Galante Adds Sales Perspective To 2011 Performance

Joe Galante

Industry veteran Joe Galante checked in with some astute comments on this morning’s sales article which attributed lagging 2011 country album sales to a weak release schedule. That analysis rings true, but Galante had additional perspective regarding the state of Nashville music sales.

“I read in MusicRow’s year end issue a list that showed only 7 or 8 album titles sold more than 100,000 debut week units this year,” says Galante. “That’s a big issue. We used to be able to count on ten of our acts doing 300-400k the first week or at least a quarter million. Now aside from Taylor and Lady A, we’re not getting those strong debuts. That means that next year, even with a strong release schedule, we aren’t going to be getting the 2 million plus yearly unit totals per artist we had in the past. So it’s a steady decline.”

Galante also does not believe that track sales and therefore TEA (Track Equivalent Albums) numbers will be able to make up for the changes in album sales. “Even with TEAs added in on a relative basis,” he says, “it will be interesting to see how next year compares against this year. We’ll see tracks go up, but physical sales will shrink. My guess is that even with strong releases lining up for next year we still will have a down year.”

According to Galante, there is another issue which does not show itself using SoundScan numbers—profitability. “There’s no way to really show the effect of $5 Wal-Mart catalog titles. It adds units, but each one is dramatically down in terms of margin and revenue. I wish we could show that portion of the equation, because it also makes a difference. We’re showing this year being down say 2 million units, when the reality is it’s down 7, 8 or more in terms of revenue…”

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.

Facebook Among Most Popular Android Apps

Among Android users ages 18-44, the six most popular apps are Facebook, Android Market, Gmail, Google Search, Google Maps and YouTube. According to a new study by Nielsen, these apps have the greatest “active reach,” defined by the number of Android owners who used the app within the past 30 days.

When broken down by more specific age groups, 18-24, 25-34, and 35-44 (shown in the graph above), these apps vary in popularity, but all fall within the top six.

In each demographic, Android Market is the most used app, followed by Facebook at No. 2. Among 18-24 and 25-34 year-olds, the Facebook app hovers at around an 80 percent active reach.

The YouTube app is most heavily used by the 18-24 set (64 percent have used it in the past 30 days), followed by 25-34 year-olds (56 percent) and 35-44 year-olds (51 percent).

Game Angry Birds ranks No. 7 in popularity with the 25-34 (29 percent) and 35-44 demographics (35 percent).

Nielsen analyzed usage data from its proprietary device meters on the smartphones of the thousands of consumer panelists who agreed to be part of its ongoing Smartphone Analytics research.

Emmylou Harris To Celebrate Opry Anniversary

Photo: Joel Dennis, Hollo Photograhics, Inc.

Emmylou Harris will be honored by the Grand Ole Opry on her 20th anniversary as an Opry member Sat., Jan. 21, 2012 at the historic Ryman Auditorium. Harris was inducted into the Opry on Jan. 25, 1992.

Harris’ 20-year milestone will be celebrated with performances by the honoree, fellow 20-year Opry veteran Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell, with whom Harris is currently working on a duets album and Grammy winner Shawn Colvin (in her Opry debut).

“Emmylou is treasured not just by all of us at the Grand Ole Opry, but also by fans around the world,” said Pete Fisher, Opry VP/GM. “She’s shared so many great musical moments with us over the past 20 years, singing with and introducing us to some of her favorite musical collaborators. We’re excited to celebrate her Opry anniversary at the Ryman, a stage on which she’s displayed such incredible artistry through the years.”

With her early singing partner Gram Parsons, Harris was at the forefront of the ’70s country rock movement. Over her career, she has enjoyed seven No. 1 and 27 Top 10 hits. Among her most memorable releases: “If I Could Only Win Your Love,” “Together Again,” “Sweet Dreams,” “Making Believe,” “To Daddy,” and “Heartbreak Hill.” In 1999 Billboard Magazine recognized her distinguished career achievements with its highest honor – the Century Award. Harris was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and has won 12 Grammy Awards.

Tickets can be purchased at

TFEMC Promotes Raines, Hires Locklin

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty announced key appointments today (12/14) to the Tennessee Film Entertainment and Music Commission (TFEMC).

