Five Reasons Why Strip Clubs Won’t Save “Chinese Democracy”
So, last week’s 79% drop in sales (261,000 to 57,000) for Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy seems like kinda-bad news for Axl Rose, Best Buy, and anyone who was hoping that gobs of free press and a long-awaited record would add up to sales, no? Well, Bob Chiappardi, a marketing consultant who claims to be one of the few people who’s worked with GNR since the Live?! Like A Suicide days, thinks that the album’s best days are actually ahead of it! Chiappardi believes that Chinese Democracy is going to be a slow-burning hit like Kid Rock’s Rock N’ Roll Jesus, which overcame sorta-soft initial sales to move 2.5 million copies. Reason 1? He just serviced Chinese Democracy to strip clubs! But I’m not so sure about Axl’s long-awaited opus overcoming its Thanksgiving-turkey status anytime soon.
1. Chinese Democracy doesn’t really have an “All Summer Long”-style barnburner. The song that sent Rock N’ Roll Jesus to its perch in the album chart’s upper echelons was seemingly crafted in a lab: a little bit of Skynyrd, a little bit of Zevon, a whole lot of heartstring-plucking via longing lyrics about the good old days. Chinese Democracy‘s most prominent nostalgia-stoking comes from listeners wondering what the album would have sounded like if Izzy hadn’t left the band.
2. Even if some song struck a chord, switching up the album’s iTunes strategy now would work about as well as it did for Estelle last spring. And that’s in part because…
3. The Best Buy deal was pretty much a bust. I think we can all agree on this, yes? Lousy in-store promotion (the lack of Midnight Madness sales should have been a key here, since freaking Guitar Hero World Tour rated one at the Best Buy near me but this supposedly much-awaited album didn’t), no “special” sections a la Wal-Mart’s AC/DC ministore, the album’s piddling displays being overshadowed by the box set of The Sopranos: They all add up to a release date that seemed to have been anticipated mainly because then everyone could put it behind them.
4. The album’s sales don’t really matter in the long run to Axl, or his label. The Best Buy deal resulted in many interested parties getting cash up-front; the big blue retailer is probably spending any music-related meetings it’s currently holding trying to figure out how to further cut floor space before the bottom completely falls out of the record biz. And besides…
5. Sure, maybe some chick will come up with a great routine to “Rhiad And The Bedouins” someday, but strip clubs aren’t exactly recession-proof. Just look at what happened to Scores, which went from bringing in $400,000 a night to shutting down because of money problems. There’s a “trickle-down” joke to be made here, but I’m about to eat lunch, so I’ll refrain.