Weekly Register: Lionel Richie Rides High

Lionel Richie and Tim McGraw after singing "Sail On."

This week in sales again belonged to Lionel Richie who topped the country album sales chart with over 128k units driving Tuskegee’s 3-week sales to a lofty 423k. Actually, Richie was the only current country album in chart positions 1-39 to post a positive move, jumping 35%. For the how? and why? Read on.

Readers will recall that last week’s Nielsen SoundScan rankings were impacted by the ACM Awards show which gave many artists nice looking percentage gains and boosted the Rascal Flatts debut, but in reality, didn’t greatly move the needle on total country album sales tonnage. And like the tide, last week’s incoming percentage gains gave way to this week’s outgoing deficits as w/w country album sales dropped 23%.

The ACM wisely takes advantage of having all the artists gathered for its awards show by shooting an additional TV special the following day (as does the CMA with its Christmas gala). This year it was ACM Presents Lionel Richie and Friends, an all-star benefit for ACM’s Lifting Lives charity. The chief architect of this event should take a deep bow, for it proved to achieve a splendid convergence of goals. The two-hour show gave CBS a ratings win for the evening, offered a stellar marketing tie-in with the Tuskegee album, raised money for charity and offered multiple artists additional TV time.

Richie’s new album of duets with country stars was re-created In Concert and it worked smoothly. Performers included Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Big & Rich, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans and Marc Anthony, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Jennifer Nettles, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Rogers, Darius Rucker, and Blake Shelton, but one star shown brighter than all the rest. Mr. Richie exuded the confidence and charm of a seasoned professional while his voice and songbook did the talking. Several artists have already personally confided to me that working with Lionel Richie was a career highlight.

The Weekly Grid
This week’s grid has a new column and a few tweaks. The data is all YTD and now shows Last Week and This Week to offer a bit more perspective. The far right column is new and shows album sales including TEA albums for both country and all genre. This is the first week we have been able to get all the necessary information to be able to compare apples to apples, meaning 2012 to 2011. Country is showing a healthy 11.06% YTD sales gain compared with the same period last year while all genre sports a more modest 2.42% gain. These results are not surprising because country track sales are exploding compared with all genre, up 23.8% YTD (all genre is up 8%). The country albums w/TEA total is 15.929 million albums. The all genre figure is 131.716 million. Last week’s TEA index helps to show the percentage of the albums w/TEA that is tracks based.

Kip Moore, Lee Brice and Carrie Underwood are some of the upcoming releases. Click here to see more.

Also, there’s still time to register for next week’s Leadership Music Digital Summit. Your Scribe will be taking part in what promises to be an educational day. Don’t miss it.


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Category: Artist, Featured, Label, Sales/Marketing

About the Author

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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