Touring Musicians Trying To Hitch A Record-Sales Wagon To Their Buses

Jul 23rd, 2007 // 9 Comments

marrr.jpgPerhaps it’s because people are too broke to shell out money for CDs, Ticketmaster service fees, and gas, but in this transition period for the music industry, there aren’t many acts who can sell tickets and move copies of their album at the same time. (Justin Timberlake, whose tour is No. 2 in grosses this year and who has sold enough copies of FutureSex/LoveSounds in 2007 to land him at No. 7 on the album-sales chart, is the exception. Variety looked at the phenomenon, and dropped a speculative factoid that was a little surprising:

Differences between the two January-July tallies also make clear that acts that do tour are not doing so in conjunction with the release of an album. And the ones that are may only be able to fill moderate-sized venues.

Maroon 5, which could sell 2 million copies of late-May release “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long,” won’t tour the States until the end of September. If the band doesn’t register a second hit from the album by then, it’s likely the album will stall at about 15,000 disc sales per week, hit a cume of 1.5 million and promoter Live Nation may have considerable ticket inventory on its hands.

On the other side of the equation, Toby Keith is booked solid through Sept. 29 and should make the year-end list of top-grossing concert tours. But his album “Big Dog Daddy” will need to keep showing legs to get into the upper reaches of the year-end SoundScan chart. Disc opened at No. 1, selling 204,000 copies, and in the three weeks that followed sold another 155,000. A good rule for most albums is that they should be able to sell in four weeks the same number of albums sold in their debut session. Kelly Clarkson had planned to promote her album “My December” with an arena tour that would begin a month after the album’s release. But ticket sales started out slow, she fired her manager and the tour was canceled — all prior to the June release of “My December.”

One former member of Clarkson’s camp says she would have needed a hit single or two to sell out arenas and that too many of her advisers were ignoring the fact that she had only sold 60%-70% capacity on her previous tour, one that accompanied her multimillion-selling second album.

It’s not the Clarkson news that’s eyebrow-cocking as much as it is the tidbit about Maroon 5; “Makes Me Wonder” originally surfaced around these parts back in March, and the other day a friend noted that it had been sticking around the VH1overse for an awfully long time. (It’s been on the Billboard Hot 100 for 15 weeks.)

“Wake Up Call,” the album’s second single, apparently went to radio last week; Long is currently hanging around the lower reaches of the Billboard 200′s top 20, having sold 39,000 copies last week, but the 998,000 copies it’s sold so far are a long way from the 10-15 million units-sold total needed to break even on the Octone deal. Will “Call” fire up the record buyers in time for Maroon 5 to hit the road? Or is Universal waiting for Oprah to start her “Record Club,” which would then connect Adam Levine with the millions of American women who are just waiting to love his smoothed-out-Greg Dulli persona, and hate themselves for doing so?

Music biz out of sync [Variety]

  1. Ned Raggett

    his smoothed-out-Greg Dulli persona

    Wow, it all makes sense now! Seriously!

  2. Al Shipley

    Let’s not forget that Maroon 5′s first album was out for a year and a half before the 2nd single was even released. Maybe they think the slow burn strategy can work again?

  3. Anonymous

    Comparing Adam Levine to Greg Dulli?


  4. tigerpop

    @GovernmentNames: This is true. Maroon 5 toured clubs incessantly for almost two years (they played the same venue in the Albany suburbs three times during that period) before “Harder to Breathe” finally, actually, broke. But they obviously can’t do that again.

    Also, Greg Dulli just called. He’s going to fucking kill you guys.

  5. Anonymous

    Dulli is a certified ass-kicker. That comparison is wrong on SO many levels.

  6. antistar

    Dulli is a genius. Levine is a karaoke hack.

  7. Maura Johnston

    People, people! I said “smoothed out version,” not “better version.” If you listen to the lyrics on Long a lot of them have a similar charming-jerky-nihilist feel, although Greg Dulli definitely communicates his pathos better, and I have a feeling I won’t be pulling out my Maroon 5 albums 14 years after their original release.

    You guys are all going to love it tomorrow when I compare Avril Lavigne to early Marcy Mays!

  8. blobby

    Why do I have the feeling that to have understood a single reference here, I needed to have been born about 10 years earlier…

  9. dippinkind

    @blobby: is this a trick question?

Leave A Comment