Sales Strategy Shakedown

Every album launch has a different set of objectives for marketers on Music Row. Influencing these goals are the artist’s past sales, level of stardom, lead single success and more. With new albums coming from Blake Shelton, Chris Young and Ashton Shepherd, Tuesday’s (7/12) release schedule is a prime example of why sales expectations are different for every act.

Blake Shelton
After a decade of hard work, he’s at the pinnacle of his career thus far. And Soundscan watchers expect Red River Blue to bring big debut week sales. A key indicator is that lead single “Honey Bee” has already sold one million digital downloads.

Shelton has a lot going in his favor. As he releases his eighth project, he is Warner Nashville’s biggest active star and has full label team support. 2010 and 2011 have been his best years yet: winning CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, and putting out two successful Six Paks. Not to mention the boat load of publicity from his coaching gig on The Voice, and marrying fellow star Miranda Lambert.

Chris Young
Young’s career has been building steam over the last year and could be set to explode. He is primed for solid sales of Neon, given that lead single “Tomorrow” has already moved 550,000-plus downloads.

Young is on a roll at radio, with three consecutive No. 1’s, including “Voices,” which made an unlikely climb to the top of the charts more than two years after its original release. His sophomore RCA album The Man I Want To Be is approaching Gold sales status.

Ashton Shepherd
With the pending release of her sophomore effort, MCA’s Ashton Shepherd is still building her career. Just like her 2008 debut, the new Where Country Grows is getting great reviews from high profile outlets like Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly.

What she has in her favor is critical praise, what she is lacking is a blockbuster hit. Lead single “Look It Up” made it into the Top 20, and the title track follow-up is going for adds Monday (7/11).

It’s been about three years since the release of her debut album Sounds So Good. Waiting so long between projects doesn’t help keep fans hooked, hence Shelton’s Six Pak strategy.

• • •

All three artists are offering pre-order incentives to drive first-week sales. And all are set for high-profile television appearances. Shelton will perform tomorrow (7/8) on the Today Show’s Summer Concert Series. Also tomorrow, catch Shepherd on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Young is set for Good Morning America on release day (7/12) and Jimmy Kimmel Live! later this month (7/27). Do TV performances influence sales? Weigh-in with a comment below.

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Category: Artist, Exclusive, Featured, Label, Sales/Marketing

About the Author

Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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