Holiday Music Spirit? Who Will Flop And Who Will Land At The Top

As the holidays approaches, we don our winter apparel and create lists to purchase gifts for our loved ones, the big four labels are looking at this fourth quarter to make up for lackluster sales of the previous quarter. In fact, most labels look for fourth quarter results to shore up their bottom line and create debits for the credits that may have had their balance sheet in the red. Sales on that almighty 'BlackFriday', (no pun intended) could be the savior for many a label.

Indeed, Billboard tracks the trends of cd sales and digital sales over the previous week and same week of the previous year. I've been following and the tale of declining cd sales continue to be spun. In fact, cd sales are down 15% this year as opposed to last year. The Billboard charts for the past 2 weeks saw#1 albums debut with sales under 100k. It's now to the point where getting a #1 album isn't hard for top tiered artist…..just simply pick a week with not much competition.
Following is the release date of top tiered acts cds to fall this 4th quarter as noted in this Billboard article subject to changes:

October 19
Ne-Yo Libra Scale

October 25
Taylor Swift Speak Now

November 2
Mariah Carey Merry Christmas II You

November 9
Susan Boyle The Gift

November 16
Reba McIntyre
Rihana Loud

November 22
Rascal Flatts Nothing Like This
Kanye West My Beautiful, Twisted Fantasy
Nicki Minaj Pink Friday
Ke$ha Cannibal
Akon Stadium Music

November 30
Keri Hilson No Boys Allowed
Jazmine Sullivan
Chrisette Michelle

December 7
Jessica Simpson Merry Christmas

December 14
Ciara Basic Instinct

Industry pundits are betting on Susan Boyle's 'The Gift' and Taylor Swift's 'Speak Now' to 'save' the industry with projected and expected huge first week sales and platinum plus end results.


This in of itself deserves a separate post on the type of music that these 2 cds comprise of and who are purchasing them. Billboard, the industry's bible in their article states the artist's expected shipment and expected debut sales as indicated by label employees, merchandise and industry pundits:

SUSAN BOYLE Label hasn’t said  
KANYE WEST 750k 400k
RIHANNA 500k 200k
NICKI MINAJ 300k 125k
BEP 500K 2005


MARIAH CAREY 250K 85-110K-----------------------------
CIARA 250K 110K

 What is telling from the prediction chart above, ^^^ is that R&B continues to not be a strong seller with only a few acts from the past and current year being able to debut with over 300k cds sold the first week as seen below:

Sade Feb 2010 501k
Alicia Keys, Nov 2009 405k
Usher March 2010 433k
Whitney Houston Aug 2009, 311k
Mary J Blige Dec2009 332k

The thing to be gleaned from this list is that all are industry veterans with over a decade invested in the music business. In addition, they all pretty much stayed to their core sounds and didn't really try anything edgy or risky. Perhaps that is wise in this kind of music environment when the dice is thrown every time a label releases a cd.

From the list above, the heavy hitters are either AC, country and rap genres. It will be interesting to see how these industry projections hold up as we know from the previous big releases of Kate Perry, Maroon 5 and Linkin' Park, industry prognosticators were way off base in their predictions. Kate Perry was expected to move between 500-700k cds the first week and Maroon5 and Linkin' Park were expected to at least come close to their previous albums first week sales which were 400k+ and 623k respectively. When the numbers were released, Katy Perry, despite having 2 huge platinum plus selling singles and an impressive promo schedule only moved 191k with Maroon5 moving 155k and Linkin Park 241k.


I do concur that Susan Boyle and Taylor Swift will do extremely well with their sales. I expect both to debut with 350+ to 475k+ sales respectively with Boyle going on to scan platinum plus for the season's run and Taylor not to do as well as 'Fearless' but still to sell a very good 2mil + cds when all is said and done. The wilds are Kanye West and Rihanna. I expect Yeezy to easily sell over 350k first week but with none of his singles catching fire on radio, it will be hard for him to move more than 1mil cds imo. Rihanna is the singles queen. 'Only Girl' is on it's way to platinum status at Itunes and has vacillated between #3 and  #8 on the Hot 100 Billboard charts. Now with the Drake featured, 'What's My Name' on deck and release date 4 wks off, it's hard to say. She's always been a singles seller although, 'Rated R' has sold-995k cds in the US and shipped 3mil WW, her popularity as it relates to sales is at a higher peak abroad. With all of the promo $$s invested in her, and her tour, she should have easily scanned more than 1.5mil cds. With that said, it will be interesting to see if she is overexposed and still a singles artist with the elusive #1 album outof her reach for her pat 4 albums, will she be able to get that #1?or will she be able to cross the 200k first week sales mark? I say noto #1 if Rascal Flatts doesn't move their release date and no to over 200k unless Def Jam put the album on sale for $7.99.


R&B for the newer ladies is in a state of mess right now! Miss Keri Baby's first single, 'Breaking Point' doesn't seem to be breaking through thus the hurried push out of the second single, penned by Ne-Yo, 'Pretty Girl Rock! The Gerogia Peach, Ciara, has seen some of the air come out of her balloon after the banned, 'Ride' f/Ludicris peaked top 10 on the R&B charts. Since then, she has pushed out the double release of 'Speechless' which indeed has left radio speechless with hardly any airplay and the funky 'Gimme Dat' which saw Ciara going back to her dance rooms. Jazmine Sullivan's' Round and Roud' seems to be taking off after a slow start but all of these ladies have pushed back their albums multiple times leaving fans irritated, confounded and wanting. IMO, I don't think any of the ladies will do beyond 150k first week with Jazmine Sullivan being the wild card.

I think Ciara has the most to lose because I expect her label, JIve to drop her if her sales are anemic again In the vein of her previous release, 'Fantasy Ride' which has sold a measly 197k copies to date. Keri will have a last get out of jail free ticket as he brings her songwriting skills to the table. Her last cd, sold 538k (Gold) after multiple videos and features. Chrisette Michelle's last album was 2009's lowest #1 in terms of sales having sold 460k cds to date (Gold).

Go ahead and sound off as to who will be the season's best seller? who will get to platinum status? Who will be #1in their release week? and which of the R&B ladies on Super-Tuesday Lite will be crowned 'Swag queen' for #1 spot?

Sourced by Lopez aka Tibby, article by me, Tara


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