Celine And Alicia Fight It Out On Target’s Shelves

Nov 14th, 2007 // 8 Comments

aliciacelineeeee.jpgYesterday, I wondered whether Alicia Keys or Celine Dion would top next week’s album charts, and a poll of our readers indicated a plurality of support for Ms. Almost Named Herself Alicia Wild, although a few people noted that Celine’s appearance on Oprah earlier this week would likely cinch things for the besuited French-Canadian. Anyway, last night, in the name of research (and needing a shower curtain rod), I took a trip to Target, and the music section–the only place where one can buy CDs in this particular mall–revealed some slightly surprising findings!

As it turned out, the music section was completely devoid of copies of As I Am, while shoppers looking for Taking Chances could have their pick of the 10 copies remaining on the endcap. And while I figured that part of this was the result of the mall in question trying to “skew to the youth” (dear malls of America: this is a bad idea that you should never try to do, seriously), part of me also wondered if it was because people who may have seen Celine on Oprah and been interested in buying the CD didn’t really know where to go to buy it; sure, big-boxes have music departments, but I’d guess that the association between seeing a new album advertised on TV and going to Target or wherever–except in cases like the Eagles’, where the store and the album’s availability are intertwined–isn’t really automatic for people just yet. (And it likely never will be, given that big-boxes are going to start hiding their music departments somewhere inside the great big tents in the camping-equipment areas soon.) Obviously one Target in one weird-ass mall in one suburb is an isolated case, and perhaps the relative providence of Celine albums is just a result of behavior by the more casual, Oprah-watching listener: they’d just wait until they had to go on some sort of errand and pick it up then, instead of rushing out right on release day like the younger, more-devoted fan would. But given that we’ve devoted so much e-ink to the woes of the record industry, and the slowly-dawning-on-the-people-who-sold-out-to-big-boxes fact that people can’t buy albums if there’s nowhere for them to actually do just that–or even feel like they can do so!–I did raise my eyebrow at this stock discrepancy, what with Taking Chances allegedly being such a monster album that it scared Britney Spears away from its release date.

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  1. Chris Molanphy

    The proof of the pudding will be how Celine does over the weekend. I fully expect Alicia to look strong or even lead the pack midweek. The question is what happens when Ms. Minivan goes shopping on Saturday.

    One other tidbit, and I might have to eat crow after my prediction yesterday: Alicia Keys leads Celine on Amazon. That wasn’t true yesterday (Dion was #2 yesterday), but Alicia has made a big move to the runner-up slot today. Since Amazon’s music dept. has become a proxy for a certain breed of mortgage-having record-buyer (more NPR listener than Oprah watcher, but nevermind), this is a good sign for Keys.

  2. Al Shipley

    Isn’t Target a bad place to try and do this field research, considering that Alicia has a big cross-promotional ad campaign with Target and an exclusive DVD or something like that? That said, my money’s on Keys in the sales race. Her last major album had a bigger first week tally than Celine’s, and she’s not well past her peak of popularity like Celine is.

  3. AL

    Who buys Alicia Keys albums? Really, while it’s clear who will be most likely to buy Celine’s album, I have no idea what an “Alicia Keys fan” looks like.

  4. Aleb

    Hits Daily Double is putting Alicia at #1 in their projections. ‘Easily’, they say, with about 550k copies sold. Celine is at 250k.

  5. Chris Molanphy

    @Aleb: I hereby stand corrected. Way to call it.

    And hey, we all win, because isn’t Alicia at No. 1 a whole lot better than Celine at No. 1?!

    If I were Oprah, I’d lose just a teensy bit of sleep tonight. Girlfriend, you’re slipping…

  6. Chris Molanphy

    @gizmochat: Dion fans do not run out to record stores first day of release to buy a cd.

    If we were talking about a gap between Dion and Keys of less than 100,000 copies, I’d be inclined to agree with you. (Indeed, prior to yesterday, I too thought Dion’s slow-shopping, Oprah-watching demographic would pull up the total for her.)

    But the 300,000-disc gap HITS is projecting is simply too wide for a bunch of late-shopping soccer moms to make it up tomorrow and Sunday. Sorry, but in chart history, a deficit that large (a literal doubling of the current projection) has rarely, if ever, happened.

  7. Anonymous

    Excuse me but I’ve never seen an alicia keys fan nor do i know what one looks like. Dion fans do not run out to record stores first day of release to buy a cd. they usually pick up the disc whilst at the mall to do other shopping.

    Dion has sold 200 million albums a feat which Keys will never realize in her lifetime. Only a handful of singers can draw audiences from half way across the world to consistently sell out shows every day in Las Vegas for 5 years straight. and Keys is not one of them.

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