Weekly Register: Swift Launch Delivers Non-Traditional Locations

Weekly Register TV Script

Host sings exuberantly: “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…oh what fun for country sales, the season’s underway…!! OH…”

[Camera goes wide]

TV Host: Welcome everyone. Why am I in a festive mood? Well, because the two biggest country albums of the season are finally going on sale—Jason Aldean’s Night Train, which hit shelves 10/16 and Taylor Swift’s Red which debuts 10/22. So fasten your seat belts because we have both artists live in our Weekly Register studio. Hey Jason, hey Taylor… s’up guys?
……

OK. This is print, not video. But I’ve been so inspired by Big Machine’s marketing strategies for the upcoming Swift album that I’m trying to think more grandiose for my own promotions. Planning the launch of an artist like Ms. Swift is daunting. Yes, she gets opportunities that are out of reach for all other country music superstars, but expectations are also much higher. Scott Borchetta, Kelly Rich and the BMLG team have truly stepped up with innovative Red launch ideas. It’s accurate to say this project is writing country music marketing history.

Marketing veteran Neal Spielberg noted the launch is, “Reminiscent of a blockbuster movie release,” and I couldn’t agree more. It also echoes the bold style with which Borchetta has steered the scrappy indie since its birth in 2005. At that time the President/CEO described his primary duties as, “Building a fighter jet for the revolution.”

Why am I gushing? Here’s a few of the numerous tie-ins. Swift’s album will be available to purchase when people order a Papa John’s Pizza. Her face will be on the box. She has her own store on the pizza maker’s web site with a variety of offers and packages. There’s a Red partnership with Keds sneakers and Swift-themed merchandise will be on sale and part of special offers in Walgreens’ 7,944 nationwide locations. Oh and at the end of the month, Swift and Papa John’s will host her own radio remote in Nashville… Then there’s the mag covers, TV appearances and partnerships with retailers such as CoverGirl, Macy’s, American Greetings, Sony electronics and so much more…

But there’s also great No. 1 news ahead for Jason Aldean, who is celebrating his Night Train launch with a week-long series of high profile appearances and a “special surprise” planned for Thursday 10/18.

Interestingly, Jason and Taylor have history together—chart history that is. Swift’s Speak Now was released during the week ending 10/31/10 with 1.05 million units. The next week Aldean’s My Kinda Party splashed with 193k units. Unfortunately for Aldean, Swift’s week 2 sales of 320k units kept him out of the top country chart positions on both the country and Top 200 charts. This time however, the schedules are reversed, giving Aldean an excellent chance to claim No. 1 status on the country chart and possibly the all-genre list as well… (at least for one week)…

By The Numbers
As noted above, the big chart action begins soon, but for now, most lists are calm according to Nielsen SoundScan. Little Big Town’s Tornado earns a fifth consecutive week in the No. 1 position (23k) on the Top 75 Current Country album list and Aaron Watson debuts at No. 9 with about 6k units.

Tracks watchers will be surprised, no doubt, to learn that Swift’s latest track “I Knew You Were Trouble” has apparently been deemed not country. What? (The new track topped the all genre tracks list with almost 416k downloads.) Can anyone understand this? An artist with an upcoming country album who currently has three Top 10 Digital Genre Country tracks this week—not even counting the latest release? Nothing official on this yet, but hopefully SoundScan and/or Billboard will offer an explanation for this unexpected and seemingly miscalculated decision.

[Camera Zoom In For Charismatic Host Close Up]

TV Host: Thanks for tuning into Weekly Register… where we track the hits, measure the sales and analyze the outcomes. See you next week when our special guests will be….

[Fade to commercial]

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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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