee if you're a member!
Platinum selling musician Wayne Richard Wells, better known as Wayne Static, passed away at the age of 48," according to a message posted on Static-X's Facebook page Saturday night. Wells was founder of the California metal group Static-X.
Quotes of the week
Who knew Bruce Springsteen was a comedian? These are from his appearance this past week at the 'Stand Up For Heroes' charity event in New York City:
"On the New Jersey Turnpike the other night, a truck was hijacked by a group of thieves. The truck was full of Viagra. The New Jersey state police are now looking for a group of hardened criminals."
"A guy is sitting next to a nice-looking woman on an airplane. She says, 'I'm reading a book about how you get the most sexual satisfaction. According to the book, Native Americans and Polish men are the world's greatest lovers.' Then she goes, 'Hi, my name's Jill. What's yours?' He says, 'Flying Cloud Kowalski.'"
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Antidepressant Can't Believe It's Expected To Fix This Mess All On Its Own
SEATTLE— Stunned and dismayed that it will have no assistance in treating the serious mood disorder, the antidepressant Prozac cannot believe that it is being asked to fix this mess entirely on its own, sources said Wednesday.
"I'm seriously supposed to go in there and turn around years of hopelessness without any backup whatsoever," said the exasperated twice-daily 10-milligram SSRI, adding it simply could not believe it would have no support from moderate exercise, a healthy diet, or a dedicated psychotherapy program. " Read the rest and laugh
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.
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Smart Marketing Consulting Services has been in business sixteen years, and consults clients in the music, entertainment, attraction, media, and technology industry on branding, marketing, online exploitation, maximizing new media, and more.
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