Looks Like People Really Missed Maxwell

noah | July 9, 2009 11:30 am

Maxwell’s first album in eight years, BLACKsummer’snight, is on tap for a big heap of first-week sales, according to Billboard. The trade rag is reporting that the record could sell between 275,000 and 325,000 copies in its first week—a big number for any album this year.BLACK wasn’t on deep discount at any online outfits, which has helped other records score big first-week debuts in other weeks this year. The theory that his long absence helped fuel his big first-week sales holds water , but I’m also wondering if his tallies were buoyed by the scores of people who rushed in to music departments so they could buy records by Michael Jackson in the (now-receding) wake of his death. Some circumstantial evidence to back that claim up comes from a note that 80% of Michael Jackson’s sales last week were of actual CDs, as well as this bit from the Billboard piece on Maxwell’s sales:

“BLACKsummers’night” may not end up being the top selling album of the week, however. Interest in all things Michael Jackson continues and the big question mark is whether the King of Pop’s hits set “Number Ones” will continue to do boffo business. It would be surprising if the Epic effort sold near the 339,000 that it moved last week. However, sales were reportedly very brisk on Tuesday, July 7 — the day of Jackson’s memorial service.

This isn’t a knock on Maxwell, mind you—BLACK has proven to be an outstandingly understated soul album, one that I will probably spin a lot over the coming months. But it’s just interesting how just getting people into music departments (and the few, neglected FYE outlets still standing) may still be somewhat crucial as far as getting people to care about new music. And if you’re not familiar, well, you really need to hear the lead single “Pretty Wings” (performed at the BET Awards):Maxwell Headed For Big Billboard Chart Debut [Billboard]Maxwell – Pretty Wings (BET Awards) [YouTube]