Weak Release Schedule Blamed For Lagging Sales

The 2011 albums race is almost over, with scarcely two weeks remaining to be tallied. Are we going to fall behind last year? “Most assuredly.” The question is simply, “By how much?”

A quick glance at the above chart shows the format currently down 1.9% with total YTD country album sales of 39.811 million. That leaves us two weeks to add the 3.91 million needed to equal last year. However, this week country albums sold a tepid 1.605 million compared to the same week last year that scanned 1.966 million (down about 18.4%). In 2010 the last two weeks sold 2.319 million and 820k respectively. If we simply add those two weeks (3.139 million) and then reduce it by 18.4% our rough guess would be to add another 2.56 million to the year’s tally. Doing the math shows 2011 country album sales off about 3% or about 1.5 million units.

Why couldn’t we surpass last year? “Weak release schedule.”

This week’s details show Lady Antebellum in the No. 1 position on the country album chart shifting over 81k units to push their RTD sales (release-to-date) over the blessed one million, Platinum mark. Congrats to the feisty trio and Mr. Haywood who we hear is planning nuptials (with Warner Music VP Marketing/Brand Management Kelli Cashiola) which would place wedding bands on each member’s hands.

Scotty McCreery follows in the No. 2 spot with over 66k units placing him only a few more weeks away from earning Platinum status. Who would have thought, when he first appeared on the Idol stage as a Josh Turner carbon copy that fans would embrace him so strongly. But the youngster has truly stepped up and seems to be comfortably wearing his newfound fame.

The other eight artists in the Top 10 inlcude Jason (No. 3), Taylor (No. 4 & 6), Luke (No. 7), The Band Perry (No. 8), Miranda Lambert (No. 9) and ZBB (No. 10).

Toby Keith fills the missing No. 5 spot on the Top 10 country album list driven by his plastic fantastic “Red Solo Cup,” which was the top-selling digital country track again this week (over 86k downloads). The “Cup” has now passed the 500k sales mark and is surely headed to Platinum… (Hey, is that Bob Saporiti as Santa in the song’s holiday video version?)

Looking at the industry overall, album sales are up 1.3% YTD with Michael Bublé’s Christmas ringing the Yuletide bells—loudly. Bublé fans scooped up another 450k units of the holiday set this past week giving the album an eight week sales total of almost 2 million, a figure it will undoubtedly pass next week.

A big giant HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all our readers and especially those that follow our weekly sales discussions. Thank you for reading, for sending me those occasional snarky emails and for being part of the fun. Hopefully next year we can jump into positive sales territory. And wouldn’t it be nice if Nielsen SoundScan placed a TEA (track equivalent albums) chart under the tree?

Be safe, hug your friends and family and tune in next Wed. for our next installment…

 

Read comments on this article from industry veteran Joe Galante here.

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Journalist, entrepreneur, tech-a-phile, MusicRow magazine founder, lives in Nashville, TN. Twitter him @davidmross or read his non-music industry musings at Secrets Of The List

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