Atlantic Tweaks Its iTunes Strategy For Estelle (Again)

noah | September 10, 2008 8:53 am

In the wake of Kid Rock finding success by holding his album back from iTunes while having a fairly big radio hit, Kid’s label Atlantic Records decided to experiment with the Kid’s strategy, pulling the British singer Estelle’s album Shine from the iTunes Store two weeks ago. The move, which was ostensibly made in order to boost sales of the album after the success of its lead single, the Kanye West-assisted “American Boy,” resulted in sales of the album dropping 16%, then experiencing a 9% gain last week. Meanwhile, “Boy” plummeted to No. 57 on the Hot 100 last week; there, it suffered the indignity of being beat out by its own inferior insta-cover, which had the advantage of being available on the store. Perhaps that was just embarrassing enough for Atlantic to restore the album on iTunes; yesterday when I opened up the online-music destination, there was a huge ad for Shine in the middle of the store’s splash page.

Yes, the album’s back just in time for the release of iTunes 8, and the fact that its return was so splashy made me wonder just what sort of back-room wrangling went on to get the album back on the store’s virtual shelves. (I haven’t seen any egregious placement of Estelle songs on iTunes’ Pandora-like “Genius” feature yet, but give it time.) But is the marketing really working? “American Boy” is No. 21 on the singles chart, just ahead of David Archuleta’s “Crush”; meanwhile, the album has squeaked back into the store’s chart at No. 97. Me, I’m just hoping that this means we’re going to avoid a rerun of the “Rockers As New Zeppelins” phase that Chris Molanphy outlined in this space two weeks ago.

iTunes [] Earlier: Once More, With Loathing: Are Labels Moving To Kill The Single Again?

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