Will Circuit City’s Liquidation Sales Actually Be A Boon For Artists’ SoundScan Numbers?

Dec 23rd, 2008 // 5 Comments

A reader who’s been hitting up the Circuit City liquidation sales for some last-minute CD bargains was wondering if his buying of albums in bulk is helping the bands’ SoundScan tallies, what with the “everything must go” nature of the sales, but the actual nuts and bolts of the sales being taken over by a liquidation company. He writes:

So I went to a Circuit City on their last day open and bought a bunch of CDs to resell on Amazon. Got 5 copies of In Rainbows, 4 of Accelerate, a bunch of Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah, etc.

Here’s my question: do those count as retail sales, even though they were $2 apiece? So if a bunch of people in the Southeast bought up Circuit City’s inventory of, say, In Rainbows in a week, will that show up as a bump of 3,000 or 4,000 in the Soundscans?

I asked Dan about this, and he said that he thought it was unlikely—”It takes a little bit of time to batch all that information and send it in. Plus they usually stop using the old [point-of-sale software], which probably automates most of the reporting.”—but some sort of further ruling would be nice, if only to give some last-minute hope to the Janet Jacksons and G-Units of the world.

Circuit City coverage

  1. Christian John

    somewhere I heard that if a certain number of units are bought in bulk, say 5, then it doesn’t count towards SoundScan. On new titles, Circuit City in Upper West Side of Manhattan only used to allow 3 copies of one title in one purchase.

  2. bcapirigi

    I went to the one in Cranston, Rhode Island the other day and the CDs were only 20% off. I didn’t see a ton of copies of any one title (except, oddly, Sarah McLachlan’s The Freedom Sessions, which I had bought at that very store fourteen years ago) although I did pick up the Solange CD for $8.

    But God did I forget how much I hate Circuit City employees. Even the cute barely legal ones.

  3. Chris Molanphy

    @Christian John: Backing up the above statement: yeah, SoundScan weeds out bulk sales of any album title to minimize chart manipulation. They’ll even eliminate a series of sales from a single retailer if it looks like someone tried to skirt the rules by buying, say, three at a time multiple times in a row.

    So I guess I don’t know how the Circuit City scans will factor in. Price doesn’t matter — when Best Buy or Amazon price an album at, say, $3 in a mega-sale, those scans all count. But quantity sort of does, and Dan’s probably right about a liquidating retailer flipping off the PoS software. The one way this could, potentially, have an effect is if the sales are submitted in bulk, belatedly — but then SoundScan’s likely to flag that as an aberration, and it might get weeded from the chart anyway.

    I would add that the numbers of, say, Janet’s Discipline being sold wouldn’t be enough to dent the charts, anyway. I mean, say CC somehow sells 1,000 copies of a title. Even with the anemic sales weeks we’ve had lately, that’s probably not enough to make No. 200 on the album chart; and during the holidays, the hurdle to make the bottom rungs is even higher.

  4. MrStarhead

    I stopped in at two Circuit Cities over the weekend while driving cross-country to visit family. At the one in Georgia, albums rang up individually and at full price. So on the little monitor in front of me, it said, REM, Accelerate, 12.99. And then the person was calculating the discount by hand with a calculator, then applying it in the register.
    Now at the CC in Kentucky, it was just ringing up as “CD” with the discount already applied. So I would guess that at some stores, the PoS software was still on.

    I wonder if this could make a difference on the DVD sales charts. Both stores had literally hundreds of copies of the Sex and the City movie and the most recent Indiana Jones.

  5. Having a POS software is indeed useful. It saves you the hassle and no more long checkout lines.Faster credit card authorization and quicker, more accurate checkout experience.

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