Weekly Register: An Unstoppable Freight Train

voicefinalist

The Voice finalists—Swon Brothers, Danielle Bradbery and Michelle Chamuel.

In a world of confusion and distrust, where events challenge beliefs daily and trust in institutions is often trampled by truth, it’s nice to be able to hear someone say the simple phrase, “Yeah, I told you so!”

So consider it said Weekly Register readers, because as predicted in this column and duly noted as early as May 8, Danielle Bradbery has won The Voice TV competition.

Here’s how www.zap2it.com’s Billy Nilles put it, “She was the unstoppable freight train of pluck and talent, wowing the coaches and fans from Day 1—and on June 18, 16-year-old Danielle Bradbery was named, at long last, the winner of Season 4 of The Voice, besting fellow finalists Michelle Chamuel and The Swon Brothers.”

Coach Blake Shelton’s star also continues to rise, in no small measure due to his weekly in-your-living-room-Voice exposure. MTV News asked him about all the country music on the show this year and he replied, “It’s been a perfect storm this year, a great country season.”

weeklygrid6-16-13Unlike most new label signees that arrive full of promise, but lite on tangible goods, Ms. Bradbery enters with a signing dowery that includes over 60k downloads of her performance “Who I Am” this week and a RTD total of weekly tracks that could easily top 500k. She is the latest artist to ink with the Big Machine.

OK, ‘nough said. Not that she needs any advice, but mine would be, “get a damn single out right away and figure out the rest of the plan later.”

And now on to the sales results…

Comparing The Grids
A quick look at the two grid charts tells you most everything you need to know. Country is doing better than the overall industry, but its Y/Y increase is shrinking— from 2.6% ahead last week to only 2% ahead this week. Digital albums are way ahead of last year, but that metric shows the album format split between digital and physical. The first number (2%) is total country album sales Y/Y. Tracks, however, seem to be a ray of sunshine for country fans who have taken a liking to the download derby, finally. All genre tracks are off Y/Y -2.6% compared with country that has surged ahead almost 10%. (Note the increase W/W of almost 4 million country tracks sold.)

weeklygrid6-9-13Albums
This week’s biggest country debut album news is the Now Country 6 compilation which grabbed No. 4 with over 23k units. Completing the Top 5 album list this week is: FGL (No. 1; 33k), Darius Rucker (No. 2; 33k), Blake Shelton (No. 3; 31k) and George Strait (No. 5; 19k).

Tracks
TV power is our theme today and it is reflected nicely on the Digital Genre Country tracks list. Voicers The Swon Brothers have three tracks on the list including a No. 4 (“Danny’s Song”; 73k) and No. 10 (“Turn The Page”; 47k). The aforementioned Ms. Bradbery has five songs on the list including No. 8 (“Who I Am”; 60k) and No. 11 (“Please Remember Me”; 47k). Filling out the Top 10 are: FGL/”Cruise” (No. 1; 205k); Blake Shelton “Boys Round Here” (No. 2; 136k); Darius Rucker “Wagon Wheel” (No. 3; 97k) and Tim McGraw/Taylor Swift “Highway Don’t Care” (No. 5; 66k). Luke Bryan “Crash My Party” (No. 6; 66k), Hayes Hunter “I Want Crazy” (No.7; 61k) and Randy Houser “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” (No.9; 52k) finish the Top 10.

One More Thought
Country music is having an incredible year across all kinds of mainstream media and yet this week’s Current Country 75 shifted only a disappointing 386k units total, up less than 20k from the previous week.

Clearly album sales are not effectively monetizing country’s surge in popularity. Tracks are a good business for a handful with enormous success, but all genre tracks have reached maturity which means country will soon follow.

If the bloom is off album and track sales that leaves streaming. Shouldn’t we pay more attention to this emerging business model and new ways to  structure its revenue streams?

Tune in next week….

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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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