Bob Raines, who was most recently serving as interim Executive Director, is now the Executive Director.  Music industry veteran Hank Adam Locklin will fill the newly created role of Director of Music and Business Development.

Raines has been with the TFEMC since 2002, and has developed extensive relationships with members of the entertainment industry and local communities and organizations throughout the state. In his previous TFEMC roles, he has administered the state’s film and TV incentive program, successfully negotiated film, television and music projects, and marketed the unique aspects of doing business in Tennessee to companies throughout the country and around the world.

In his new role, Locklin will identify and strengthen partnerships with Tennessee’s one-of-a-kind music industry. A key objective of the TFEMC going forward will be recruiting entertainment companies to relocate jobs to Tennessee and Locklin will lead the state’s efforts in this area. Most recently Locklin was interim Executive Director of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame where he still serves as chairman of the Board. He was previously Senior Manager of Membership and Industry Relations for the Country Music Association, where he was responsible for developing CMA membership and other forms of music industry outreach.

Locklin currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Metro Nashville Tourism and Convention Commission and is a board member of the Women’s Music Business Association. A University of Alabama undergrad and law school graduate, Locklin has previous experience in artist management with Loretta Lynn and Billy Yates and has produced two critically acclaimed albums for his late father, country music star Hank Locklin.

When Gov. Haslam’s Jobs4TN economic development plan was unveiled in the spring, the entertainment industry was identified as one of the key clusters in which the state has a clear competitive advantage. The TFEMC will fall under the supervision of Will Alexander, assistant commissioner of Strategy and Innovation, as the TFEMC staff works to capitalize on Tennessee’s current entertainment assets and explores opportunities for the industry’s expansion and job creation.

“I look forward to working closely with Bob and Hank along with the nine members of the Tennessee Film Entertainment and Music Commission as we develop strategies that will allow our state’s entertainment industry to thrive,” Alexander said.  “The wealth of experience and unique perspectives the TFEMC Commission members and staff offer will help us continue to grow the entertainment sector and forge new paths as we move forward.”

DISClaimer Single Reviews (12/14/11)

Let’s close out the year with some holiday tunes, shall we?

This week, we’re looking at some of the more high-profile ones in our community. Next week, we’ll check out the indie artists’ Yuletide offerings.

In the spirit of the season, R.K.O. is spreading the love today, giving out Disc of the Day awards in categories, just like the CMA does. Our Male Vocalist is Tim McGraw. Enduringly great Tanya Tucker wins the Female Vocalist prize. Our Group honor goes to Eli Young Band. The Duo du jour is unquestionably Joey + Rory. And our Vocal Collaboration prize goes to TobyMac & Leigh Nash.

Is everybody happy?

JULIE ROBERTS/Who Needs Mistletoe
Writer: Julie Roberts/Jason Collum; Producer: Jason Collum & Julie Roberts; Publisher: none listed; Aint Skeered (track) (
—Julie’s seven-song Yule EP is all standards, except for its title tune, which is deep-indigo bluesy and oh-so sexy. Highly listenable.

JOEY + RORY/Remember Me
Writer: Tim Johnson/Rory Feek; Producer: Gary Paczosa; Publisher: Hot Rod 98/Golden Axle/Songs of TJ/Super 98/Milk Barn, SESAC/BMI; Sugar Hill (track) (
—Joey + Rory’s A Farmhouse Christmas is full of cool, original holiday tunes. This one’s a sweet, gentle, acoustic ballad that asks us to remember the reason for the season.

TOBYMAC & LEIGH NASH/Christmas This Year
Writer: Toby McKeehan/Cory Barlowe/Jesse Frasure; Producer: Christopher Stevens & Toby McKeehan; Publisher: Achtober/EMI CMG/Castles Bound/Rio Bravo, BMI/SESAC; Word/Provident/EMI (track)
—This occurs on the 32-track CCM compilation Wow Christmas, as well as on TobyMac’s Christmas in Diversecity album. It’s a catchy little ditty with plenty of danceable bounce and bop. Toby sounds totally endearing, while Sixpence None the Richer’s Leigh adds a wafting, soaring soprano counterpoint. Extremely well produced pop.

RICKY SKAGGS/Christmas Time’s A-Comin’
Writer: Tex Logan; Producer: Ricky Skaggs; Publisher: Unichappell, BMI; Skaggs Family (track) (
A Skaggs Family Christmas 2 is a CD/DVD set that captures performances by Skaggs, his children and members of the White clan. It kicks off with a revival of Bill Monroe’s Christmas classic. It’s sprightly and merry, but lacks the drive and edge that Daddy Bluegrass gave it.

PHIL VASSAR/Santa’s Gone Hollywood
Writer: Phil Vassar/Tim Nichols/Jeff Outlaw; Producer: Phil Vassar & Dane Bryant; Publisher: Phylvester/Warner-Tamerlane/Made For This/Contentment, ASCAP/BMI; Rodeowave (track)
—Phil’s holiday offering, Noel, is about half standards and half originals. Among the latter is this wildly witty ditty about Santa hitting the PowerBall jackpot and living it up in LaLa Land. Among the lines: “Mrs. Claus is lookin’ hot, she’s even got a new rack/She’s been nip-tucked, lipo-sucked and tightened up good.” As for Santa, he has, “little blue pills” as well as court-side seats at all the Lakers games. Thoroughly entertaining.

Writer: Chad Cates/Tony Wood/Matt Wertz; Producer: Ben Shive; Publisher: Sony-ATV Timber/Glory Town/Sony-ATV Cross Keys/Songs From Exit 7/My Associate Cornelius, SESAC/ASCAP; Handwritten/Provident (track) (
—CCM star Wertz has released his first Christmas CD. Its title tune is a frothy pop confection that swirls like the thingy it celebrates. His breathy, feathery tenor vocal even sounds like wintertime. Pleasant, if lightweight.

ANDY GIBSON/The Christmas Song
Writer: Robert Wells/Mel Torme; Producer: James Stroud; Publisher: Sony-ATV Tunes/Edwin H. Morris/MPL, ASCAP; DMP/R&J (
—I have liked this newcomer’s work in the past. His rendition of this standard is workmanlike, but no kind of reinvention or reinterpretation. The studio instrumentalists are more creative on their jazzy breaks than he is vocally.

ELI YOUNG BAND/Wonderful Christmastime
Writer: Paul McCartney; Producer: Keith Davis; Publisher: MPL, no performance rights listed; Big Machine (track)
The Country Christmas Collection is Big Machine’s nine-tune compilation for the Colonial Candle company. Eli Young Band is borrowed from the Republic roster for the set. These guys are bound to have a merry Christmas, since they are coming off their first No. 1 record. By keeping things simple, the group transforms Sir Paul’s tune into a jaunty country carol.

TIM McGRAW/Christmas All Over The World

Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Red Light Management (download)
—This rocks splendidly with a big, beefy production that pounds and chimes in all the right places. Tim’s voice has never sounded more confident and assured. Absolutely joyous.

TANYA TUCKER/Merry Christmas Wherever You Are
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Mighty Loud (download)
—Tender and emotional, this one’s for folks who can’t be together at Christmas time. It’s the perfect song gem for anyone missing a loved one who is deployed overseas. Tanya gives the ballad everything she’s got. And that’s plenty from a vocalist this potent. Heart-tugging.

GAC’s “Headline Country” Expands

Storme Warren

Headline Country on GAC will begin airing episodes weekly in 2012 with the show scheduled for Thurs., Jan. 12, 10:00 p.m./Eastern. Previously, the show had been airing bi-weekly.

Storme Warren hosts the show providing viewers backstage and behind the scenes access to country music’s biggest artists, events, and celebrations. Warren’s travels have taken him to festivals in Japan, Australia and Europe as well as military base visits in several countries.

“GAC’s dedication to bringing country music fans as close as possible to the stars is undeniable,” Warren says. “As a weekly outlet, Headline Country will provide a constant window to Music Row and we look forward to expanding our coverage of country music around the globe.”

“Storme is tireless and he and his crew work hard to be where the biggest stories in country music are taking place,” says GAC GM/SVP, Sarah Trahern. “It’s great that our fans will now get twice as much news delivered in a timely fashion.”

Headline Country is produced by Surfing Moose Productions; Executive Producers Larry Fitzgerald, Mark Hartley, Storme Warren and Supervising Producer, Jeremy Weber.

CountryBreakout No. 1 Song

It’s December, which means it’s time for everyone to start putting together those “Best of 2011” lists so we can see what gems we might have missed during the last 12 months. One album that has been popping up consistently on those lists is Eric Church’s Chief, and it’s certainly received a few spins around our office.

Well, some magazine called Rolling Stone apparently liked Chief too, because it just landed at No. 19 on the publication’s 50 Best Albums of 2011 list. Here’s what they said:

“Church is a country singer a rock fan could love – saluting Jesus and Springsteen, mixing up backwoods twang with power chords and Stones riffs. If he’s great at playing the boozed-up tough guy, the lilting songs on his third LP show he’s got an endearing soft side when he sobers up – sometime around 11 a.m. Monday.”

He’s in full-on “boozed-up tough guy” mode for “Drink In My Hand,” which earns its second week at No. 1 on MusicRow’s CountryBreakout Chart. Though it’s been an pretty great 2011 for Church, he has plenty to look forward to in 2012: Chief is nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Album, and he’s also embarking on his Blood, Sweat, & Beers tour of the U.S. in January with partner-in-booze Brantley Gilbert.

So raise your glasses, and have a great (but responsible!) weekend.

Lambert “Retweets” Pistol Annies

The Pistol Annies have been causing a buzz and making registers ring. The band’s digital-only album was released in late August and debut sales were a remarkable 42,000 units. At the same time, the trio’s most famous member, fiery Miranda Lambert, has also been lighting torches. Lambert recently debuted Four The Record which hit the charts at No. 1 selling more than double any of her previous debut albums. Pistol Annies includes Ashley Monroe, managed by John Grady and unofficially signed to a solo deal at Warner Bros., plus Angaleena Presley, managed by Scott Kernahan.

Last week the Pistols stole the show on the American Country Awards and are now wrapping a three-show series at the House of Blues in Vegas and West Hollywood (see performance video below), plus Buck Owen’s Bakersfield Crystal Palace.

Gary Overton

“I don’t believe it’s ever been done or attempted before in country,” says Sony Music Chairman/CEO Gary Overton. “A solo artist with a current hit album who is also part of a band with a current hit album. That’s one of the things you get working with Miranda. She leads with great music and her heart, and then we all follow and try not to say ‘No’ just because it’s something no one’s done before.”

“Everyone talks about new models,” says Marion Kraft, whose Shopkeeper Management steers the careers of Miranda, Pistol Annies plus Chris Young and a few others. “But no one is trying anything. But let’s be honest about this project, I didn’t have a choice. Miranda called me one day and said, ‘I want to be in a band and this is who is in it.’ Later when it wasn’t going quickly enough she called me back and explained that she was ‘very serious’ about this. Isn’t that awesome? But in my mind I don’t see it as a dual career. I just have two different clients, Pistol Annies and Miranda Lambert.”

Two different clients, yes, but a unique case where one client sort of retweeted the other. “Miranda gave Pistol Annies a lift by putting them on her tour last year in selected cities,” Kraft continues. “Those performances generated great feedback so we went a step further, and decided to do three Pistol Annies shows. So far we’ve done a good job of building both brands by making it a bit of a dance. We put Pistol Annies in front when their album was released, then moved them aside in October/November for Miranda and her album launch. Then this last week we’ve come out again as Pistol Annies with three West Coast dates and a few other appearances to activate holiday sales.”

“We didn’t want to ask our physical retail partners to buy 50k units up front since there was no radio airplay and no tour,” says Overton. “So we decided to put it out digitally-only and see what happens. After we had a big first week it was, ‘Wow, we want that too.’ So we quickly got orders together and stocked the physical stores. Miranda pulled the trio out for a few numbers during some of her concerts, and there have been a number of key exposure moments including Good Morning America, the American Country Awards and more. Now we’re getting calls from pop radio and media people asking for tickets. The cool thing is we aren’t going to corporatize this, we’ll just let people discover it. And the band has done a great job of touching people through social networking. From an industry standpoint the dual albums may raise questions, but the fans aren’t confused at all. They don’t care that it is two projects, they just like what they like. The fans love Miranda’s record, but at the same time they love the Pistol Annies, too. It’s all driven by great music. People are telling their friends about it.”

With all the acclaim and excitement does this mean that the Pistols might shoot a single out to radio? “For this band we’ll call it ‘Focus Track,'” says Kraft. “‘Hell On Heels’ was our first focus track to guide the album. If all goes as we envision we’ll pick a second. Most likely the first 3-4 months of 2012 will be Miranda Lambert time because we are supporting her record and On Fire tour. Then hopefully around the end of April the Pistols will start gearing up and in the Fall play some shows on their own.”

Marion Kraft

Are there any thoughts about a second album for the Pistol Annies? “Since it’s all about the music,” Kraft continues, “why not give the fans more music and find some different ways of kickstarting this country format? People want more music, more often. There are young successful bands in our format that sing beautiful harmonies like The Band Perry and Lady Antebellum. It’s a style of music that’s working. As compared to Lady Antebellum or TBP the direction of Pistol Annies I would say is a little more like looking back in time. It’s blue collar and story specific, like housewives hanging out. We feel there’s room for more of it.”

A little over half of the Pistol Annies album sales have been digital. Does that mean that they are appealing to a very young digital-friendly demo? “It’s just the way it’s been marketed I believe,” says Overton. “If we had it on country radio you’d see digital and physical sales match more closely with the broader spread of the entire country music demo. But the music has been very active online which explains why digital sales have also been proportionally high. (According to Nielsen SoundScan 20% of this year’s country album sales have been digital.) Everything is going so well and it is such a special, fun project we don’t want to lock and load with respect to singles and normal marketing plans. We have every intention of keeping this about the music. The girls have been great to work with and Miranda has been able to compartmentalize her solo and band roles nicely. This is the dream thing, why we all got into the music business… to find some great music and let it get out there.”

Fact File: Through week of 12-4-11 Four The Record has sold 258k units; Hell On Heels has sold 175k. Miranda has 2.8 million Facebook likes and 535k Twitter followers. Pistol Annies has 132k Facebook likes and 43k Twitter followers.


Nashvillians Honored As Top Women In Music

Mary Ann McCready

Several Nashville execs appear on the new Billboard Women in Music list. Included in the 40 slots are Mary Ann McCready of Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarth; Kelly Rich of Big Machine Label Group; Ellen Bligh Truley of SESAC, and Nashville native Marcie Allen of MAC Presents. Taylor Swift was named Woman of the Year, the youngest superstar to ever receive the honor. The women were celebrated recently at an event in New York City.

The Women in Music list is selected by Billboard editors based on achievements in the last 12 months from a pool of nominees sent in by readers.

• As President of business management firm Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy, Mary Ann McCready represents some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment. FBMM’s roster includes Keith Urban, Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon, Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, and Blake Shelton. As a community leader, McCready helped found the Music City Music Council with Mayor Karl Dean and is a trustee of the Country Music Hall of Fame and an active supporter of MusiCares and the W.O. Smith Music School.

Kelly Rich

• Kelly Rich is VP of Sales, Marketing and Interactive at Big Machine Label Group. She and her team helped propel Taylor Swift’s Speak Now to more than 3.7 million in sales, and led success by The Band Perry (platinum album and triple platinum single) and Rascal Flatts (platinum album). She also handles social media and led the relaunch of with a sponsorship of the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Ellen Truley

• Ellen Truley has been with SESAC for 15 years and currently serves as VP of Corporate Relations, overseeing marketing and sponsorship initiatives for the PRO. This ranges from the SESAC magazine and e-newsletter, to the organization’s multiple awards ceremonies. Her team also handles digital initiatives and SESAC EDU for high school and college music programs.

Marcie Allen

• At her company MAC Presents, Marcie Allen pairs brands and artists. Among her recent success stories are Keith Urban and Samsung Infuse, who teamed to host private dinners for fans on his tour. She also paired BlackBerry and the Foo Fighters, and Windows Phone 7 with Katy Perry and Maroon 5.